Saturday, October 20, 2012

Public comments on exploratory permit to drill in Ottawa National Forest due Oct. 23, 2012

ONTONAGON COUNTY -- A Canadian mining company, Trans Superior Resources Inc. (TSR), is seeking a permit from the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to do exploratory drilling in the Ottawa National Forest (ONF). The deposits they wish to explore are under federal (public) land and owned by the federal government. According to the announcement, they are looking for gold, nickel, cobalt, and platinum group metals (PGE).

A view of the Ottawa National Forest. (Photos © and courtesy Margaret Comfort)

The 720 acre (1.125 square miles) area where TSR wishes to explore is within the Trap Hills region of the western UP, about six miles NE of Bergland in Ontonagon County, Michigan. The Trap Hills region consists of high rock outcrops, spectacular views, mature and old-growth forests, and pristine rivers and streams. It supports populations of a number of rare plants whose main range is in western North America. This is a truly unique and beautiful part of the UP.

Area recreational trails include the North Country Trail (which borders the NW corner of the western parcel), the Cascade Falls hiking trail, and the Pioneer Multi-Use Trail. Cascade Creek flows through the southwestern corner of the proposed exploration area. It tumbles over scenic Cascade Falls before joining the West Branch of the Ontonagon River, about half a mile south of the exploration area. The West Branch is a federally-designated Recreational River under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Breathtaking Norwich Bluff towers above the floodplain of the West Branch, about three miles east of the site. This high bluff was the site of an underground mine in the mid- to late 1800s. The trail running along the base of the bluff was being used by travelers at least 1000 years ago.

View of Norwich Bluff in the Ottawa National Forest.

In 2008 TSR applied for and got a permit to prospect in a 3/4 square mile parcel of ONF land adjacent to one of the parcels on which they are applying for a permit this time. The company renewed their 2008 permit in 2010, and is apparently still prospecting there. The fact that they want to expand their exploration in this area may indicate that they have found evidence of economically valuable mineral deposits.

Public comments on this exploratory drilling permit may be sent to the US Forest Service on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. Comments do not need to be anything elaborate. Even very brief comments give you standing to appeal the decision. Comments should mention Trans Superior Resources' exploration for gold, nickel, cobalt, and platinum in the Ottawa National Forest, Federal Hardrock Minerals Prospecting Project #38891.

All are welcome to comment. You do not have to be a Michigander. Comments can be sent by email, fax, phone or US mail to this address:
Susan M. Adams, District Ranger
Bergland and Ontonagon Ranger District
1209 Rockland Road
Ontonagon, MI 49953


Phone comments should be submitted between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to 906-884-2411. Faxes should be sent to 906-884-4830.

Emails should be sent to comments-eastern-ottawa@fs.fed.us. Put "Comments on the Federal Hardrock Minerals Prospecting Project" in the subject line. In order to receive standing to appeal, comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on the closing date of the comment period (Oct. 23, 2012).

For more information contact LeAnn Colburn by phone at 906-852-3500, or by email at lscolburn@fs.fed.us. She is the ONF Environmental Coordinator and ID Team Leader at the Kenton Ranger Station.

Click here to see the Environmental Assessment and a general locational map for this project.

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