See our right-hand column for announcements and news briefs. Scroll down the right-hand column to access the Archives -- links to articles posted in the main column since 2007.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Third annual Keweenaw Geoheritage Tours to be July 25-28, 2016

Geologist Bill Rose points out some historic photographs of the copper mining era displayed in the Tamarack City Park during one stop on his 2015 Geotour on Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior. The geotours will be offered for a third year July 25-28, 2016. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- The Keweenaw Peninsula is a place of natural beauty with a fascinating mining history. Join local experts Bill Rose and Erika Vye in reading the landscape to learn how the Copper Country came to be the way it is today. In July Erika and Bill will lead one-day field trips exploring one of four major events in Earth's history that make up the geology of the Keweenaw -- Lavas, the Keweenaw Fault, the Jacobsville Sandstone, and Copper Mining Waste.

Erika Vye, who recently completed her PhD in geology at Michigan Tech,  explains types of faults in the presentation "VISITING the KEWEENAW FAULT: GeoEducation and GeoTourism," that she and Bill Rose gave at the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District annual meeting on April 21, 2016. Erika and Bill will lead a geotour on the Keweenaw Fault on July 26, 2016. 

This is the third year of day-long geotours on four of the five Geoelements of Keweenaw Geoheritage. Participants can expect to cover a lot of ground and be outside the entire day. Travel is a combination of van transport, short walks, and trips aboard Michigan Tech's research vessel, the Agassiz. Trips are limited by boat capacity to 17 people. Each day trip costs $145 and includes lunch and transportation to each site.

Pictured here after disembarking from the R/V Agassiz during one of the 2015 geotours are tour leader Bill Rose, far right, and Steve Trynoski of Bete Grise, who has participated in several geotours and shared his expertise on the region.

A schedule of the Geoheritage Tours is as follows:
July 25th - Lavas and the Keweenaw Rift
July 26th - The Keweenaw Fault
July 27th - Jacobsville Sandstone (Please note: This trip is full at this time.)
July 28th - Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior

For more information, trip descriptions and registration, click here

Keweenaw Now participated in the 2015 geotour on Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior. Here is a video clip from Bill Rose's introduction to the Torch Lake stamp sand:

During his July 30, 2015, geoheritage tour of copper mining waste in the Keweenaw, Bill Rose, Michigan Tech emeritus professor of geological studies, explains how stamp sand in Torch Lake forms man-made deltas. The tour group gathers near Torch Lake in Lake Linden, Michigan. Michigan Tech Professors Carol MacLennan and Charles Kerfoot accompany the tour and add their expertise. (Video by Keweenaw Now)*

More photos from 2015 geotour on Copper Mining Waste:

A walk along the Gay stamp sand included observation of mining ruins, such as this sluice where water carried the mining waste to Lake Superior.

A view of Lake Superior from the Gay stamp sands.

Erika Vye, center, is joined by van drivers for the tour -- Clare Seguin, left, elementary school teacher from Madison, Wis., and Keri Anderson, Michigan Tech geology researcher.

Tour group participants enjoy a picnic near the mouth of the Tobacco River in Keweenaw County, not far from the Gay stamp sands.

Aboard the Agassiz, Captain Steve Roblee explains safety precautions for the boat rides. Seated at left is Michigan Tech Professor Carol MacLennan, expert on the history of the area.

The remains of a historic dredge in Torch Lake, viewed from the Agassiz.

Local residents Eloise and Bill Haller enjoy the geotour, including the ride on the Agassiz research vessel. "I learned a lot about the stamp sands," Eloise said, "how they create dead zones and how fast they're moving down to Big Traverse -- and seeing the black stamp sands on one side (of the breakwater) and the white sands on the other side is dramatic."

This photo shows how the black stamp sands from Gay (at right) have been moving down the Lake Superior shore. They have begun to move around the breakwater at Big Traverse, threatening the clean sand on the other side.

* Editor's Note: More video clips from this 2015 geotour can be viewed in our Feb. 9, 2016, article on the Torch Lake Watershed project.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ride the Keweenaw 2016 offers bike events May 27-29

Poster for Ride the Keweenaw 2016. (Poster courtesy Christopher Schmidt)

HOUGHTON -- Thanks to warm weather and dedicated volunteers, the local mountain bike trails are ready for the annual trail celebration and showcase that is Ride the Keweenaw May 27, 28, 29, 2016.

The weekend will start out in Greenland this Friday evening, May 27, with a mountain bike ride through the Adventure Mine, then continue on Saturday with guided group rides at Michigan Tech Trails, Churning Rapids and Swedetown Trails. Also hosted at the Michigan Tech Trails on Saturday are a basic mountain bike skills clinic and a jumping clinic.

A participant in the 2015 Ride the Keweenaw Enduro Race meets the challenge of Copper Harbor Trails. (Photo courtesy Christopher Schmidt)

On Sunday, the event moves north to Copper Harbor for the Lake Superior Gravity Series Enduro Race #1, a trail scavenger hunt, Taste of the Harbor fundraiser featuring four favorite local restaurants (including the Mariner North, Pines Resort, The Fitz, and Jamsen’s Bakery), music with the Dave Brotherton Band and Art Bike in the Harbor poster show.

May 26 UPDATE from Lori Hauswirth, Copper Harbor Trails Club executive director:  "Taste of the Harbor tickets are still available for purchase at Down Wind Sports in Houghton and the Laughing Loon in Copper Harbor for $25. When they are gone, they are gone so get yours soon. On Sunday from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. the Mariner North will be serving thai peanut chicken wrap (vegetarian option), The Fitz will have pulled pork sliders and slaw, Pines Resort will have two choices of soup, and Jamsen's Bakery will have a variety of sweets to top it off. Each ticket gets you a serving from each and beverages will be available.

