Upper Peninsula

Emily Fox

Native American culture has been struggling to survive for more than a century. For a Potawatomi tribe in the Upper Peninsula, tribal culture almost vanished around the 1940s. But for the past four decades, there have been efforts to bring tribal culture back.

Lavender being grown in Michigan.
User: Deb Nystrom / Flickr

When we think of "typical" Michigan-grown crops, it's easy to think cherries, blueberries, or corn.

But there's one corner of Michigan that is perfect for growing this: lavender.

Linda Longworth owns Lavender Hill Farms in Boyne City. It's the biggest commercial lavender farm in Michigan.

Longworth says they have about 13,000 lavender plants on her farm, and they are now right in the middle of the harvest season.

Longworth also works with local craftsmen and outside companies, so that her lavender can be turned into various products such as soap, lavender shortbread cookies, lavender vodka and beer.

*Listen to the interview with Longworth above.

Lundin Mining

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by state environmental regulators to allow construction of a nickel and copper mine in the Upper Peninsula.

A three-judge panel unanimously sided with the Department of Environmental Quality, which issued mining and groundwater discharge permits to Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. The Marquette County mine is now owned by Lundin Mining Corp.

DEQ officials approved a mining permit for the project in 2007, drawing legal challenges from environmentalists and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. A DEQ administrative law judge and a circuit court judge affirmed the department's decisions, and opponents took the case to the Court of Appeals.

The mine has been constructed and is scheduled to begin producing minerals this fall.


The State Senate may vote this week on a proposal that could once again open the door to wolf hunting in Michigan.

Hunting groups collected enough petition signatures on a proposed law giving state wildlife officials total control on which animals will be hunted in Michigan.

Drew YoungeDyke is with Michigan United Conservation Clubs. He insists the hunting groups are not trying to outflank groups opposed to hunting wolves in Michigan.

Areas in question for the land deal in Michigan's UP.

Picture this: You live in a corner of the Upper Peninsula that is full of natural beauty. But the population in your town is shrinking and aging, even to the point where it's hard to find police officers and firefighters because everyone's just getting older.

And there's little in the way of economic opportunity.

Now here comes a huge Canadian company that wants to buy 10,000 acres of state-managed forest land to build a massive limestone mining operation. There's the prospect of massive amounts of money and the hope of jobs.

And there's the fear of losing the natural beauty of your corner of the UP.

What to do?

That's the real-life dilemma happening in the Rexton area of the Upper Peninsula.

Keith Matheny is a writer with the Detroit Free Press and he's been following this story. Keith joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

USFWS Midwest

There are fewer wolves living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

State wildlife biologists report a slight dip in the wolf population following last fall’s controversial hunt.

The Department of Natural Resources has just completed a census of wolves in the Upper Peninsula. The DNR admits the count is more of an estimate than an accurate head count.

Shawn Malone / UP Second Wave

With its rocky soil, thick forests and painfully short growing season, the Upper Peninsula is never going to look like Iowa or Kansas – and that's okay. For more than a century, a hardy batch of growers and livestock farmers have managed to survive and prosper in these less-than-ideal conditions. Thanks to new technologies and some decidedly low-tech solutions, the U.P.'s latest generation of ag workers are more productive than ever. Ultimately, the fruits of their labor may be felt – and tasted – far beyond the region's borders.

Age-Old Limitations
If you're a U.P. native, you don't need an advanced degree to understand why agriculture is challenging here. But Alger County MSU Extension Director Jim Isleib has one, so people tend to listen to his thoughts on this issue. "Poor soils and a short growing season – that about sums it up," he says. 

One of the aerial images near Munising, MI capture from the video.
Roam, Inc. / YouTube

Spring in Michigan's Upper Peninsula means watching the layers of snow melt. Thomas Dolaskie of Roam, Inc. in the UP put together this video of a spring weekend in Munising, Michigan. He writes:

Filmed the first weekend of April, 2014 – we got in the last snowshoe and frozen lake roaming of the year, and watched the waterfalls start to flow. Relax, it's spring. 

Here's the video:

Kennecott Eagle Minerals

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take a case trying to stop the development of a new copper and nickel mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The high court let stand a lower court's rejection of the Huron Mountain Club's arguments that the mine needs federal permits.

The Club owns a 19,000-acre wildlife and nature preserve that includes an 11-mile stretch of the Salmon Trout River.

The Eagle Mine is located a few miles upstream, and some mining will take place under the river.

Flickr user herzogbr / Flickr

Welcome, dear "Yooper." And we’re not talking specifically to those of you who live in the Upper Peninsula. We’re talking about the actual word "Yooper." It’s official, according to the 2014 edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

Anne Curzan is an English professor at the University of Michigan, and she joins us every Sunday on Michigan Radio for "That's What They Say."  Anne joined us today to discuss the specifics of this new official word. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Ford Motor Company / Flickr

When we think solar power and solar panels, what comes to mind? 

The sun, of course. So what are the prospects for solar power in areas that tend to be cloudy, snowy, and cold? Places with short days and long nights? Places like Michigan's Upper Peninsula?

