Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kayaker Rescued After 24 Hours

James Olsen
James Olsen

based on a news story at 9&10 News

James Olsen set out for some grouse hunting, kayaking on Backus Creek and the Cut River in Roscommon County, yesterday. But Olsen didn't return home that night, and his wife called the Sheriff.

The search began at about 2 am on Tuesday. Temperatures in the 40s only increased everyone's concern. The search was conducted by helicopter and kayak. Woods in the area is very thick, making foot travel nearly impossible.

Late this afternoon, Olsen was found, walking near M-18, far from where he had begun his outing. He explained that he had become lost. With low temperatures predicted again for tonight, everyone was relieved to have found the man before dark.

News Channel 9&10 includes a video at their site.

See Police Find Missing Kayaker
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Deadly Summer on Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan wavew
Lake Michigan (photo by JHY)

by JHY

This past year has been unusually dangerous for swimmers and boaters on Lake Michigan. The Coast Guard reporting year runs from October 1 to Sept 30, and during the period just ending there were 66 drownings.

This includes rivers and tributaries which feed the lake, in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Since October 1, there have been an additional two drownings in Ludington. Charles Wolfson, US Coast Guard civilian search and rescue coordinator stated that the usual number of deaths per year is closer to 40.

Ten of the deaths have been attributed to rip currents raised on windy days. Many adults seem to feel that the warning flags pertain to children, but not to them, reported Ottawa County sheriff's Sgt. Keith Koeman. Most officials agree that part of the cause is the high temperatures, which enticed many people into the big lake, when they were unfamiliar with its dangers.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Jorgensen said, "People think of Lake Michigan as a lake, but they should really be thinking about it like an ocean. Conditions can deteriorate very quickly."

The National Weather service reported that the number of high-risk days for rip currents this summer was 42 from June through August, while last year the number was 43. Their conclusion is that the key factor must be something other than rip currents.

No matter the causes, anyone who ventures into or out on Lake Michigan needs to consider the special risks in a large body of water.

See Manistee Drowning- What You Should Do in a Rip Current
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Failed Sugarloaf Revival?

unused lift at Sugarloaf Resort
unused lift at Sugarloaf Resort (photo from

compiled from several sources

It appears that yet another attempt to revive the Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Leelanau County, MI, has failed.

Most recently, Eneliko "Sean" Smith of Las Vegas has just bowed out of a proposed $10 million deal to refurbish the property and actually open some hotel rooms by mid-summer 2010. He also stated that he would have the resort ready for skiing by November.

Owner Kate Wickstrom wants a large sum of money upfront to pass the property to Smith, and Smith counters that this is unreasonable. Smith claims that he made more progress toward reviving the property than any previous purchaser. He reports that he was discussing a lease of the ski hills, had interest from hotel brands, and that the U.S. Tennis Association was interested in restoring the indoor courts. However, late this summer, Smith announced that he was pulling out of the project.

Everyone agrees that the amount of money that would be required to put the area back into operation is immense. The property has not been in service for ten years.

Locals still have hope. Several web sites support the concept, and there is a Facebook group "Friends of Sugar Loaf."

See Sugar Loaf Needs Tooth Fairy
See Smith Pulls Sugarloaf Bid
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Century Lumber Days Sept. 24-26

Hartwick Pines Museum
Hartwick Pines Museum

a news release of Michigan DNR

Step back in time to the 19th-century at Hartwick Pines State Park's Logging Museum Sept. 24-26 and listen to a brass band, smell the aroma of food cooking over an open fire and watch as lumberjack re-enactors prepare for logging season. The annual "19th-Century Lumber Days" offers visitors the chance to experience what life was like at logging camps in the 1890s. The program takes place Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a reopening for a special event from 6:30 to 9 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Dodworth Saxhorn Band is America's premier 19th-century brass band. They have performed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the White House and many other venues across the United States. The band brings America's past to life through music, song, audience participation, drama, poetry, dance and theatre. They will share their music through informal, strolling performances all weekend and through hour-long concerts on Friday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Logging Museum.

Food historian Susan Odom will present a selection of the wide variety of food that camp cooks served to the lumberjacks, and will discuss how important that food was to the men and the livelihood of the camp. Odom has demonstrated historic cooking at many historical museums and historic sites throughout the Midwest, including Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Greenfield Village. Cooking demonstrations will be ongoing throughout the weekend.

