Thursday, February 15, 2007

Saving our heritage - saving the wild UP

This is part of the watershed above Big Bay, on the way to Marquette, only a handful of miles as the crow flies from the Yellow Dog Plains. The area has a diverse range of environments, from moist freshwater creek beds in deciduous forests to dry, sandy near-alpine-like conditions in higher elevations with older conifer growth and younger brushy areas developing into new jack pine stands.













And this is what I used to do as a kid, here in the same stream beds, looking for salamanders and tiny brook trout and crawfish and bugs as if they were gold nuggets. It's rare to run into somebody out here, and when you do, they are fishing, hunting, berry picking, logging, or heading back to town with whatever they caught, picked or logged.















I think this is Eagle Rock, only a stone's throw from the area where Kennecott Mines wants to mine for nickel sulfide. Not clear in this picture taken on a hazy afternoon is a large outcrop of bluestone and granite on which perch some conifers, reaching over a brushy patch covered with wild blueberry and ferns.












Noted with a "Drift Area" sign, this is one of the many logging roads that wind through the Yellow Dog Plains, the same kind of road that the Kennecott Mines trucks will use to remove the nickel sulfide.

These roads rut and wash out easily as they are nothing but soft sand and small sandstones; they are like washboards after a little rain and a little more traffic. During the summer they are extremely dusty; the trees adjoining the road become pink from dust hanging in the air. The dust could be kept down with calcium chloride, but what will that do to the environment?

This area is simply too fragile for mining; it hasn't fully recovered from the logging done over the last hundred years as it is. How long would it take to recover from a nickel mine with an extremely finite lifespan?

Comments:
Rayne,

I got a couple of yes replies this morning. Will paste them below. AR is surrounded by legal gambling LA, OK, MO, and MS.. In the replies Fort Smith is mentioned. Remember Ft Smith is not in Griffins Area (at least in an obvious way because it's on the western border with OK and Griffin is in the eastern district)

Here are two confirmations and I had no idea Cherokee were from AR.. this puzzles an AR native.

Eureka, I've heard from some members of the Cherokee tribe as recently as last Fall who are continuing to achieve formal recognition from the state.

Posted by: Steve Harrelson



The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee is already recognized in Arkansas. They have a tribal service office and a pending application with the BIA for land in trust on the Arkansas River in Fort Smith.

Posted by: Kaiser Sosay
 
Rayne, if you google harpsichord and Toronto you will find me.

HotFlash
 
Rayne!
Thank you for this essay! I hope you get thisis as I see the essay was written awhile ago. Keep fighting the good fight! Dangangry
 
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