Herbert "Hobby" M. Beich is the founder of the Friends of the Island Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports Grand Island National Recreation Area. The Foundation is dedicated to preserving the breathtaking beauty of Upper Michigan's Grand Island, part of Hiawatha National Forest. Visitors to this site find 13,500 acres of beautiful cultural and natural history. Hobby Beich has made it his business to see that this landscape remains in this state for many years to come.
This area has held a special place in Hobby Beich's heart for over 50 years. However, after Grand Island was designated a National Recreation Area in 1990, the National Forest's budget began a steady decrease. There were no longer sufficient funds to repair equipment, perform necessary maintenance or hire summer interns to work on the Island. The progress that once existed to save deteriorating structures and make the Island's history available was considerably slowed. Hobby sprang into action to save this area that he has loved for so long by exploring options about how he could best support the area. From this desire to rehabilitate and preserve Grand Island, Hobby started the Friends of the Island Foundation.
The first and primary goal of the Foundation is to raise at least $10,000 toward the restoration of Swoger Cabin. To accomplish his objectives, Hobby has already invited a range of individuals to the Island to highlights the positive aspects of the site. He has hosted potential supporters and volunteers for tours of the Island in an attempt to involve the community in the volunteer efforts that are taking place. When asked how long he will continue this mission, Hobby responds that he aims to work for the conservation of Grand Island's resources for the rest of his life.