By now most have heard that the 23 campgrounds in the U.P. that were marked for closure will remain open. Director Stokes is withdrawing the closure order.
Having camped at Cusino as a kid, I was a bit torn on the thought of the campgrounds closing. In early April I started circulating emails to see what could be done. It wasn’t long before I spoke with John Madigan who serves on the DNR Commission and realized that the local municipalities had several options to take over the campgrounds. Within days I was exchanging emails all the way up the chain of the DNR.
A brief run-down on how this works:
The DNR can more rapidly execute a partnership with a Local Unit of Government (LUG) when it comes to campgrounds. Schoolcraft county and several other LUG’s already have this relationship with the State. They are successful relationships, with positive cash flow. If a LUG isn’t found, the next step is essentially for the DNR to seek alternatives, such as putting properties out to bid, etc.
This is really what I see happening now. It seems to me that the DNR did everything it could to work with LUGs on the campgrounds, but got very little response. I spoke directly to multiple townships and counties that simply did not respond to the states request for action on the campgrounds. Instead, they found themselves in a political fire-storm with the general public simply expecting these campgrounds to just ‘remain open’. My worry is that there will be no support or movement to volunteer locally and the state will eventually decide to just close the campgrounds. Frankly, I can’t blame them. I’ve followed all of the complaining and postured expectations since the first mention of campground closures and am surprised at the result. I expected the DNR to close them if they didn’t establish local relationships.
My “DNR Campgrounds” email folder has several dozen emails in it. Every single email is positive in nature and helpful. I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive they all were. Unfortunately, it seems like the lack of local response and support will lead to the inevitable. These campgrounds aren’t going to stay open forever just because we want them to, or because our politicians make a few phone calls and hold a few meetings.
We need to accept that if we really do care about keeping the campgrounds open, then we need to volunteer at some level to assist. If we aren’t willing to do that, then we’re accepting the closure as the next step.
There are several campgrounds in the U.P. that aren’t closing. In my personal opinion, more than enough to sustain aggressive growth in camping numbers for several years. If we don’t find LUG support for the under-performing campgrounds, they will close.
I’ve spent over 2 months and several hours exchanging emails, putting campgrounds on commission agendas, and as a commissioner myself, moving to support a LUG agreement. As it turns out, the support we may think exists is actually not enough to keep the campgrounds open long term.
Am I hopeful that something changes, yes. Do I expect that change at the LUG level? No.
I expect that many of the 23 campgrounds will close next year.
I’ve started a Facebook Group and a discussion thread on our forum in support of the three campgrounds I worked on. Anything I come across will be updated there. Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on what else can be done.
If you’ve spent even a small amount of time online looking at photos, you’ve likely stumbled across vibrant, almost 3d looking photos and figured out that you were looking at HDR Photography.
I’m not really interested in writing about HDR, whether I like it, hate it, etc, etc. I just wanted to give a quick blog that talks about how I process most of my HDR photos.
My process is actually quite simple, and I wish I had looked at doing HDR a few years ago.
Here’s how I do it:
Start by shooting RAW files in your DSLR.
Download the image to your computer. (I use a Mac, FYI).
Open the RAW file in Aperture. In Aperture, adjust the exposure to 1.00 and export the file to your desktop. Next, adjust another version to -1.00 and export that file to your desktop.
From here, I use Photomatix Pro and load the 3 bracketed image files. Select the +1, -1 and original exposures into Photomatix Pro. When you start messing around with this software you’ll find that you can do images that are way over the top, or quite subtle in processing. It’s your art, so I say do what you like. When you’re done messing with the pre-set options, as well as the manual adjustments, you simply process the HDR and save it to your desktop. It’s that easy.
