Saturday, July 25, 2015

Public invited to comment on Isle Royale Moose-Wolf-Vegetation Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

Isle Royale wolves trek through the snow. Michigan Tech University researchers reported in their April 2015 report on their annual Winter Study of Isle Royale wolves and moose that only three wolves appeared to remain on Isle Royale. (File photo © and courtesy John Vucetich. Reprinted with permission.)*

HOUGHTON -- The National Park Service (NPS) has published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register announcing that the agency is preparing a Moose-Wolf-Vegetation Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (plan/EIS) for Isle Royale National Park. The plan will provide direction for managing the Isle Royale moose and wolf populations for at least the next 20 years in light of the dynamic changes occurring on the island.

Superintendent Phyllis Green encouraged the public to engage early in the process and to visit the plan’s web page for more information and to provide written comments.

Superintendent Green said, "I have received a wide range of comments from folks interested in this issue, and the range of preliminary alternative concepts reflect the broad opinions that have been expressed to me. I look forward to reading your comments once they are submitted through our formal process."

The public is also invited to attend one of the public open houses listed below. All open houses will have the same format and agenda and will run from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. each night. The open houses will begin with a brief presentation followed by an open period when NPS staff will be available to answer questions. Attendees will be able to submit written comments at the public open houses. If you are unable to attend a meeting, please submit your comments online or mail or hand deliver written comments to Isle Royale National Park, 800 E. Lakeshore Dr., Houghton, MI 49931

Dates for the Open Houses:

Monday, July 27 -- Houghton, Mich. -- Superior Room inside the Magnuson Hotel Franklin Square Inn

Tuesday, July 28 -- Isle Royale National Park -- Rock Harbor Auditorium

Wednesday, July 29 -- Grand Portage, Minn. -- Grand Portage National Monument Visitor Center

Thursday, July 30 -- Isle Royale National Park -- Windigo Visitor Center

The moose-wolf-vegetation food web is tightly coupled. Moose have important effects on island vegetation, including forest cover, and wolves are the only moose predator on the island. Given that the wolf population at Isle Royale is very low and their long-term survival on the island is in question, the moose population is likely to increase in the short term (5-10 years), which could result in impacts to vegetation and forest cover because of over-browsing.**

As part of the planning process, various alternatives for the management of moose, wolves, and vegetation at Isle Royale will be evaluated. Preliminary draft alternative concepts have been included in a public scoping newsletter, which is available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ISROmoosewolf. The public comment period will close on August 29, 2015.

Following the public comment period, the NPS will analyze and consider all feedback received and begin the preparation of the draft plan/EIS. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft plan/EIS.


Editor's Notes:

* See the April 17, 2015, article, "Down to Three Wolves on Isle Royale," by Allison Mills, on the Michigan Tech News.  
** See the May 29, 2015, Detroit Free Press article, "Senators call for action to save Isle Royale wolves," by Todd Spangler.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Copper Harbor to celebrate 2015 Lake Superior Day with fun for all July 26

During the 2014 Lake Superior Day celebration in Copper Harbor, canoe racers round a buoy in the harbor before rowing back to the dock for the finish. (Keweenaw Now file photos)*

COPPER HARBOR -- Celebrate Lake Superior Day in Copper Harbor from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 26, 2015. Celebrate the beauty and bounty of Lake Superior! Copper Harbor community volunteers, along with the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, are organizing the 3rd annual Lake Superior Day Festival with lots of special activities at the 6th Street Dock along the Copper Harbor Boardwalk (near Isle Royale Queen boat dock).

Here are some activities planned for the whole family:
  • Enjoy fish stew (Kalamojakka), homemade pies, rieska (Finnish flatbread), and more at a community picnic ($5 donation suggested).
  • Canoe races and kayak demonstrations
  • Interactive art (paint the model freighter!)
Meg (Vivian) North, former Grant Township Supervisor and now science and math teacher at Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk, helps young Meg Ruhonen of Atlantic Mine put finishing touches on her contribution to the model freighter painting, a popular activity for kids and parents, at the 2014 Lake Superior Day celebration.
  • ROV (Remotely-Operated-Vehicle) demonstrations by the MTU Great Lakes Research Center
  • Learn about the health of Lake Superior from a presentation by Great Lakes scientist Dr. Marty Auer from Michigan Tech’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
  • Live music, poetry, and more.
Scientific excursion on the Agassiz

Visitors to Copper Harbor's 2014 Lake Superior Day celebration board Michigan Tech's Research Vessel Agassiz for an educational tour of the harbor. Checking names of passengers (who reserved seats in advance) is Lloyd Wescoat, Copper Harbor resident and project advisor for Michigan Tech's Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative program. 

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. a special highlight is the opportunity for festival attendees to find out how scientists study the Great Lakes by taking a 40-minute scientific excursion in the harbor aboard Michigan Tech’s Research Vessel Agassiz. These excursions are offered as part of the Ride the Waves Program funded by a grant from General Motors. The Agassiz will depart every 45 minutes from the Isle Royale Queen dock beginning at 1 p.m. Participants must be at least 7 years old, and children must be accompanied by an adult. All participants should wear closed-toe shoes. Space is limited. Interested participants may pre-register for a scientific excursion aboard the Agassiz by calling (906) 487-3341 or by emailng Lloyd Wescoat at lwescoat@mtu.edu.