Upper Peninsula Second Wave writer Sam Eggleston joins us from Marquette to discuss what might happen when solar power meets the UP.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - Michigan utility regulators say Upper Peninsula residents whose supplies of propane already are running short face new challenges this week with the closing of a Wisconsin facility for maintenance.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says that inventories in the region are 43 percent below their level of one year ago.

Commission Chairman John Quackenbush says "propane customers in the Upper Peninsula should use their propane supplies wisely in the coming weeks by reducing usage and avoiding energy waste."

Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS

Michigan’s top wildlife officials were briefed today on last year’s controversial wolf hunt.

23 wolves were killed during the seven-week hunt. That’s well below the target of 43 wolves.

Adam Bump is the point man on wolves for the Department of Natural Resources. He delivered the briefing to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.  Bump says the DNR will take the next several months to evaluate how to improve future hunts.

user: Alexandra Zakharova / Flickr

According to John Barnes of MLive.com, a cattle farmer who has "the state's highest number of reported wolf attacks" was charged with animal cruelty.

John Koski is from Bessemer, in Ontonagon County in the Upper Peninsula. He was charged with a misdemeanor, which is "punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine." His hearing is on December 17.

The charge involved Koski's treatment of "guard donkeys." Three guard donkeys were provided to Koski by the by the state to protect his cattle. Donkeys are used because they aren't afraid of canines and have a "powerful double-hooved kick."

Koski is accused of "neglecting two  donkeys provided by the state that died. A third was removed from the farm because of ill health, officials said."

courtesy of www.instant-casino-bonus.com/gaming

  The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this morning in a case that pits Michigan against an Upper Peninsula Indian tribe.

The case revolves around the tribe's plan to open an off-reservation casino.

Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today from D.C.

Listen to the full interview above.


LANSING, Mich. (AP) - At least 10 wolves have been killed during Michigan's wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

The state Department of Natural Resources updated the results Saturday. The wolf season started on Nov. 15 and runs through December, unless 43 are killed before the end of the year.


Hunters have killed six wolves during the first three days of Michigan’s controversial wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Unseasonably warm weather has played a part in the hunt so far.

Debbie Munson-Badini is a spokeswoman with the Department of Natural Resources.    She says snow in the forecast is good news for most hunters in the Upper Peninsula.


HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) - Researchers at Michigan Technological University are trying to figure out if solar power generation that works in the sunny South can function in the snowy North.

A two-year-study underway at the Houghton school's Keweenaw Research Center seeks to measure how snow affects solar panels' power generation.

The international engineering company DNV GL is helping underwrite the project. Michigan Tech spokeswoman Marcia Goodrich says the company specializes in "large energy and sustainability related projects."


CRYSTAL FALLS, Mich. (AP) - The UP is back on the map.

MLive.com says a map that the White House put up on the website showing which states were expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act was showing an outline of Michigan that omitted the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan is among the states that are expanding Medicaid under the health care law.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People planning to take part in Michigan’s historic wolf hunt this year are likely to come home empty-handed.

State wildlife officials say they designed the hunt expecting only around 4% of hunters to kill a wolf.

“If we had any other game species, or deer hunting, or rabbit hunting, or squirrel hunting where you’d have 4% success rates, the hunters would be quite upset with us,” said Brian Roell, a wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“So I think some folks are probably overestimating their ability to harvest a wolf.”

UK Wolf Conservation Trust / Wikimedia

A new poll shows strong support for a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan’s gray wolves have rebounded from near extinction in the U.P.   Last winter, Michigan’s gray wolf population was estimated at 658.  But as the wolf population has grown, so have the number of attacks on livestock and household pets.

Next month, Michigan will hold a limited wolf hunt.

The hunt will take place in three specific zones of the U.P.  The zones have seen the most problems with wolves.  


It’s time to talk food, and who better to turn to than Michael Stern of Roadfood.com?

He and his wife Jane drive around the country searching for good food and exploring popular culture, and sharing the news with the rest of us through their writing and conversations on public radio's The Splendid Table.

Michael Stern joined us today to tell us what is cooking in the Upper Peninsula along U.S. Highway 41, starting in Marquette and working up to Copper Harbor.

Michael's piece in  Saveur Magazine is called "Upper Crust: The Culinary Glovry of Michigan's Route 41."

Listen to the full interview above.

Canada is dumping its garbage in Michigan. We took a look at why it's so cheap to haul trash over the border and the political reasons making it hard to stop.

And, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater. Did you know Michigan once had more than 100 drive-ins? Today just a hand full are still in operation.

Also, Amtrak is making some improvements. We spoke with Tim Hoeffner of the Michigan Department of Transportation about what Michigan train passengers can expect.

And, Michael Stern from Roadfood.com, and frequent guest on The Splendid Table, stopped by to tell us about his recent trip to the Upper Peninsula and the culinary marvels he found up there.

