Upper Peninsula

Thanks to continuing cold temperatures and snowfall, Michigan is not yet done with skiing for the season.

Three mountains will be open this weekend: Mount Bohemia, Boyne Mountain, and Ski Brule. Bohemia is reopening after closing this past week, while Boyne and Brule have yet to close.

Parts of the Upper Peninsula have seen unusually high snowfall this month. Marquette, MI is already having the fifth-snowiest April on record, with over 32 inches of snow already, according to the local division of the National Weather Service. 

The Empire Mine
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.

The Marquette area recently received some painful news when Lourenco Goncalves, the CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources announced that the Empire Mine would be closing by the end of the year. More than 400 workers from the region are affected by the announcement that iron ore production, that has been a big part of the area’s economy for a long time, will end.

Save The Wild UP / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Michigan-based environmental organization is taking a new approach to protect a patch of land near the Yellow Dog River in northern Marquette County in the Upper Peninsula. The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve started a crowd funding campaign to raise money to purchase the 695-acre property to protect it from development.

Emily Whittaker, the special projects manager at the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve joined Stateside to talk about the Yellow Dog River Community Forest campaign and what makes the land so special.

flickr user Hung Thai / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Poet and writer Keith Taylor joins us today to offer a quick list of recommendations for some good reading.

The Michigan Ice Fest is expecting 700 attendees this year, 40% more than the festival saw last year
Aaron Peterson/Clear & Cold Cinema

Last week it was 50 degrees in many parts of the state. This week it’s freezing. But in the Upper Peninsula, freezing is a good thing for certain adventurous souls.

The sandstone cliffs in Munising, Michigan rise 200 feet above Lake Superior, and during the winter the area attracts ice climbers.

John Kivela's office website

ST. JOHNS, Mich. (AP) - A northern Michigan lawmaker has pleaded guilty to drunken driving stemming from an incident in which authorities say he was speeding, swerving and driving with an open bottle of whiskey.

Democratic Rep. John Kivela made the plea to a first-offense charge Friday in a Clinton County court. Prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of operating while intoxicated with a high-blood-alcohol content.

Don Harrison/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The largest ski jump structure in the world is located, not in Bavaria, not in Switzerland, not even Scandinavia.

It's Ironwood's Copper Peak in the Upper Peninsula. At 469 feet, ski jumpers soar through the air at 65 miles per hour.

Copper Peak was built in 1970. The last ski flying competition happened there in 1994.

But, plans are afoot to renovate the ski jump for a September 2017 contest.

Post office in Kingsford, MI
Lucy Blair

Even in these days of email, Skype and FaceTime, we all know the purpose of a Post Office: to sort and deliver “snail mail.”

But Lucy Blair wanted to dig deeper. She and her wife Lina wanted to know what story the post office building tells about the community, and the people who depend on it.

State urges hunters to help keep deer disease out of UP

Nov 12, 2015
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has launched an education campaign to try to keep chronic wasting disease from spreading to the Upper Peninsula.

The disease affects the central nervous system and is always fatal to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose, according to the DNR. And there is no known treatment.  

flickr user Kenny Louie / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The first day of autumn is less than a week away, but if you’re planning to take a trip up north to marvel at the fall colors, MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa tells us you might want to wait.

He says rain and warm weather are keeping the trees lush and green.

Don Harrison/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  One of the most striking features of the waterfront in Marquette is the Upper Harbor ore dock. Built in 1912, the pocket dock is still in use today.

Maritime historian Frederick Stonehouse says the city of Marquette began because of the discovery of iron ore back in 1844 in the Ishpeming and Negaunee area, about 20 miles west of Marquette. The city developed as the shipping port for the delivery of iron ore.

Steven Depolo | Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We asked you on Facebook. We went outside the studio (*gasp*) and asked people in the street. You tweeted us on Twitter. You told us 70 experiences every Michigander should have at least once. 

These are in no particular order...except to note Sleeping Bear Dunes was, hands down, the most popular response.

Courtesy of Phil Stagg

You’ve heard of storm chasers and tornado chasers.

Phil Stagg is a waterfall chaser.

He runs a business in Cadillac, but his real passion lies in taking photographs of Michigan.

He’s especially interested in the hundreds of waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula.

Scott Smithson / Flickr

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources director has approved a controversial land deal in the Upper Peninsula.

Canadian mining company Graymont can now move ahead with plans to mine thousands of acres in the U.P. for limestone. 

DNR director Keith Creagh says the nearly 10,000 acre land deal “balances the public interest in natural resources and economic development in the Upper Peninsula.”  

claus+ flcker.com

A controversial Upper Peninsula land deal appears closer to approval.

A Canadian mining company wants to buy land and mineral rights on ten thousand acres of state land in the Upper Peninsula. 

Graymont wants to mine limestone in the area northwest of St. Ignace. The company plans surface and underground mines.  

Flickr user/Mikko Luntiala

ISHPEMING, Mich. (AP) - A popular Upper Peninsula TV show celebrating Finnish culture is reaching its own finish after five decades. WLUC-TV reports Friday that "Finland Calling" will air its final episode on the Marquette station on March 29 - four days after its 53rd anniversary. The show, also known as "Suomi Kutsuu," has had one host: Carl Pellonpaa. He says he thought it would last just a few years until the area's "old Finns die." 

Gray wolves.
USFWS / Flickr

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Michigan is joining the federal government in appealing a decision that restores legal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region.

Federal Judge Beryl Howell ruled in December that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erred by dropping the region's wolf population from the list of endangered and threatened species in 2012.

