ASHLAND, Wis. -- The Penokee Hills Education Project invites friends and neighbors on a walk to the Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) drill site in the Penokee Hills, beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.
Beautiful rock formations along the Tyler Forks River in the Penokee Hills near Mellen, Wis. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Steve Garske)
Exploratory drilling in the Penokee Hills, which is now underway, has been permitted by the Wisconsin DNR over specific objections from local citizens and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
This walk is an opportunity to safely observe what test drilling looks like, firsthand, and to see how it impacts a pristine landscape. The walk will take place on lands that are open to the public, and the Penokee Hills Education Project encourages all walkers to obey the law and practice non-violence. The walk is approximately 3 miles through fairly hilly terrain. Be sure to bring your camera and bug spray! Persons of all ages are invited.
Directions: From Mellen, Wis., take Highway 77 east. Enter into Iron County and at approx. 8.75 miles from Mellen, turn right on Moore Park Road. Follow the road until you reach the "Road Closed" signs. Park on the RIGHT side of the road only.
The Penokee Hills are targeted by Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) for mountain top removal mining. This process would pulverize a 22-mile strip of the Penokee Hills and would release contaminants such as mercury, arsenic, other heavy metals, sulfates, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides into the air and water.
The polluted water would flow throughout the watershed, into the Bad River, threatening wetlands and sensitive ecosystems essential for the survival of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The proposed mine would likely contaminate the drinking water for thousands of people living in Ashland and Bayfield Counties.
Looking west at the ridge Gogebic Taconite, a subsidiary of the Cline Group, wants to dig up for an open-pit iron mine. Tyler Forks River is in bottom of frame. (Photo courtesy Penokee Hills Education Project)
No taconite mine has ever operated without causing serious pollution.
The Penokee Hills Education Project was formed to educate the public about risks to the Bad River watershed and the Penokee Hills posed by GTAC’s mountaintop removal mine; to share relevant information about the impact of mining on our economy, health, and environment; and to connect with citizen-led groups locally, statewide, and nationally.
Click here to learn more about the Penokee Hills Education Project.