But, first on the show, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress are still at odds over federal spending on this, the 14th day of the partial government shutdown. In weekend discussions, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell could not reach a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority. Stocks are lower as the nation moves to a potentially disastrous default on its debt. Democratic Congressman Sander Levin joined us today to talk about the impasse.

user Rhonda Noren / Flickr

One of the memorable images from the first week of the government shutdown was the World War II veterans, who pushed their way into the closed-down National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Now, those images are being repeated in Michigan.

The federal shutdown has hit parks, refuges, visitor centers, campgrounds and most park roads.

But don't think for a moment that dysfunction and stalemate in Washington is going to keep folks from enjoying the peak of fall colors in the Upper Peninsula.

John Pepin, a writer for Marquette’s Mining Journal joins us to discuss Michigan parks affected by the shutdown, and those who won’t let a shutdown stop them from seeing the state’s natural side. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

metassus / Flickr

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's first wolf hunt is turning out to be a hot ticket.

Officials say more than 1,000 licenses were sold Saturday, leaving just 100 by evening. The hunt starts Nov. 15 and runs through the end of the year.

The Natural Resources Commission is allowing 43 wolves to be killed in seven Upper Peninsula counties. Opponents hoping to stop future hunts are gathering petition signatures for a statewide vote.

A wolf license costs $100 for a Michigan resident and $500 for a non-resident.


Beginning tomorrow, Michigan hunters will start laying down $100 for a license to hunt wolves in the Upper Peninsula this fall.    

State wildlife officials admit they don’t know if the wolf hunt licenses will sell out.   The licenses will be available for hunters as young as 10 years old and from out of state. 

1,200 licenses are being sold for the wolf hunt which starts November 15.

It’s the first wolf hunt since the gray wolf rebounded from near extinction in the Upper Peninsula.   

But along with people buying wolf hunting licenses, there will be people working this weekend to protect the wolves.

Jill Fritz is with Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.  Her group is collecting signatures on a petition to put a challenge to the wolf hunt law on next year’s ballot.

“We’re encountering an enthusiastic public everywhere we go.  Whether we’re out in front of a library in Marquette or at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids,” says Fritz. 

The Department of Natural Resources has set a goal of killing 43 wolves in this fall’s hunt.  The hunt will take place in 3 separate zones in the Upper Peninsula.

Supporters say the U.P.’s growing wolf population is threatening livestock and household pets. Detractors complain the hunt will indiscriminately kill wolves and may make wolf attacks on livestock more common.

State of Michigan

State wildlife officials continue to prepare for this fall’s controversial wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

The hunt is set to begin in three zones in the U.P. in mid-November.

Hunters will try to kill 43 wolves during the hunt. There are fewer than 700 adult wolves in the Upper Peninsula.

Adam Bump is with the Department of Natural Resources. He says they are still working on the logistics for the hunt, including putting hunting licenses up for sale at the end of September.

user: jodelli / Flickr

In the five weeks since Detroit filed for bankruptcy, there has been much conversation, much reporting, much editorializing.

What does it mean? Who will be affected? How can Detroit turn itself around? A lot of opinions, and a lot of views.

One view we have not gotten yet on Stateside is the view of the Detroit bankruptcy from "Up North."

That's something we remedied today as we welcomed Ken Winter, former editor and publisher of the Petoskey News-Review and member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.

And, freshly returned from his trip to the Upper Peninsula, where he was able to get an up-close take on the UP's view of Detroit, Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry also joined the discussion.

Listen to the full interview above.


In the entire history of Michigan, there has been only one state poet laureate: Edgar Guest.

But, the Upper Peninsula can boast of having a poet laureate. Recent voting in a grassroots campaign gave that honor to Russell Thorburn.

Russell Thorburn joined us today to talk about what this honor means to him professionally and personally.

Listen to the full interview above.

On today’s show we explored the differences residents in the UP have as compared with "trolls," you know, residents under the Mackinac Bridge.

How do perspectives about our state change depending on where we live?

And, we got the story behind Banner Gibson guitars in Kalamazoo and the women who made them.

Also, the UP’s own poet laureate joined us to talk about the rise in regional poet laureates, as well as what that honor means to him.

First on the show, as you've likely heard by now, a state election panel will have to decide the official outcome of Detroit's mayoral primary. That's because Wayne County's election board refused to certify the election. It should be noted that the county election board acted on the very last day before the deadline to certify the election.

The controversy centers on some 20,000 write-in votes that may have been incorrectly marked by Detroit poll workers.

Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan appeared to win the primary handily over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Despite running as a write-in candidate, Duggan won by about 16 points, according to unofficial results.

But if these almost 20,000 write-in votes get thrown out, the two winners would switch places, with  Napoleon coming out on top, and former Detroit Medical Center Mike Duggan finishing second.

Whatever the outcome, Duggan and Napoleon will face off in November.

But this drama raises many concerns, including the ability of Detroit poll workers to do their jobs properly, whether there needs to be a recount, and whether---as suggested by Benny Napoleon--the U.S. Department of Justice needs to babysit the big November election.

Jocelyn Benson, interim dean of Wayne State University's law school and an expert in Michigan's constitutional and election law, joined us today to help us sort this all out.