Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Nickel company seeks 320-acre metallic mineral lease on state land near Eagle Mine; comment deadline is Oct. 12

This map indicates with an M the parcels in section 35 (near northwest corner of map), Michigamme Township in Marquette County, where North American Nickel (US) Inc. has requested a direct metallic mineral lease from the State of Michigan. (Map courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

UPDATED (Oct. 8): MARQUETTE -- North American Nickel (US) Inc., of Chicago, Illinois, has requested a direct metallic mineral lease from the State of Michigan covering Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) metallic mineral rights located in Michigamme Township, Marquette County, Michigan, containing a total of 320 acres, more or less, further described as: SW1/4; N1/2 SE1/4; W1/2 NW1/4, Section 35, T51N, R29W.

Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) has expressed concern about this lease request for 320 acres of Escanaba River State Forest -- home to the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler, cultural history, and tribal resources.

Joseph Youngman of the Copper Country Audubon Club captured this rare view of a pair of endangered Kirtland's Warblers. (Photo © and courtesy Joseph Youngman)

"This parcel contains an archaeologically significant site, and is located just northwest of the Eagle Mine site," said Alexandra Maxwell, SWUP executive director.** (See below.)

The DNR's recommended lease classification is Leasable Development with Restrictions.

The restrictions, as noted in an August 2015 DNR Direct Lease Review Summary, are stated by the Wildlife Division and the lead reviewer as follows: "To protect nesting neo-tropical migrant birds and any potential Kirtland warblers during the nesting and fledging period work should be restricted from 6/1 – 7/15."

In addition, the Wildlife Division, in a July 27, 2015, review, stated, "This parcel is also a known archaeological site; any mining exploration should be done in conjunction input with Michigan History, Arts and Libraries (HAL)."

On Aug. 14, 2015, the Forest Management Division confirmed archaeological findings, stating, "Archeological hit in this parcel. Office of the State Archaeologist must be consulted for direction."

Written comments from interested parties, relative to the request to lease the specified mineral rights, may be submitted by October 12, 2015, to Karen Maidlow, Property Specialist, Office of Minerals Management, DNR, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing MI 48909-7952, or MaidlowK@michigan.gov.*

Save the Wild U.P. to host walking tour of site

Save the Wild U.P. will be leading a special historical walking tour of this potentially threatened site on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. The tour will feature stories by C. Fred Rydholm; the Andersen homestead ruins (from 115 years ago) and Anderson Lake; and a discussion of Yellow Dog Plains logging, Bentley Trail, pre-European indigenous presence, treaty-protected tribal resources and the current threats from mineral exploration.

Meet at Big Bay Outfitters at 12 noon. Tickets are just $10 per person. To reserve a place on the tour email rsvp@savethewildup.org with the subject line Hike to the Andersen Homestead.

* Click here for more information on State of Michigan metallic mineral leasing.

** UPDATE: Editor's Note: Originally Save the Wild U.P. stated there were two archaeological sites. Alexandra Maxwell notified us today, Oct. 8, that there is one, so we have corrected this statement.

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