February 18, 2013
A couple of weeks ago a reader sent me a link isleroyalewolf.org. The website documents the interactions of the island’s wolf & moose population as their decades long dance unfolds on this remote, wilderness island. Their overview explains:
Isle Royale has offered many discoveries… how wolves affect populations of their prey, how population health is affected by inbreeding and genetics, what moose teeth can tell us about long-term trends in air pollution, how ravens give wolves a reason to live in packs, why wolves don’t always eat all the food that they kill, and more. The wolves and moose of Isle Royale also frequently reveal intimate details of their daily life experiences and they have inspired numerous artistic expressions. If we pay attention, they all tell us something important about our relationship with nature. These insights and discoveries are all presented here for you.
Building on the graph above and to develop a deeper understanding, here is more on the history of wolves and moose on Isle Royale. Moose first came to Isle Royale in the early 20th century, and for fifty years, their numbers fluctuated with weather conditions and food abundance. Wolves first arrived in the late 1940s by crossing an ice bridge from Canada. The lives of Isle Royale moose would never be the same.
Every winter since 1958, a team of researchers has spent numerous weeks at Isle Royale observing the lives of these wolves and moose and reporting back. Now they offer a website with photos and detailed reports, a fascinating tale that I encourage you to follow. Today’s photo is from the edition I began with - It’s Complicated. A snapshot:
Isabelle’s signal was surprisingly close. By the time we saw her, she was running for her life, north along the beach of Rainbow Cove. She was being chased by Pip’s two companions. Pip was nowhere in sight. While those two wolves have been eating regularly, Isabelle may not have had a decent meal in weeks, perhaps longer. Isabelle’s half-mile lead was reduced to nothing in just a few minutes.
More wolves on Michigan in Pictures.
September 18, 2010
We’ll stay outside and under the stars with this photo taken across from Pickerel Cove Campground in Isle Royale National Park. Carl writes that he was trying to photograph the bright stars filling the sky while keeping his shadow out of the shot. He finally decided to go with it (to great effect in my opinion).
Check it out bigger in his Under the Stars slideshow.
October 21, 2009
Nina went to Isle Royale in September and has been posting accounts on her awesome blog Black Coffee at Sunrise. This photo of Minong Mine appears in Day Five, which features a detailed description of their encounter with a pack of wolves:
Since the vegetation along the narrow trail was dripping with dew and leaning inward, it wasn’t long before we were both soaking wet from hip to ankle. Ten minutes after leaving our campsite, the ground became marshy and we found ourselves walking a long stretch of protective plank bridge. Just before reaching the stream crossing, the trail curved to the right and Craig suddenly stopped in front of me, turned around and said very calmly, “Uh…a whole pack of wolves…”
His voice trailed off as he turned back around to face forward again. I thought he was trying to be funny since I couldn’t yet see what was around the corner. After inching forward another foot or so, he turned to me again and the look on his face was priceless. “I’m not kidding,” he said. “There are at least five wolves on the trail ahead of us.” The next few moments were the most surreal and exciting I’ve ever experienced.
Check out many more Isle Royale photos on Michigan in Pictures.
September 2, 2009
Mount Franklin was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. It’s along the Greenstone Ridge, about which Summit Post says:
The Greenstone Ridge forms the geologic backbone of one of America’s least visited National Parks…Isle Royale … The island is composed of a series of ridges that run the length of the island. In between these ridges are areas of swamp and muskeg. Sound inviting?
The Greenstone Ridge is the longest and highest of these ridges. It gets its name from the greenish stones that are commonly found along it. It runs the entire 45-mile length of the island and is anything but smooth. A few notable peaks along it include Mt. Franklin(1080’), Mt. Ojibway(1136’), Mt. Siskiwit(1205’), Ishpeming Point(1377’), and Mt. Desor(1394’). The ridge top is quite open in places, particularly along the northeast half of the ridge. The trail between Mt. Franklin and Ojibway is especially scenic.
Click to read more about this trail. The Isle Royale National Park site says that Greenstone Ridge forms the backbone of Isle Royale and is thought by many geologists to be a portion of the largest lava flow on earth.