For more information about the event, contact lead organizer, Don Kilpela, Captain of the Isle Royale Queen, at (906) 289-4735.

Learn about Lake Superior Day

Lake Superior Day is celebrated throughout the Lake Superior basin on or close to the 3rd Sunday in July in many communities around Lake Superior. The event, now in its 12th year, highlights the special connections people have to this unique world treasure. All residents who live, work, play, and worship around the lake are invited to organize events in their communities or take action in their homes, at their places of employment or in community groups to help protect Lake Superior.

To learn more about Lake Superior Day events around the lake, visit http://www.lakesuperior.com/the-lake/lake-superior/lake-superior-day-2015/. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality also provides information on Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes at www.michigan.gov/deqgreatlakes or visit EPA’s website at: http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/lakesuperior/index.html.

*Editor's Note: See our Aug. 4, 2014, article with photos of the 2014 Lake Superior Day celebration in Copper Harbor.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Portage Library to host author of novel on Copper Country 1913 Labor Strike July 23

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to an evening of readings and discussions about the 1913 Copper Country labor strike with Michigan author Donna Searight Simons from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 23.

Simons will read excerpts from her book Copper Empire: A Novel About the Copper Country Labor Strike in 1913 -- a compelling work of historical fiction that tells the story of miners and their families as they struggle with dangerous and often deadly working conditions, poor wages, a nine month labor strike, and a Christmas Eve tragedy that forever changed the Copper Country.

In addition to her book, Simons has been published in magazines and newspapers including Lake Superior Magazine. A book signing and selling will follow the presentation, and refreshments will be served. Library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit www.pldl.org.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

U.P. Farming History: Tour Wintergreen Foods July 23

CALUMET -- Food has always been an important topic in U.P. history. From harvesting wild thimbleberries, whitefish, and other native foods to clearing fields for rutabagas and herds of dairy cattle, the ways in which people have sourced their food have changed over time. Food production remains an important part of the local economy.

Join Andrea and Scott Corpolongo Smith of Wintergreen Farm for a brief overview of U.P. farming during the last century. Stay for the tour after their presentation, where you can get your hands dirty and experience a bit of agriculture today!

This presentation will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, 2015, at Wintergreen Foods, located at 18334 State M-38 (the former Candlelight), in Ontonagon, Mich. The event is free and open to the public. 

The Fourth Thursday in History series arranges public presentations on important aspects of Copper Country and regional history, including techniques for historic preservation. Presentations are scheduled in venues throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula, particularly at historic sites associated with specific topics.

For further information, including specific directions to this event, contact Keweenaw National Historical Park at (906) 337-3168 or check the web at www.nps.gov/kewe.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 21 Summer Concert, "being alive," to benefit Omega House

Poster for "being alive," the 2015 Omega House Concert, to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, at Saints Peter and Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton. (Poster courtesy Ruth Robertson)

HOUGHTON -- The 9th Annual Omega House Summer Concert, "being alive," will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, at Saints Peter and Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton. The public is invited to enjoy this annual summer concert of local musicians and singers who blend their talents through jazz, light opera, folk and popular music to benefit Omega House, a peaceful non-profit hospice home in Houghton.*

This year the Omega House Concert will feature as special guests the Noteworthy women's chorus and tenor D’mitri Williams.

Williams will open the program with "Being Alive" from Company, by Stephen Sondheim. Noteworthy, directed by Joan Petrelius, will be the closing act, performing some of their favorites -- including "White Wings," "The River," and "Breaking up is Hard to Do."

The Noteworthy women's chorus, directed by Joan Petrelius (far left) performs at the 2014 Omega House Concert at Saints Peter and Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton. The lively, popular group will return this year to perform for the July 21 Omega House Concert, which will again be held at Saints Peter and Paul. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Other performers include Barbara Lide, mezzo-soprano; Kate van Susante, Mollie Trewartha, Becky Barnard, Andrew Barnard and Alex Frazier; Courtney Clisch, soprano; Karin Schlenker, mezzo-soprano; Ruth Robertson, soprano, and Carol Waisanen, alto; Dollcie Webb, soprano; Roger Kieckhafer, baritone and Lara Neves, soprano; David Owens, musician and song leader; Emilie Krznarich, soprano; Kiersten Birondo, soprano; Jared Anderson, tenor; Liz Grugin, soprano; Wynter Bethel, soprano and Cheyenne Kaufman, mezzo-soprano.

Following the intermission David Owens will lead the audience in sing-along favorites, including "Zip-a-dee Doo-dah," "In the Good Old Summer Time," "That’s Amore" and more! Lyrics will be provided in the program.

Accompanists will include Alex Frazier, Lara Neves, Charles Young, Jared Anderson and Trisha Kuzmic.

A $10 donation at the door is suggested. Saints Peter and Paul Lutheran Church is located at 1010 Madeleine St. in Houghton.

* Omega House is a peaceful, homelike environment in Houghton for terminally ill people. Omega House provides end-of-life care that emphasizes compassion, independence, respect and dignity. In cooperation with local hospice programs, Omega House provides residents with exceptional care and attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about Omega House visit their Web site.