Harvest Camp

Monie Shackleford / WXPR News

Organizers against a mine proposal in northern Wisconsin are looking to maple syrup to provide an economic boost for the region. 

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp, also called the HELP Village has maintained a presence in the Penokee Range for almost two years.

Spokesperson Paul DeMain says maple syrup production is a more sustainable alternative to open pit mining. 

“The tapping industry, not just maple but we’re talking about potential yellow and white birch – we’d like to talk about revitalizing that industry.” 

Monie Shackleford / WXPR News

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp celebrated its one-year anniversary this weekend.  

On Saturday, April 26th, a group of about thirty people gathered in Iron County to feast on pancakes and locally produced maple syrup they call “Penokee Gold.”   

Paula Mohan came from Madison for the event.

“I wanted to come for the pancakes and the Penokee Gold and all the other food and the fact that it is the one year anniversary," Mohan said. "I was last here in February and it’s kind of nice to be here because it is not twenty below and there are no bugs yet."

Natalie Jablonski

A member of the Harvest Camp near the proposed Gogebic Taconite mine in Iron county says he went through the proper process to vote as a homeless person.

Thursday, State Senator Tom Tiffany filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board and Attorney General, saying Nick Vander Puy allegedly improperly voted in the town of Anderson on April 1.

Vander Puy says the complaint is without merit....

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Members of the Lac Court Oreilles Harvest Education and Learning Project plan to rotate in and out of the site to comply with Iron County rules. 

Earlier this month the Iron County Board of Supervisors gave Harvest Camp residents six business days to leave, saying they were in violation of a 14-day camping limit. 

Camp spokesperson Paul DeMain says the site will remain as it is, but longterm residents will follow the rules by leaving every two weeks for at least 24 hours. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Iron County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to close the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp Thursday night, saying residents are violating a 14-day camping limit on county forest land. 

About 30 people attended the meeting, most speaking in support of what’s officially called the Harvest Education Learning Project, or HELP Village.  An hour of public comment was followed by an hour in closed session, where county supervisors consulted with legal counsel.  A motion to close the camp passed 13 votes to 0, with two members absent. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp in Iron County won’t be going anywhere for the time being.  The Iron County Board has taken the camp’s eviction off its Tuesday agenda. 

Harvest camp residents have been staying on county forest land since the spring in response to Gogebic Taconite’s mine proposal.  But the Iron County Forestry Committee voted last week to evict them.

Iron County Clerk Mike Saari says this week’s delay doesn’t mean the issue is gone for good. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Iron County Forestry and Parks committee members have again unanimously voted to evict the residents of the Harvest Camp near the site of a proposed iron mine.  

Members of the Lac Courte Oreilles tribe and other supporters have been camping on county land since early spring in opposition of Gogebic Taconite’s mine proposal. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp is celebrating a feast day Thursday.  

The camp formed in the spring of this year in response to a proposed iron mine in the Penokee Hills.  

Five people are spending the winter at the camp…which has already seen more than a foot of snow.  Spokesman Paul DeMain says the camp has visitors every day, and several dozen people could attend the feast.                       

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Negotiations have begun between Iron County officials and the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp.  Tribal members and supporters set up camp in May near the site of a proposed iron mine in the Penokee Hills.  

After signs that county officials planned to evict the group, the tribe asked to negotiate for a long term arrangement.  Tribal member and camp overseer Mel Gasper says he believes the conversations will be fruitful.