November 8, 2008
Isle Royale National Park is one of our state’s true treasures. You can see more photos from this beautiful Michigan island in the Isle Royale National park group. Two cool ways to explore the pics is through this group slideshow and the Isle Royale group Flickriver.
Hope you all have a happy weekend wherever you may be.
August 12, 2008
Wikipedia lists islands in Isle Royale National Park (but not this one):
- Amygdaloid Island – has a ranger station
- Barnum Island
- Beaver Island – has a campground
- Belle Isle – a small island just off the north shore of Isle Royale at the head of Belle Harbor. It is the site of a primitive campground and is visited every second day during the peak season by the island-circling ferry.
- Caribou Island – has a campground
- Grace Island – has a campground
- Johns Island
- Long Island
- Menagerie Island – has a lighthouse
- Mott Island – summer park headquarters
- Passage Island – has a lighthouse and short trail
- Raspberry Island – has a nature trail
- Rock of Ages – has a lighthouse
- Ryan Island – the largest island in the largest lake on the largest island in the largest freshwater lake in the world
- Tookers Island – has a campground
- Washington Island
- Wright Island
Learn more from Isle Royale National Park (U.S. National Park Service) and check this out bigger (along with many more) in Carl’s spectacular Isle Royale Natonal Park slideshow.
This was one of my favorite photographs made during my last visit to the island in spring 2006. I’ve been to the wilderness isle many times and every time is special. It’s ruggedly beautiful, inspirational and one of the most exciting places in Michigan to make photographs if you appreciate pure nature.
You can see more from the island in Mark’s Isle Royale gallery, and more of Michigan in his other galleries and in his book Michigan, Simply Beautiful. Along with fellow photographer Mark also operates Great Lakes Photo Tours, providing personalized and in-depth instruction in nature photography in some of Michigan and the region’s most beautiful locations.
The entry for Rock Harbor Lighthouse at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light tells the history of this remote lighthouse and includes a number of historical photos. With the boom of mining on Isle Royale and the new lock at the Soo, a light at Rock Harbor was approved by Congress (for the outrageous sum of $5000). The light was completed in 1856 and:
The station’s rubble stone tower stood 16 feet 11 inches in diameter at the foundation, with its 49 foot 11 inch high walls tapering gently to a diameter of 14 feet 1 inch below the circular gallery. A set of spiral pine stairs supported by a central pine post wound within the tower from the first floor to a trap door in the gallery floor to provide access to the lamp. The lantern itself was fabricated of cast iron, and featured a domed copper roof. Centered within the lantern, a fixed white Fourth Order Fresnel lens sat at a focal plane of 70 feet above lake level, and cast its light 15 miles across the lake The attached rubble stone dwelling, stood 29 feet square and 20 feet 9 ½ inches high at the apex of the cedar shingled roof.
Carl took this photo at Herring Bay in Isle Royale National Park. It’s part of his super-cool Isle Royale National Park (slideshow) which, in addition to having many more kayak photos, has some incredible views of this amazing Michigan park including a sweet shot of the northern lights over Amygdaloid Island Ranger Station (plus he has them uploaded at “wallpaper size”).
This weekend, July 17-20, 2008, head up to Grand Marais for the 24th annual Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium. It’s the oldest kayaking symposium on the Great Lakes and offers paddlers of all ages and abilities for a weekend packed with fun and learning opportunities including on-the-water classes, classroom lectures, kayak demos and vendors, social events, a race and of course plenty of opportunities to paddle including guided tours of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Keynote speakers this year are adventure filmmaker and expedition sea-kayaker Justine Curgenven and Sam Crowley, who circumnavigated Ireland in 2007 in a sea kayak.
October 30, 2013
Grand Island North Light, photo by Jeff Shook
The photo above is from the Grand Island North Light page at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light. Head over there for all kinds of information about one of Michigan’s lonelier lighthouses.
As Halloween is tomorrow, I thought I’d share the tale of a mysterious murder at North Light from the Center for U.P. Studies at Northern Michigan University.