And a lightly processed HDR file of the 3 above files run through Photomatix Pro:
By no means am I a pro at HDR, or even photography. I do enjoy the seemingly limitless possibilities to mess around with Digital Photography. If you have a process that is different, or some constructive criticisms, I’d be happy to hear them. Worth noting here is that in order to create an HDR of this image, I had to use the above process vs. bracketing in AEB on my Canon. Moving objects don’t stay put too well for 3 identical exposures
Oh, by the way, there’s an APP for this. (as if you didn’t know that already!)
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Northern Initiatives to help with a Pure Michigan visit. Travel writers from across the U.S. were coming to the Upper Peninsula to experience winter. Real winter.
The interest and their requested destination peaked my interest immediately. They wanted to visit Grand Island.
If you’ve been to or through Munising in the summer months you’ve likely looked out over Grand Island possibly unaware that a 13,000 acre adventure playground is at your fingertips.
Winter presents a handful of challenges. Challenge #1: Let’s make sure that ice is stable, eh!?! Challenge #2: Let’s not run into issues on our sleds out on Grand Island. Challenge #3: Let’s not run into issues on our sleds trying to figure out if the ice is stable… eh!?!?
You get the idea.
Two weeks prior to their visit I shot over to the Island with Kristian, Co-Founder of U.P. Overland. We made a counter-clockwise loop of the island, scouting the best ice and snow drift formations for the Travel Writers to see. The Grand Island cliffs offer ridiculous Ice Curtain experiences. 100+ feet of ice, often more with shelf ice. The Michigan Ice Fest was in town the first weekend of February and I was happy that some of the more adventurous climbers were able to bury their axes in Grand Island ice.
The island was phenomenal on our first scouting run. Kristian, whether he’ll admit it or not, loves to snowmobile.
Last week, my brother came into town and I twisted his arm convincing him to play a support role for me to scout the island again. Running the outer rim of the island is actually a pretty quick task, I can knock it out in about an hour. My mileage the first scout was right at 26 miles, but that including some dinking around. When we set out last week my goal was to survey the drifts along the West Rim Trail, as well as figure out if we could get close to the shelf ice in Trout Bay.
The crossing from Grand Island Landing has been perfect for a few weeks. The trails were lightly traveled and powder filled two tracks from long forgotten logging jobs are all over the island. We made quick work of getting to the West Rim of Trout Bay.
I knew if we had a great day of weather, the Pure Michigan guys would love the overlook over Trout Bay. Leaving it up to Mother Nature, we shot north, toward the North Light.
The North Light on Grand Island is an interesting conundrum. It’s posted private. I respect the property, but it’s ridiculously awesome and impossible to avoid. To that end, I can only hope that the owner understands this. Truthfully, I check the North Light each time to see if it’s been messed with. I wouldn’t hesitate to report anything fishy to the USFS. Unfortunately, year after year, more people head out to the North Light on their sleds. I’m concerned that eventually access will be physically blocked.
The North Shore is rugged. Battered, sand blown drifts, bare ground shy of snow due to unrelenting wind. The landscape never fails to remind me that I don’t ever want to be out there unprepared.
At the furthest Northern shoreline, ice curtains often go the season untouched. I can imagine that many an ice climber would love the opportunity to rope in and climb back up this ice. I’d shuttle service out, just for the chance to photograph the fun.
From the North Shore, we make our way to the West Rim Trail. The North and West shore trails are awesome fun on sleds. The winds delivers impressive snow drifts, not to be taken lightly considering the proximity to an average 200 foot drop to Lake Superior!
There are no words to describe the West Rim Trail. You just have to get out there and see it for yourself.
The trip winds down the further south on the West Rim Trail you go. There are so many other areas of Grand Island to explore it is impossible to mention everything in this blog post. Echo Lake, in the center of Grand Island, is missing from many early maps of the island. Echo Lake offers some of the most remote and amazing fishing in the U.P. Touted as the ‘largest beaver created lake’, it is a must see.
Let’s not forget about the Pure Michigan guys. Dave Lorenz and Steve Cook met up with Kevin Cotey and myself at the Grand Island Landing at 9am on the 10th of February. Bill Ramsey, owner of Munising Snowmobile Rentals, had donated two sleds for the day for Dave and Steve to use. Kevin and I used our own personal sleds.
