The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

ICORE members open path around Iron County lake


October 23, 2017

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

VOLUNTEERS WORK to clean up the path surrounding Mercer's Lipp Lake Saturday. Diane O'Krongly was on pick-up patrol and Dean Gustafson, handled a chainsaw.


Mercer - At this time of year, the path leading to Iron County's Lipp Lake has every shade of autumn, along with what seem like hundreds of white pines, many soaring over 100 feet.

Fallen and falling leaves soften the trail, which is also littered prettily with ferns and pinecones. The reassuring peace beckons you to the nowhere of nature - except on Saturday, when a chainsaw calls in the distance.

Along the way, freshly cut branches and twigs sit to the sides. On the right, a sweatshirt and loppers lie abandoned. On the left, a jacket hangs on a branch.

Around a bend, a small tree sinks down, and several cheerful souls scramble to pick up related fallout.

That was the scene of an organized effort by the Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts. ICORE members, whose mission is to promote silent sports and other outdoor activities within the county, realized the Lipp Lake path had been neglected for so long that trees and branches were obstructing passage.

So they decided to change that by collaborating on several hours of hard labor. Even intermittent showers did not faze these hearty folk.

"We're gonna get done," said Terry Daulton, as she tossed branches to and fro. She was among eight vehicle loads of people who showed up ready to charge.

Even the Hagemann family's dog, had a role as forest dancer and good-mood guarantor.

Diane O'Krongly, a science teacher at Hurley High School, organized the day's activities, but was quick to credit all other participants.

They included Martha Pierpont of Mercer, ICORE president; and Teresa Schmidt, director of the Mercer Public Library, who did "a lot" of promotion for the event.

As Daulton explained, the aim was to make the non-motorized trail welcome for hiking, bird watching, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and (per season) hunting.

Lipp Lake - around which the trail bends - lies in demure obscurity, tucked away as though it were a sweet secret only to a pair of eagles on a nearby penthouse branch.

The lake, which is less than one acre, with a maximum depth of only three feet, sits hidden within the wooded shore of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. The flowage is nearly 13,000 acres with a maximum depth of 50 feet.

The waters are filled with fish such as musky, bass, pike, walleye, sturgeon, and bass. The trees are home to crows, ravens, crossbills, grosbeaks, ruffed grouse, bats, and pileated woodpeckers. Other footed critters, such as red squirrels, rule the forest ground.

Lipp Lake represents Site No. 14 on the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area Auto Tour. It sits next to Popko Circle West near County FF., and has been designated as a State Natural Area, meaning that no future harvest is planned.

Many of Saturday's participants have interests that relate to the general region:

Daulton, who lives on the flowage, is a biologist and landscape painter.

John Bates, of Manitowish, is a naturalist and popular local speaker whose several books include "Graced By the Seasons: Spring and Summer in the Northwoods."

Bob Traczyk of Hurley, is involved with FE University which was started by the Iron County Aging-Friendly Communities Coalition, as a way to keep older adults active and engaged.

Mike Shouldice, of Mercer, is the president of MECCA, which is responsible for maintaining about 23 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails in Iron County.

Saturday's work was done with the permission of the Department of Natural Resources.

ICORE was established in 2015 and is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018