Trouble in a corner of paradise

porcupine-mountain-state-park

Porcupine Mountain State Park, photo by Jim Sorbie

I’m sure that some people will see this as a “political” post, but it’s very much in line with Michigan in Pictures’ 11 year focus on the promotion AND protection of Michigan’s natural beauty. In other words, I will never stop speaking up when I believe decisions are being made that jeopardize this state that I love. Mineral mining, particularly the sulfide mineral mining that is sweeping the UP, is among the most polluting activities, and in my opinion, is totally out of bounds within a state park. If you are interested in opposition to this and in learning about acid mine drainage and its impact on groundwater, streams, rivers and lakes, including Lake Superior, I encourage you to visit the Mining Action Group.

On Monday, the Michigan DNR released this troubling story about exploratory drilling at Porcupine Mountains State Park:

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has issued a use permit to Orvana Resources U.S. Corp. – a subsidiary of Highland Copper – to conduct exploratory drilling on a 1-mile-square piece of property situated along the westernmost edge of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Gogebic County.

The exploratory drilling began Sunday and is scheduled to continue into early March, depending on weather conditions.

“This drilling project will affect a very small portion of DNR-managed land,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “The vast majority of the park, including the Presque Isle River, will remain unaffected by this exploration activity.”

If the exploration results indicate the potential for copper in suitable quality and minable quantities, Highland Copper would conduct a feasibility study, designed to mine the deposit entirely by underground methods, allowing the company to gain access to the copper ore body from land it owns outside the park.

You can view Jim’s photo from October of 2013 background bigilicious and see more in his Autumn in Michigan slideshow.

Lions in the Sky: The 2016 Leonid Meteor Shower

aurora-fireball-by-ross-ellet

Aurora Fireball, photo by Ross Ellet

Space.com’s page on How to Watch the Leonids says in part:

The Leonid meteor shower happens every year in November, when Earth’s orbit crosses the orbit of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. The comet makes its way around the sun every 33.3 years, leaving a trail of dust rubble in its wake. When Earth’s orbit crosses this trail of debris, pieces of the comet fall toward the planet’s surface. Drag, or air resistance, in Earth’s atmosphere cause the comet’s crumbs to heat up and ignite into burning balls of fire called meteors.

…The Leonid meteor shower peaks on the night of Thursday, Nov. 17, and early the following morning. Skywatchers might be able to see some meteors as early as Sunday, Nov. 13. However, with a full supermoon slated to rise Monday, Nov. 14, moonlight will likely outshine most meteors, rendering them difficult to see.

But don’t feel bummed if you don’t spot any of the early meteors. The Leonids will continue to graze the night sky until Nov. 21. At this point, the waning moon will be at its third quarter, meaning only half of the moon’s face will illuminate the sky. With less of the moon’s natural light obstructing the view, skywatchers who were unable to see the meteor shower at first will still have a chance to catch the last Leonid meteors.

Ross took this photo in late September of 2014 and writes:

The sky was cloudy most of the night, but at 3:30am there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We made our way to the lakeshore and sure enough the northern lights were dim on the northern horizon. At one point you could hear the howl of a distant wolf pack while the northern lights were out. Then moments later a slow move fireball flashed across the sky. It lasted a couple seconds and the brightness pulsed as it moved through the atmosphere. After that the aurora faded, but several more meteors (some very bright) streaked above us.

View it background bigtacular and see more in his Porcupine Mtns slideshow, and definitely check out his website, Ross Ellet’s Weather & Photography for more!!

PS: Some of the best northern lights on the year happen in November so be sure to keep an eye on the skies!

Wild & Scenic Rivers: September color along the Carp River

big-carp-river-in-september-fall-color

West from the Lake of the Clouds, photo by Jim Sorbie

Glints of yellow, orange and red are starting to pop up around the state, so it’s probably time to get some fall wallpaper for your computer! Check that link for a ton and get fall color reports and color touring ideas from the Pure Michigan Fall Color page!