Steve hadn’t snowmobiled much. I offered simple advice; the sleds are engineered for this terrain, you’re just there for throttle control.
The Pure Michigan tour was awesome. We had a cold morning, but amazing weather, clear skies, bright sun and smooth trails. We stopped at Mather Beach to let Dave and Steve truly experience the rugged winter shoreline of Grand Island.
At Trout Bay, we stopped to enjoy the silence, the sun rising and the glass flat waters of Lake Superior. Typically, the bay freezes thick enough for a couple weeks worth of ice fishing. That isn’t likely this year.
I really enjoyed meeting Dave and Steve and showing them Grand Island by snowmobile. After our ride we met some of the other travel writers at the Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore, where a great lunch was sponsored by the owners Jeff and Nancy Dwyer. We had good discussion with Dick Anderson of the USFS and Gregg Bruff of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
The feedback from the Pure Michigan experience in the U.P. was remarkable and we feel lucky to have been a part of it.
We’ll be sure to share links to articles and blogs as they become available.
Be sure to check out Interactive Discussion Forums to learn more about other adventure opportunities in the U.P.
You can learn more about Pure Michigan on the Pure Michigan Website, and Pure Michigan Blog.
If you live here, you’re lucky. Now Get Out!!
U.P. Overland has teamed up with U.P. AutoTech and the Alger County Chamber of Commerce executive director Char Carberry to help the $30K in 30 days fund raising effort. This effort is needed to raise the match funds toward a grant that Munising was awarded for the initial phase of a comprehensive bike path in the community.
As silent sports enthusiasts we are delighted that Munising is pushing cycling throughout their community. This is a major step toward improving the trail network and perception of cycling’s impact on local economies in the Central Upper Peninsula.
You can help us! Please consider any donation amount to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be building out a Wall of Fame listing supporters of this fund raising effort.
Thanks for considering
Most within the overland community are familiar with Tread Lightly. Now that Upper Peninsula Overland has joined Tread Lightly, it will become a stronger focus to improve communication between regions within the U.P. and work hard to improve our trail network. A lot of good things can come from this, and we are hopeful that the team at Tread Lightly is ready to embrace a solid midwest partnership. Look for U.P. Overland, as a newly formed non-profit, to collaborate with local governments and push Tread Lightly principles to improve public perception of Adventure Tourism!
We’re working on some monumental efforts for adventure travel in the U.P. Nothing happens overnight, but UPO2010 is a good start!
2,252 Miles. If you we go straight through on the Interstate. We, my friends, are taking the road less traveled.
This is a “heads up” post to the “Official Expo Adventure” Blog we will be updating in a few weeks. Our trip starts in Marquette, MI and leads us first to Evergreen, CO where we will be transferring from Krisitan’s Tundra to the Expo ready Land Rover and then head out to Amado, AZ for the Overland Expo April 16th-18th. We’re helping out the Overland Journal team at the event, and raising awareness for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to gain recognition as a Destination Location for Adventure Tourism. We are currently working hard to secure some sponsorship to offset trip costs (+/- $4000) and have had some positive reception. We aren’t making money doing this, we are working hard to improve a sustainable tourism trend for the U.P: Adventure Tourism.
If you’re willing to consider sponsorship we certainly could use the support. Please Contact Us. You will be recognized as a sponsor on our Website, in our forums, during UPO2010, and in our blog that will track our adventure daily. We will be connected during our trip to the web, with photo / video documentation and written accounts of our experience. You can Paypal a sponsorship on our Expo Page.
(Marquette to Evergreen Rig)
The Direct Google Maps Route:
Our “Official Expo Trip” Blog will start just a few days before our April 8th departure from the U.P.
The Munising Winterfest is just around the corner, with events kicking off on Thursday at the Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore. For more information on the event, check out the Munising Winterfest Website, their Facebook Fan Page, or call 906.387.2138.