"And if you don't have a mountain bike, you can rent one from Michigan Tech's Outdoor Adventure Program this weekend for half off."

And about the weather (chance of showers and scattered thunderstorms), Lori adds, "For those asking, the variable weather will only make the weekend more memorable and since it's only a forecast, we will take it as it comes. If there is lightning we will delay rides by 30 minutes but otherwise get the rain gear ready for some potentially sloppy fun. Rides will be adjusted if necessary to avoid sensitive trails." 

Art Bike at The Harbor poster show

Poster for the first annual Art Bike at The Harbor. (Poster courtesy Christopher Schmidt)

The Copper Harbor Trails Club (CHTC) invites everyone to their our first annual Art Bike at The Harbor, beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at the Copper Harbor Community Building in the park during Ride the Keweenaw! This is a poster show featuring 11 regional artists and photographers. Each artist will depict his or her favorite trail of the Copper Harbor Trail System in a limited edition giclee print.

CHTC is selling only 40 prints of each poster, so come buy yours for $25 each. All proceeds will benefit the building of the Keweenaw Point Trail. Enjoy art, artists, beer, wine and snacks, Sunday night during Ride the Keweenaw!

Trails featured will be: Flow, Dancing Bear, Downtown, Red Trail, Overflow, On the Edge, Garden Brook, Keweenaw Point Trail, Flying Squirrel, Stairway to Heaven.

CHTC would like to thank participating artists Jaimie Bourgo, Jackie Johnson, Amy Oestreich, Taj Mihelich, Christopher Schmidt, Gary Barden, Steve Brimm, Chris Miller Photography, Aaron Howard of AMG Stategies, Chris Guibert.

The Art show will be going on simultaneously with Taste of the Harbor and music by the Dave Brotherton Band! Get your Taste of the Harbor tickets before they are gone.

Click here to Register for events. Click here for the Schedule.

Note for volunteers: Ride guides are still needed for Saturday's Ride the Keweenaw Events!!!

MTU Trails - 9a.m. - 11 a.m.: Have 3 -- NEED 5 more!

Churning Rapids: 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.: Have 2 -- NEED 4 more!!

Swedetown: Ride guides needed here as well -- contact Gail Neufeld at

If you can help at Churning Rapids or Tech contact Dan Dalquist at 906-370-2206.

Monday, May 23, 2016

North Woods Conservancy invites non-professional photographers to enter 2016 Photo Contest: Photowalk is May 29

Thimbleberries. Photography by Ann Marie Dodge. This photo took First Place in the Wildlife category of the 2015 North Woods Conservancy Photo Contest. NWC's 2016 Photo Contest begins this month. (Photo © Ann Marie Dodge and courtesy North Woods Conservancy.)

CALUMET -- It's time for the North Woods Conservancy (NWC) 2016 "Get to Know the North Woods" Photo Contest for non-professional photographers of all ages. You don’t have to have a fancy camera. You don’t have to be an expert on the plants and animals of the Keweenaw. Digital photos must be taken in Fall-Winter of 2015, or in 2016, at a North Woods Natural Area:  Conglomerate Falls, Dore Woods, Gratiot River North, Merganser Pond or Seven Mile Point.

Photos can be submitted online from May 31 - September 26, 2016. The three categories are 1. Wildlife (plants, animals, bugs and birds); 2. Scenery (landscape, skyscape, natural features); and 3. People Playing (people enjoying NWC Natural Areas). The photos should tell a story about the photographer’s personal experience at the area visited. For example, does the photograph tell us something that surprised you? Puzzled you? Amazed you? Made you smile? If you can tell your story through a photograph, this contest is for you!

PRIZES! $50 first prize, $25 second prize, and $15 third prize plus a 2017 membership in NWC for each prize winner. The winning photos will be displayed in print and on-line media.

Photowalk May 29 at Seven Mile Point

Beach at Seven Mile Point. In 2001 the North Woods Conservancy (NWC) purchased this ecologically sensitive parcel, located on the north shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Allouez Township, for protection and limited public access. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

As part of the contest, the Conservancy's John Dodge will lead a photowalk at 1 p.m. next Sunday, May 29, at the Seven Mile Point Natural Area. There is a short path down to nearly 2,000 feet of gorgeous Lake Superior shoreline, including sand and cobble beach, and the 1.1 billion year old bedrock point itself. Meet at the parking area for Seven Mile Point at 12:45 p.m.

Directions: from US 41 or M 26: follow Five Mile Point Road (7.0 miles from Ahmeek, 4.8 miles from Eagle River) and turn west on Sunset Bay Road. After 0.8 miles (at the Sunset Bay Campground entrance), turn left on Seven Mile Point Road and proceed 1.2 miles to the NWC gate. The parking area is located about 300 yards beyond the gate. For more information, contact John Dodge at 906-281-4865 or

How to participate

Go out and take some photos in the NWC natural areas! Choose up to ten photos that tell the best stories to enter into the "Get to Know the North Woods" contest. Each photo entered into the contest:

a. Must be uploaded as a JPEG file of 5MB or smaller.

b. Must be a minimum of 1600 pixels on the longest side. Higher resolution (more pixels) is encouraged in order to produce good quality display photos. iPhone photographers should upload using "Actual Size."

c. Must have been shot by the person entering the contest during the time period September 1, 2015, to September 26, 2016.

d. Must be suitable for family viewing, as determined by the North Woods Conservancy.

You will need an entry form for each photo. Click here for the entry form to cut and paste from the NWC Web site. See also more details, instructions and judging criteria on this same NWC Web page.

For more information contact John Dodge or Ruth Mohr at