It’s also been a while since I added a Michigan Wild & Scenic River to the blog, so here’s the somewhat brief entry for the Carp River from the National Wild & Scenic Rivers:

The Carp River, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, flows through predominantly forested lands with little development along its way. Spring’s high water provides for canoeing and offers steelhead fishing and dipping for smelt near the river’s mouth. Summer is the time for brook or brown trout, and fall brings salmon fishing. The Carp is known for its outstanding recreation, wildlife, geologic, ecological, fisheries and heritage resource values. The river flows through the Mackinac Wilderness Area.

Michigan has 16 nationally designated Wild & Scenic Rivers – get them all at that link!

View Jim’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his Color Tour 2014 – UP & Canada slideshow.

Taking the plunge at Shining Cloud Falls

Shining Cloud Falls

Shining Cloud Falls, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

GoWaterfalling shares that Shining Cloud Falls is the largest and one of the wildest backcountry waterfalls in the Porcupine Mountains State Park:

You will have to hike at least 5 miles in to see the falls, and another 5 miles to get back. If you are looking for a good long day hike this is a winner. In addition to the main falls there are also a number of smaller cascades, and whatever route you take there is lots of wilderness scenery.

The total drop of the falls is about 20′. The falls consists of two parts, a slide on the left, and a plunge on the right. In higher water the two parts merge, but in lower water the two parts are distinct, as can be seen in the photos on this page. Plunge falls are rare around Lake Superior.

…Downstream of Shining Cloud Falls are a number of unnamed falls and rapids. Several of these are larger than some of the named falls on the Little Carp River. The last drop near the Lake is known as Bathtub Falls. If you are hiking upstream to the falls, do not be fooled by the smaller drops. The trail follows the river closely, but it climbs away from the river before reaching Shining Cloud Falls. There is no sign marking Shining Cloud Falls, but it is very distinctive.

You can read on for more including directions. FYI, “plunge falls” are those where the water descends vertically without contact with the surface.

View Paul’s photo background bigtacular, see more in his slideshow, and view & purchase his photos in his Especially in Michigan gallery at the-woj.com.

Lots more waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

Waterfall Wednesday: Manido Falls in the Porcupine Mountains

Manido Falls Porcupine Mountains Wilderness

Manido Falls, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness, photo by Kirt E. Carter

The Waterfall Record’s page on Manido Falls has directions and some more photos and says:

Manido Falls did not impress me at first, at least not as much as the downstream Manabezho Falls. After seeing the pictures I had taken, though, I discovered what an amazingly beautiful waterfall Manido Falls is. It’s beauty comes from its complexity. The waterfall itself is not very tall at all. It is wide, though. As the Presque Isle River tumbles down toward Lake Superior, it comes to this set of rocks that create a beautifully cascading waterfall. I think what makes me like Manido Falls so much is that the water has taken such an interesting course here, erosion taking its effect in an oddly unique way.

Add to it that the just as spectacular Manabezho Falls is only hundreds of yards away, and Lake Superior not much more distant, this makes for one of the most beautiful waterfall stretches in the Upper Peninsula.

View Kirt’s photo bigger and check out his website for more.

More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

 

Autumnal Splendor at Lake of the Clouds

Autumnal Splendor

Autumnal Splendor, photo by Eric Hackney

True confession: I was asked to share less from northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. True answer: It’s really hard to turn my back on incredible visions like this! I will try and do better tomorrow. Promise. 

Also – new design for the blog. Not finished, but at least the pics are bigger. Thoughts & comments are appreciated.

Lake of the Clouds is one of the main attractions in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. Be sure to check out this interactive map & photo presentation from the Park that includes a 360-degree panorama from the spot atop Cuyahoga Peak where this photo was taken!

View Eric’s photo bigger and see more in his Landmarks & Landscapes slideshow.

PS: There’s more photos from Eric on Michigan in Pictures

 

Behind every great photo…

Hogback Mountain Photographer

Hogback Mountain, photo by Chelsea Graham

Shots like these help me remember that behind every great photo, there’s someone who went through all the time and effort to get out there and take it.

Thanks so much to all of you photographers who share your work with me – there’s no way I could do what I do without all of your time, effort and love of Michigan.

View Chelsea’s photo background big and see more in her Michigan slideshow.

More fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.