Upper Peninsula Overland will be leading a Frozen Waterfall Tour on Saturday morning, with plans to venture in to Memorial (Twin) Falls and hoping for time to hike over to Tannery Falls. We’re not sure what to expect for group turn out, what age or ability, so keeping the tour close to town and simple to hike makes sense. If we are met by a group interested in more challenges, perhaps a hike through the Ice Curtains used two weeks ago for the Michigan Winterfest Ice Climbing could be in order. If only we could get over to Grand Island and see those ice curtains !!
The Cardboard Sled races have over 40 confirmed entries, which is great! U.P. Overland will be helping out with some of the on-site coordination along with several other community volunteers. Pat Gariepy, owner of the Munising Motel, has done an incredible job working with the Alger County Chamber of Commerce and the community to organize this event. Good job Pat! 9zero6 worked with Chamber Staff to create their Facebook Fan Page, which will hopefully help to get some feet on the streets. Explore Munising is also working the web, promoting this and other events for the community.
Another blog will be up after the event thanking sponsors, volunteers and to share photos and videos. Be sure to check our U.P. Overland Forums, as that will be the main area being updated on our end.
Upper Michigan got treated to some extra special snow accumulation last week. A quick investigative ride on the sleds had us plowing through almost 2 feet of snow on the back trails. Great riding for the Crossfire…and fun to watch the F6 get squirrelly. (squirrelly is a funny looking word)
Two days later we ran out toward Powell Lake to visit friends who needed a hand moving furniture, then we headed further south to Doe Lake Road to another friends place where we were greeted with some good food and a much needed “warm up”. It was hovering right at Zero Degrees when we left to head back home. Back home through nothing but powder and smooth as glass Groomed Trails.
The trailers are starting to line up at the local motels, the sleds are out in increasing numbers every day. In fact, on our longer ride south and just after passing a groomer, we were met by three sleds who, unfortunately, had nobody’s safety in mind: not even their own.
So on that note, a reminder: bad things happen real fast. We will inevitably be met with a dozen or so “bad news” stories this year as we are every year so please be careful. And if you’re planning a trip to Upper Michigan to ride, tell us about your experience in our Snowmobile Central section of the Upper Peninsula Overland Forum.
Hello World!!! Upper Peninsula Overland has finally reached a “comfy” point with their website….so much so that we’re starting to share the URL to the public. Please take a minute to check out http://upoverland.org/index.php and tell us what you think.
We’ve certainly got a lot of work ahead of us, but it sure does feel good to get to this point.
Check back soon, we’re going to be constantly updating!
Enjoy Winter in Upper Michigan, and be sure to share your outdoor adventure with us on our FORUM.
Snowmobiling Videos and Tips will be coming soon!
On a recent Thanksgiving road trip to Northern Wisconsin we were met with an adrenaline surging, heart rate rocketing situation not once, but twice in three days. What could it be that gets the adrenaline peaked out at maximum and ones heart rate reaching rare levels?
Being run off the road by other drivers not paying attention. Not once, but yes, twice. The first time was at close to 60mph and run straight into the ditch. Luckily MDOT had it right, with nice wide shoulders and a slow graded slope. Came to a stop, realized the driver had done this intentionally and called the cops after considering he was likely drunk and driving all over the road.
Second was just as profound, with an elderly woman driving what appeared to be a child in her car. She starting swerving back and forth on the road forcing us into the right of way ( a much narrower back road right of way ) passing as she laughed with her younger passenger. A very confusing situation because they appeared to not only be oblivious to our presence, but they were having a darn good time dancing on the road in their 3000 pound toy.
Be safe out there folks. As much as we prepare for safety when it comes to hunting, snowmobiling, riding motorcycles or traveling off road through challenging terrain, nothing is as surprising as the unexpected fool on a regular drive you’ve done a thousand times.
Pay attention…or pay the price.
