HTM students help restore historic sites in Roscommon
"Everything looked fresh and new; what a difference a day can make," said Makenzi Claassen, a student volunteer who helped restore two historic sites at the North Higgins Lake State Park in Roscommon, Michigan.
Claassen, a senior majoring in hospitality and tourism management, joined more than 170 other students, faculty and HTM industry professionals September 19 to give the sites a facelift. The group helped restore the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center and the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum.
The effort was the latest project of Michigan Cares for Tourism (MC4T), a partnership between Grand Valley, Travel Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources, Driven, and Indian Trails, along with support from the national Tourism Cares organization.
Patty Janes, professor of hospitality and tourism management and founder of MC4T, said the Roscommon project, their sixth large-scale Michigan event, was a tremendous success.
"Our teams cleared 800 feet of brush and invasive species, painted several buildings, installed fencing, enhanced trails, remodeled historic cabins and repaired stairs all in one day," said Janes.
The conference center is a free-standing state park facility used as a recreational retreat for nonprofit, government and education-based organizations, as well as private businesses. The museum documents the efforts to "put Americans back to work" during the Great Depression.
"So much needed to be done, it seemed overwhelming at first," said Claassen. "I didn't notice our full impact until the end of the day. Everything was clean and fresh and lively."
Janes said chamber directors from three local communities (Roscommon, Houghton Lake and Grayling) participated in the project and helped volunteer teams learn about the region.
HTM students are now planning to help restore a train depot along the White Pine Trail in Big Rapids, Michigan November 3.
Michigan Cares for Tourism is a 100 percent volunteer, 100 percent give back effort where tourism professionals come together to help restore Michigan’s historic attractions and learn about a tourism community.
For more information visit www.gvsu.edu/michigancaresfortourism.