On June 12, 1908 the body of 30-year old Edward S. Morrison, the assistant lightkeeper at North Light, was discovered in a small sailboat near Au Sable Point. Although identification took a while, since few of the local people knew him, it was definite once made. Morrison had a distinctive tattoo of thirteen stars on his left arm, leaving no doubt as to the identity of the remains. Initial reports said his head had been “battered almost beyond recognition” and that “the head and shoulders were fearfully crushed, as if battered by a club.” Inexplicably though, a coroners jury concluded death was due to exposure, thought to be caused by the rough weather on the 7th. A reported second coroners jury also examined the evidence and returned a verdict that the members were not able to tell how he died, but they had a strong suspicion of murder!
Morrison had been assistant keeper only six weeks when he met his death. A native of Tecumseh, Michigan, he joined the Lighthouse Service on May 1, 1908 and secured the assistant keeper’s appointment at North Light. Friends claimed he had a “bright and sunny disposition” and that he “didn’t have an enemy in the world.”
The keeper of the light was George Genery, a long-time veteran of the Service. Appointed to North Light in 1893, he had been the assistant keeper at Menagerie Island, Isle Royale from 1887 until his posting to Grand Island. It was later claimed he had trouble keeping his assistants since none lasted longer than a season. Working with Genery was said to be difficult at best. The keeper was in Munising on June 6 to get supplies.
Baffled by the discovery of Morrison’s body and the knowledge that the beacon had been dark for nearly a week, a delegation from Munising went out to the light. They discovered the supplies Genery had brought back from Munising still piled on the dock. An empty wheel barrow stood nearby and his coat dangled undisturbed on a hook in the boathouse. Morrison’s vest was hanging carefully on the back of a chair, his watch and papers safe in a pocket. Of the three boats normally kept at the station, reports differed whether two or only one was missing. The last official log entry was made on June 5, while the slate entry for the 6th was made in Morrison’s hand. Neither gave a clue to anything being amiss. Other than the untended lamp, all else was normal, without evidence of any unusual occurrence. Local volunteers manned the light until the service send a replacement.
Authorities immediately started a search for the missing keeper, but he had completely dropped out of sight. There were reports that five different men had seen him at various times in Munising between June 9 and 12, and that he was drinking heavily. His wife, living in town, claimed no knowledge of his whereabouts and did not seem overly concerned with his strange disappearance.
There were several theories proffered to explain the case. One said the two men had gone out to lift nets and that Genery had fallen overboard and drowned. Morrison, unfamiliar with a sailboat, then drifted about helplessly until finally perishing from exposure. Friends, however doubted such reasoning. They considered Morrison an expert sailor, and in fact he had previously owned a 32-foot sailboat on the Detroit River.
Another theory is based on their having been paid on the 6th; that they were attacked by one or more unknown assailants on the island, murdered, robbed and the bodies dumped into the sailboats and cast adrift. Morrison’s eventually made shore. Genery’s never did. Lonely to distraction, no better location for such a crime could be imagined. No one else was in the area to witness such a heinous deed. The nearest other occupant on the island was the Cleveland Cliffs game keeper, whose house was seven miles to the south. There was a story that a body was later discovered in the east channel, but it was apparently never identified so whether it was the missing keeper is unknown. Finding “floaters” was not that unusual, so no definite link between it and Genery was possible.
The third theory was that Morrison was murdered by Genery…
The photographer is Jeff Shook of the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, an organization that does great work in the preservation of Michigan’s lighthouses.
October 1, 2013
A taste of the Shutdown’s impact on Michigan via Leelanau.com…
The TC Ticker reports that the federal government shutdown that began at midnight has closed portions of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore:
A park representative said gates will be closed on the park’s campgrounds, bathrooms and popular Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive until the shutdown ends, though visitors may still access the park’s hiking trails and lakeshore. (our emphasis)
Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of five national parks in Michigan affected by the shutdown, a move that comes at an unfortunate time for tourism-dependent parks nearing the end of their operating seasons. The Leelanau County attraction, which will operate with a skeleton crew of emergency-only personnel until the shutdown has ceased, normally averages 2,300 visitors a day during the fall season, according to park reports.
The Freep reports that a similar scenario will unfold at other Michigan National Parks with Isle Royale & River Raisin Battlefield Park closing early for the season. Let me stress that you can still enjoy the majority of our parks and trails. In other Michigan-specific news, about 900 Michigan National Guard members are bracing for a furlough notice and training for another 12,000 will be put on hold. More details on the shutdown’s impact on Michigan at mLive.