Friday, May 20, 2016

Action Alert: Citizens oppose Aquila Back Forty sulfide mine!

From Save the Wild U.P.:

This photo shows how close the proposed open-pit sulfide mine could be to the Menominee River. (Photo courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

MARQUETTE -- Citizen opposition to the Aquila Back Forty project is growing -- ADD YOUR VOICE!

Please take a moment to let Michigan’s elected officials know that you oppose the Back Forty open pit sulfide mine, proposed for the bank of the Menominee River. First, click to READ THE LETTER OF OPPOSITION. Feel free to add your own specific concerns to the letter. When you’re ready, click SIGN AND SEND NOW -- it’s that simple!

Your letter will be sent to Michigan State Representatives Ed McBroom, John Kivela, and Scott Dianda; State Senator Tom Casperson; Governor Rick Snyder; U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow; and U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek. It will also be sent to Director Bill Moritz (Michigan DNR), Director Keith Creagh (Michigan DEQ), and Joe Maki (DEQ). Additional info is available on the DEQ’s website: http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3311_18442---,00.html.

Editor's Note: For more background on why Save the Wild U.P. opposes the Back 40 project, see "Save the Wild U.P.: Will Michigan DEQ reject fraudulent Back Forty mine permit?"

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bike Initiative Keweenaw: Enjoy Green Film on bikes May 19; Bike to Work May 20

The Keweenaw's BIKE TO WORK DAY is Friday, May 20 -- sponsored by Bike Initiative Keweenaw. (Poster courtesy Joshua Myles and Bike Initiative Keweenaw)

HOUGHTON -- Bike Initiative Keweenaw invites everyone to two events this week:

For inspiration: The 2015 film Bikes v. Cars, this month's Green Film Series selection, will be shown from 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., followed by discussion, Thursday, May 19, in 135 Fisher Hall at Michigan Tech (New Location!). FREE! Enjoy refreshments provided by Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (bring your mug!) Bike Initiative Keweenaw members will facilitate the discussion.

Come early and RIDE A BIKE before the film -- try riding some interesting and different bikes -- mini mini bikes loaned from Cross Country Sports, maybe a chopper bike, too! Also two long bikes from Curt Webb and Keren Tischler. It should be fun! Meet at the doorway to Fisher Hall at 6:30 p.m.

About the Film (90 min.): Traffic gridlock around the world is frustrating people, wasting their time, polluting the air and contributing to climate change. The film documents cyclists’ struggle in a society dominated by cars -- from bike activists in Sao Paulo and Los Angeles fighting for safe bike lanes, to the city of Copenhagen where 40 percent commute daily by bike.

Imagine a world where cities make room for bicyclists!

For exercise, fresh air and a gesture to help the environment: Participate in BIKE TO WORK DAY Friday, May 20!

Kick off the National Bike Challenge by biking or walking to your destination and enjoy snacks and giveaways at one of the community rest stops set up by Bike Initiative Keweenaw volunteers in Houghton, Hancock, South Range, Calumet and Lake Linden. Click here for more details, including locations of the rest stops.

Learn more about the National Bike Challenge, see local bike route maps and more on the  Bike Initiative Keweenaw Web site.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Botany, Photo Workshops on Isle Royale still have openings. Register now!

Participants in Janet Marr's Isle Royale Botany Workshop enjoy learning about plants  near the west end of Raspberry Island in Isle Royale National Park. (Photo © and courtesy Janet Marr)

HOUGHTON -- Spend 4 to 5 days exploring Isle Royale National Park this summer while improving your botany or photography skills or three days capturing the glorious fall colors and historic mining structures with your camera in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula! Lake Superior vistas form the backdrop for all four workshops the Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association (IRKPA) is sponsoring in 2016. Register now while workshops still have openings!

It's the 10th year for a June 6-11, 2016, Botany Workshop based at Rock Harbor on Isle Royale for anyone with beginning to intermediate knowledge of plant identification. Instructor Janet Marr is a botanist with extensive experience studying plants across Isle Royale and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She is also co-author of the IRKPA publication, Island Life: An Isle Royale Nature Guide. Plant communities, rare species, ecology, invasive species, and use of dichotomous keys will be discussed during field trips to different habitats.

Botany workshop participants enjoy hiking and identifying plants on Isle Royale. (Photo © Rita Clinthorne and courtesy IRKPA)

Professional photographer Bob Guiliani and his wife Linda, who have owned a photography studio in Clare, Michigan, for more than 30 years and have visited Isle Royale more than 30 times, will conduct a Photography Workshop based at Rock Harbor June 10-15, 2016. Participants will have the opportunity to learn the many aspects of nature photography using the treasures of Isle Royale as subjects. This workshop is designed for the beginning and intermediate photographer. Activities will include lectures, demonstrations, and photography excursions around Rock Harbor. Bob will spend time in the field with each participant on issues they may be having or help more advanced photographers design special projects.

Ruth Baker photographs black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), a rare arctic species, during an Isle Royale workshop. (Photo © and courtesy Janet Marr)

For the June Rock Harbor workshops, the registration fee of $699 (botany) or $725 (photography) covers transportation between Houghton and the island on the National Park Service ferry Ranger III, all meals during the workshop starting and ending with lunch on the boat, park user fees, group camping, and instruction. For non-campers, Rock Harbor Lodge offers lakeside lodge rooms or housekeeping cabins at participants' expense (http://rockharborlodge.com/lodging/). Enrollment is limited to 12 participants per workshop.

After a successful launch last year, IRKPA and Janet Marr are again offering a second Botany Workshop on the opposite end of Isle Royale, based at Windigo, September 6-11, 2016. The workshop format is similar to Rock Harbor, but the later time of year and more mixed deciduous rather than boreal habitats provide a completely different experience. The registration fee of $699 includes transportation between Grand Portage, Minn., and the island on the Voyageur II, meals, user fees, and group camping. OPTIONAL TRANSPORTATION IS AVAILABLE FROM HOUGHTON OR COPPER HARBOR, Mich. A camper cabin is also available first-come, first-served (contact IRKPA if interested IN THE TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS OR CAMPER CABINS).

Photo Workshop participants visit the Bangsund Cabin wolf-moose research site on Isle Royale. (Photo © Bob Guiliani and courtesy IRKPA)

The Guilianis will teach a Photography Workshop in early October, the average peak of color season in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. From a base in Calumet, driving excursions will lead to compositional views of the famous Brockway Mountain Drive, Lake Superior shorelines, lighthouses, waterfalls, and old mining structures, plus opportunities to capture sunrises and sunsets. Details will be available soon.

To learn more about any of the workshops, see http://irkpa.org/get-involved/workshops and to register contact Kristine Bradof at kbradof@irkpa.org or call her at 906-482-7860.