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Volunteers promote outside interests

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Dennis Hines | April 13, 2014

LAKE GENEVA — Shane Jones' love of nature is what inspired him to get involved in volunteering at Big Foot Beach State Park. Now the college biology professor is president of Friends of Big Foot Beach State Park.

“When my wife and I moved to Lake Geneva, we enjoyed going to Big Foot Beach State Park because it was so close to our home,” Jones said. “I noticed there were a lot of invasive species and a lot of habitats degrading and there was a lot of rehabilitation that needed to be done.

“I wanted to do something to help rehabilitate the park.”

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It's volunteers like Jones and dozens of others who are vital to parks when it comes to improvement projects, equipment repairs and upgrades, maintenance and grass-roots promotion.

Members of Friends of Big Foot Beach State Park help maintain the areas around the park. The group hosts volunteer work days from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the third Saturday of the month, from April to October. Volunteers help plant trees, remove litter and remove invasive species.

“One of the invasive species in the park is buckthorn, and we've been busy cutting it,” Jones said. “We've been removing a lot of buckthorn. It's a pretty lengthy process.”

The friends group also raises money to purchase equipment and do projects in the park. The group recently received a $9,000 matching grant from the state to install nature signs, restore natural habitat areas and clear invasive species areas.

In addition, the friends group recently received approval from the state to construct an observation tower in the park.

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