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Hike, events celebrate Trap Hills

 

Submitted photo

Hikers take in the view at Hacking Site Bluff in the Trap Hills near Bergland on Aug. 18. The hike was sponsored by the The Trap Hills Conservation Alliance and Save the Wild U.P.

BERGLAND — The Trap Hills Conservation Alliance and Save the Wild U.P. hosted a day of events celebrating the Trap Hills, a rustic, scenic area along the North Country Trail between Old Victoria and M-64 north of Bergland, on Aug. 18.

Participants from across the western U.P. and as far as Duluth, Minn ., gathered at Bergland Township Park.

Participants enjoyed guided hikes on the North Country Trail and the Cascade Falls Trail north of Bergland. Wisconsin folk singer Skip Jones played tunes inspired by nature and labor history as hikers enjoyed a free picnic lunch from local businesses.

Organizers hope the Trap Hills will be designated a federal National Recreation Area.

“The Trap Hills are indeed a blessing to behold,” Margaret Comfort, president of Save the Wild U.P ., said. “We are proud to host this free day of events in conjunction with the Trap Hills Conservation Alliance, as we seek to educate the public and introduce them to the splendor of this truly magical place.”

Botanist Steve Garske and geologist and retired Ottawa National Forest wilderness ranger Doug Welker led hikes that featured 40-mile views from the edge of a rock bluff, a trip to Cascade Falls, and a vista atop a 350-foot sheer cliff.

Welker called the Trap Hills “the most spectacular and fascinating of Michigan’s largely-undiscovered secrets.”

The area includes much to see for visitors, according to Welker, including high rock bluffs, remote and pristine areas, wild and scenic rivers, 50 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail, numerous other trails including the Pioneer Multi-use Motorized Trail, and a long history of copper mining (interpreted at Old Victoria and in area museums).

“It’s hard to find such a concentration of special places and recreational opportunities anywhere,” Welker said. “That’s why some of us are working to get the Trap Hills designated as a federal National Recreation Area, to protect special areas, increase and promote recreational opportunities, and bring more recreation-related dollars into the local economy. Done right, it could be a win-win opportunity for the variety of diverse groups who would have a stake in both developing and protecting this area.”

Garske, a board member of Save the Wild U.P ., said, “A Trap Hills National Recreation Area would help protect the beautiful western U.P. and contribute to a sustainable economy for the region as well.”

SWUP Executive Director Alexandra Thebert agreed. “Many people who live just a few minutes away have never known about the Trap Hills. We’re dedicated to protecting the Trap Hills for future generations.”

Save the Wild U.P. is working to preserve the U.P.’s cultural and environmental resources. Visit SavetheWildUP.org for more information.

Doug Welker can be reached at dwelker@up.net for more information on the North Country Trail or the National Recreation Area proposal.