FLICKR FRANK KOVALCHEK/FLICKR

Frida Waara takes on Marquette winters with gusto. She spoke with Stateside host Cyndy Canty about the “fantastic” season and the UP 200 Dog Sledding Championship event it brings.

On Feb. 12-16, mushers will race a total of 240 miles, from Marquette to Grand Marais and back. Waara has done it before and says the race brings all sorts of people to compete.

A Canadian mining company has revised its proposal to acquire nearly 10,000 acres in the Upper Peninsula. 

Graymont wants to acquire land and mineral rights in three different U.P. counties to mine for limestone.  The mining operation would include surface and underground mining.  The company says it is acquiring so much property because it plans to set up a “generational” operation that would mine the land for 100 years. 

It would be the largest sale of public land in Michigan history. 

The Department of Natural Resources

HANCOCK, Mich. (AP) - State officials have closed 32 waterfront campsites at F.J. McLain State Park in the Upper Peninsula because of unsafe conditions and erosion along the Lake Superior shoreline.

  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 18 sites at the park near Hancock will remain closed permanently, while 14 will be evaluated in the spring for safety and accessibility.

Graymont is seeking to buy thousands of acres of state-owned land and mineral rights for a proposed limestone mining operation near Rexton.
User clau+ / flickr.com

Next month, a decision could be made on whether to sell thousands of acres in the Upper Peninsula to a Canadian mining company, Graymont Inc.

It would be the largest sale of public land in Michigan’s history.

A wind turbine in the Garden Wind Farm in the Upper Peninsula.
Garden Wind Farm Project

GARDEN, Mich. - Eleven people who live near the first wind farm in Michigan's Upper Peninsula say the whir of turbines has reduced property values, diminished their sleep and put birds at risk.

They filed a lawsuit last week in federal court against Heritage Sustainable Energy and the U.S. government, seeking to block expansion and require more study on the impacts.

Timo Newton-Syms / Wikimedia Commons

You might have heard of the seat belt campaign "Click It or Ticket." Well, there is a similar safety campaign for snowmobilers, according to an announcement by the Michigan State Police.

Four state and local law enforcement agencies took part in a snowmobile operation this weekend in the eastern half of  Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

"We're enforcing excessive speed, alcohol consumption of course, and failure to follow the rules of the road," said Kevin Dowling of the Michigan State Police.

USFWS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Wolf attacks in Michigan's Upper Peninsula killed at least 26 cattle and 17 hunting dogs last year.

MLive.com says the numbers come from the Department of Natural Resources, through Dec. 22. The number of attacks, 35, was higher than the 20 reported in 2013.

The coal-burning Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan is being kept afloat by ratepayers in the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin.
WE Energies

The state of Michigan, several energy providers, and a mine operator have all agreed in principle on a plan that could put a stop to costly rate payments for people in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Utility bills in the Upper Peninsula were expected to jump by 30%. That's in a region where annual wages are much lower than the national average.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - Some hospitals in Michigan's Upper Peninsula are implementing restrictions on visitors to help prevent patients and staff from catching the flu.

  The Mining Journal of Marquette reported Wednesday that each patient at UP Health System-Marquette is allowed only two visitors and those are limited to the patient's advocate, immediate family member or significant other.

LUNDIN MINING

UPDATED: 12/15/14 at 12:00 pm

MARQUETTE (AP) - State regulators will answer questions from the public about a proposed surface water discharge permit for the Eagle Mine and Humboldt Mill in the Upper Peninsula.

  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is conducting a public hearing on the permit January 13th, 2015. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Westwood High School Auditorium in Ishpeming.

USFWS

State wildlife officials are looking for wolf poachers in the Upper Peninsula.

Two wolves were killed last month in Mackinac and Schoolcraft counties.

In one case, a tracking collar on one of the wolves was removed. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This is shaping up to be a disappointing season for firearm deer hunters in the Upper Peninsula.

An early-season storm and lake effect combined to dump more than three feet of snow in parts of the U.P. last week. 

Russ Mason is the chief of the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division. He says the deep snow is preventing hunters from reaching deer in the U.P.

“You would need a four-wheeler with tracks or a snow machine, and guys just aren’t prepared for that,” says Mason. “I expect the U.P. numbers are going to be way down this year.”

Early snowfall and cold temperatures are causing a hold up on dog sled training in the Upper Peninsula.
User Frank Kovalchek / flickr.com

Though seemingly counterintuitive, early snowfall and cold temperatures are causing a hold up on dog sled training in the Upper Peninsula.

The dogs at Team Evergreen Kennel in Skandia Township were excited when the first snow fell, as Tim Wood, Lead Handler, explained to Jennifer Perez from WLUC-TV:

You will let [the dogs] out into the backyard that first snow fall and they just tear around like demons because they know what this time of year means and they get really excited.

Last week, a several-day storm brought up to 42.5 inches of snow to parts of the Upper Peninsula. The dog teams need packed snow to travel on, so they rely on groomed trails for training. Musher Lisa Dietzen explains why trails haven't been groomed yet:

"Some of the trails that we have to use are opened from the snowmobile trail and our snowmobile trail won't open until after gun season, which is another two weeks. So, some of those trails that we rely on to be groomed out aren't going to be groomed out any time soon."

The mushers at Team Evergreen say they're limited as to where they can run their dogs without these groomed trails. For right now, they're running them on a small track on their property.

Michigan's big dog sled race, The UP 200, is scheduled to take place from February 12 - 16.

-Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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