A Saturday-only special event, "An Evening in the Logging Camp" takes visitors back to 1896 to meet members of the Salling, Hanson and Company's "Section 9 Camp" as they prepare for the winter logging season. Visitors are invited to gather at the Visitor Center and walk by lantern light along the quarter-mile trail to the Logging Museum, where costumed interpreters will portray several members of the camp. Visitors will meet Karen "Bessie" Michelson (later Karen Hartwick), a local boardinghouse owner, the landlooker, the camp clerk, camp cooks, a teamster and the shanty boys. These camp members will talk with visitors about life in the camp, the variety of work that was done and the dangers of the job. This special event takes place Saturday, Sept. 25. Visitor Center doors will open for this event at 6:30 p.m.

Hartwick Pines State Park is located at 4216 Ranger Rd. in Grayling. The Logging Museum is administered by the Michigan Historical Center. This event is free. However, all motor vehicles entering a state park or recreation area must display a 2010 Motor Vehicle Permit, available for purchase at the park entrance or on-line through the Michigan E-Store at Cost is $24 for a resident annual and $6 for a resident daily. A non-resident annual is $29 and a non-resident daily is $8.

See Hartwick Pines Logging Museum
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Oceana Cross Country Dirt Tour- Oct 10

biker on dirt road
biker on Oceana County Road (photo by JHY)

by JHY

Get out your mountain bike and prepare to tour Oceana County's back roads! This event is not a race, but a scenic tour of 66 total miles, on October 10. Join the cookout afterwards!

All this can be yours for a donation only. There is no required fee, but a $5 donation will help fund the post ride picnic.

The course is a 66-mile, out-and-back 33-mile combination of country roads. Only a total of 1.5 miles is paved, and some roads are loose sand, so fat tired bikes are recommended.

The course begins in Muskegon County at Sand Road, near Happy Mohawk Canoe Livery on Fruitvale Road. Meet at 10 am. The course generally heads north to Ferry, Walkerville, and Tuckett Lake in Mason County. Riders will then return to White River Campground for the cookout. Tent camping is also available.

Contact Bryan Myers or check "Owasippe Trail Users" group page on Facebook.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Walkin' Jim Stoltz Dies of Cancer

Walkin' Jim Stoltz
from his web site

info from Walkin' Jim Stoltz

"Walkin’ Jim Stoltz set off on his last forever wild hike on Friday, September 3, 2010." So begins the notice on Walkin' Jim's web site. Many Michigan lover's of the outdoors have heard Jim in concert or read his poetry. With a brother who lives in Honor, Michigan, Jim was often doing concert tours in this state.

His programs were a unique blend of music, images and monologue. He hiked thousands of miles, and many long trails, collection material for his programs, writing songs, and taking pictures. Jim loved the earth and was a crusader for environmental causes.

In addition to concerts, Jim wrote poetry, published as "Whisper Behind the Wind.” His book, “Walking with the Wild Wind: Reflections on a Montana Journey,” is a personal journey of his philosophy.

Walkin' Jim called Montana home, and lost his battle with cancer there, this week. He was 57.

See Walkin' Jim Stoltz
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

National Public Lands Day

from National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day 2010 celebrates service and recreation on public lands while educating volunteers about the effects of climate change on our parks. NPLD engages a diverse audience of adult and youth volunteers to get to outdoors and improve their lands, whether at the grandest national park or at an urban park in their neighborhood.

NPLD inspires a new generation of volunteers committed to service on public lands. The event also encourages volunteers to explore and enjoy America's natural wonders through outdoor recreation. After working hard, volunteers can take a hike, a swim, a bicycle ride and get healthy in America's backyard.

Last September, volunteers....
Removed an estimated 900,000 lbs of trash
Collected an estimated 20,000 lbs of invasive plants
Built and maintained an estimated 1,320 miles of trails
Planted an estimated 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants
Contributed an estimated $14 million to improve public lands across the country

In West Michigan, three events are listed to date:
Highland Recreation Area, White Lake, MI
Cutting invasive trees and shrubs
See Michigan DNRE

Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve
Seed Collection: Enjoy a beautiful fall day while collecting native grassland seeds for the prairie at Saul Lake Bog.
See Nature Nearby

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Beach clean up
See National Park Service

See National Public Lands Day
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Proposed US Bike Route 35 Follows Lake MI Coast

proposed US bike route 35

received from the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission

The Michigan section of United States Bicycle Route 35 (USBR 35) is being developed by a Corridor Committee made up of representatives of the Cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Petoskey, Traverse City, Manistee, Ludington, Muskegon, Holland, South Haven and Saint Joseph. The role of this group is to develop and propose a route to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). MDOT will consider the route, and if acceptable, will apply for national recognition as a United States Bicycle Route.