So we’ve racked up, what, close to 2,000 miles of backroad travel (counting our scouting miles) over the last two years alone.
Having grown up in the central U.P. and snowmobiling every inch of trail in our tri-county area there is now a growing desire to take the snowmobiling to a U.P. wide level. Utilizing our U.P. network it appears we’re going to be able to dial in a killer snowmobiling run across Upper Michigan, focusing on the UPO2008 and UPO2009 GPS Tracks.
If you’re interested (if you’re a snowmobiling addict and you’re NOT interested…we’re worried about you) head over to the Upper Peninsula Overland Snowmobile Forum where we’ve just started talking about this “idea”. And give us yours.
Start the snow dance folks. Whistler Blackcomb is open, Kristian’s skiing in CO…it’s our turn!
Oh, and p.s. Go Cat.
It’s no secret that we Yoopers can go places in winter by sled that we wouldn’t dare travel any other time of year. The U.P. Overland hope is to not only tie in some much enjoyed snowmobiling but to also focus on the regions and connections we’re wanting to see during the UPO2010 Trip. Sure there are some basic challenges with doing this on snowmobiles regarding logistics to make it a functional and fruitful exercise. The reality also is that we will be seeing places we can ONLY see in winter, so we invite anyone interested in tagging along to drop in to our forum:
Upper Peninsula Overland Forum Get registered and head to the Snowmobile forum to start building up some discussion on where we should go and what we should do / see.
Let It Snow!
Ok, so we all know that the Upper Michigan grouse season takes a (wise) break during rifle season. That means just a couple of weeks to get out and try your luck as the leaves lay low and the sight lines improve. What’s worked best in the past this time of year for me is to find a hardwood line on a wetland perimeter and walk the daylight out of it! That hardwood treeline should be opened up with the sappling & underbrush leaves being almost gone.
If all else fails shoot us a message in our Fishing & Hunting forum and I’ll let you know where the Russian Olives are
Safety first, and good luck!
-Tom / U.P. Overland
Well, we’ve had a good run of Fall Color Picture taking. Good waterfall shots, mist on the lakes and rain rain rain.
The fall color season is all but dead with the leaves taking on their “we’ve been frosted too many times” shade of brownish-whatever-color-they-were-originally color. (make sense?) Basically, they’re not pretty anymore and it’s time for SNOW!
We’d like to take a moment to thank all the photographers that took their time to come to The U.P. and capture memories.
Scott Mitchell and the Midwest Photographers Enthusiast Group met up at The Falling Rock Cafe’ in Munising and had a good weekend of shooting. We hope their group can continue to grow and trust that Scott, with his lifelong U.P. roots, will continue to show them the good stuff.
To close out the fall season, here are a few pictures from The U.P. Overland 2010 Scouting run.
See you in the snow!
Overlooked Falls on our way through the Porcupine Mountains:
Indian Head Ski-Lift is ready for Winter
You can see more Fall Color Pictures from around Upper Michigan on the Upper Peninsula Overland Forums:
Click here to see The Fall Color Thread
With much thanks to Greta Berg @ Company B Graphics of Marquette, we are proud to announce the final version of the U.P. Overland Logo and it’s variations. Greta has done great work for us time and time again and this time we are as impressed as ever. We really do like the logo, feel it represents our approach to the great U.P. Outdoors.
Of course, not everyone will agree and we understand that. Soon however, stickers, T’s, hoodies and hats will be available to show your U.P. Adventure Pride.
After several weeks of work & promotion to previous U.P. Overland trips members from 2008 & 2009, the Upper Peninsula Overland forums are now live. Go to http://www.upoverland.org/forum to view as a guest or preferably, register and contribute!
Our membership is built upon the enthusiasts we’ve become friends with during the U.P. Overland trips from the previous two years.
The forums span topics such as Overland Adventure in the U.P. on through to fishing, hunting, photography and more.
Look for the U.P. Overland website to launch soon!