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."
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.
Gogebic Taconite wants to drill more exploratory holes in the Penokee Hills this winter. The mining company has applied for a permit to drill an additional 15 holes.
The holes would be about 2 and a half inches in diameter, with depths ranging from 280 feet to almost 1500. GTac drilled eight similar holes last summer. DNR mining project lead Larry Lynch says these holes would be in different areas of the Penokee Range.
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.
Controversy continues over a proposed iron mine in Iron and Ashland counties.
While Wisconsin hasn’t seen an open pit mine in a while, some neighboring states have. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to a pair of open pit iron mines that have been operating for several decades.
Standing on the edge of Empire Mine is like looking into an amphitheater far too big for any performance. It’s a mile wide and a mile across. 1200 feet deep. I start wondering how many swimming pools it would take to fill it.
One mining specialist is questioning whether a proposed iron mine in the Penokee range has enough social support to go forward.
John Coleman is an environmental section leader at Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, a group that helps enforce tribal treaty rights in Wisconsin. Coleman has worked primarily on mining issues since 1994, when a mine proposed near Crandon faced tribal opposition.
Coleman thinks state regulators aren’t as tough as they were in the nineties.
Controversy continues to simmer over a proposed iron mine in northern Wisconsin’s Penokee Range. Gogebic Taconite is currently waiting for approval to do bulk sampling of more than 4000 tons of rock. And the company hasn’t even begun what would likely be a multi-year permitting process to open a mine. But one retired mining engineer is wondering if there’s enough ore to mine profitably in the first place.
One thing is clear: Jack Parker’s career in the mining industry has given him a hefty resume in the business.