The designation is a recommendation as to the most suitable roads and trails for a touring bicyclist. The route takes advantage of existing road and trail facilities with no proposed construction. In the future, there may be signage along the route. Find information on the U.S. Bike Route system on the Adventure Cycling Association website.

The Michigan route under consideration would run approximately 500 miles, from New Buffalo to Sault Ste. Marie and development has begun with input from county road commissions, municipal officials and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Participation in the planning process by state and local bicycle clubs, as well as bicycle enthusiasts is requested.

In Berrien and Van Buren Counties, this bicycle route would connect the cities of New Buffalo, Bridgman, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor and South Haven. This proposed route is mapped and can be viewed (see link).

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission will host a public hearing to solicit comments on the proposed route and discuss this section:
6:30 pm on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 Michigan Works Anchor Rooms A-B
499 W. Main Street, Benton Harbor

See US Bike Route System
See Bike Route 35
Comments on the proposed route can be directed to: Suzann Flowers, Program Assistant, SWMPC
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Paddles Up Great Lakes" Safety Campaign

canoe ID sticker

from the U.S. Coast Guard

"Paddles Up Great Lakes" is the name for a new education campaign launched by the Ninth District of the U.S. Coast Guard. The program begins this weekend and lasts until Sept. 10.

Frank Jennings, Jr., the Ninth District's recreational boating safety program manager said, "Paddlesports is the fastest growing segment of recreational boating." 2009 sales of canoes and kayaks was nearly 344,000. This total was about the same as the previous year, even with the economic slump.

One result is that many entry-level paddlers do not have adequate safety training. Last year, 120 paddlers drowned or died of injury, and another 135 were injured.

But the U.S. Coast Guard wants to raise awareness for Michigan paddlers. The "Paddles Up Great Lakes" campaign will attempt to educate paddlers about basic safety by handing out literature. They will also give out self-adhesive ID stickers for canoes and kayaks. If owners fill out these stickers and adhere them to the boats, the Coast Guard believes that they can more efficiently handle search operations. Many times, boats are found empty and adrift. Quickly locating the owner can save time in determining if there is an emergency.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Annual Run/Walk for C.O.V.E. at Charles Mears Park

alt lake michigan
(photo by JHY)

a news release of theMichigan DNR

Charles Mears State Park will host a benefit beach run/walk on Saturday Sept. 11. Check-in and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The 5K and 10K races will start and end at Charles Mears State Park and follow a course covering paved, hard packed gravel and beach surfaces.

All proceeds from the benefit run/walk will go to support Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters (COVE), a non-profit organization serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and women and children who are homeless.

COVE is also known as The Women's Shelter. The goal of The Women's Shelter is to give women the resources needed to handle their individual situations. COVE is part of a state and nationwide network of shelter and support services.

The entry fee for the event is $15 per person if registered by Monday, Sept. 6, and $20 after Sept. 6, with special discounted rates for families. The first 150 registrants will receive a free event t-shirt and refreshments will be provided for all participants. Prizes will be awarded to the first and second place female and male finishers in each age group for the running events and for the overall female and male first and second place finishers of the 5K walk.

"This is the third year that we have the races and the number of participants has been increasing with each race," said DNRE Park Supervisor Jim Gallie. "The course is one of the most beautiful that I have seen and it's a good partnership with Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters."

"Since 1979, COVE has been addressing the issues of domestic and sexual violence and homelessness in Lake, Mason and Oceana counties. The Women's Shelter has housed more than 7,900 women and children during the last 30 years. In addition to a 24/7 crisis hot line, COVE provided more than 7,000 clients with advocacy, crisis intervention, legal assistance and counseling. The proceeds from the Benefit Walk/Run will help COVE continue providing free and confidential services to women and children", said Lynne Cavazos, COVE benefit coordinator.

Register at Charles Mears State Park
or call Lynne Cavazos at 231-869-5939
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