Monday, January 4, 2010

Copper Harbor News about Hunter's Point!

Just a wonderful pristine area is now saved for future generations of tourists:

GRANT TOWNSHIP - A long-anticipated land purchase two years in the making in Grant Township has become a reality.

In 2007, the Grant Township Board authorized the submission of a grant application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for assistance in purchasing property adjacent to Hunter's Point Park in the tip of the Keweenaw, said Richard Powers, deputy supervisor of Grant Township and chairman of the Hunter's Point Committee.

In phases, about 45.4 acres were purchased, which extend from the western border of Hunter's Point Park west to North Coast Shore Road, and also from Lake Superior to M-26.

"There's a traditional trail from the marina to Hunter's Point," he said. "A lot of our visitors up here like to go see Hunter's Point."

The purchase also encompasses 76 acres on the north side of Brockway Mountain south of the Copper Harbor Marina and Hunter's Point extending from M-26 south to the Michigan Nature Association's James Dorian Rooks Memorial Nature Preserve, Powers said.

"We looked for some way to get (the land) so that the traditional trail to the marina to the Hunter's Point Park would be maintained," he said.

The township used a $1.1 million grant from the MNRTF to purchase the 121.4-acre addition of land to the 9.4 acres that make up Hunter's Point Park in Copper Harbor. Hunter's Point Park was purchased in 2005 with the assistance of another grant through the trust fund.

"This particular grant was a phase grant," he said. "We put the grant request in ... in 2006 ... and half of it was approved in 2007 and half of it was approved in 2008, and the purchase was made in 2009."

The purchase will assure public access to Hunter's Point over traditional trails that have been threatened by development, he said. The addition of the land will also permit the Copper Harbor mountain bike trail system to be extended over Brockway Mountain to Lake Superior.

"Hunter's Point has long been a destination for visitors to Copper Harbor and keeping access to Hunter's Point available to the public is important to the local tourist industry," he said. "Its flowers and fauna, geological formations and location of the annual bird migrations offers visitors a wide variety of natural features to enjoy."

This acquisition includes 655 feet of Lake Superior shoreline, Powers said, making a total of more than 4,000 feet of shoreline the park has on Lake Superior and Copper Harbor Bay.

"The north shore of Hunter's Point is very weather-beaten," he said. "As you go further inland, there's conglomerate rock."

In certain areas, there is very little vegetation and some pockets of cedar and swamp conifers dot areas to the west end.

"There's a lot of things in there we want to explore and see what we've got," Powers said. "We have to maintain it and make it so the public gets the benefit out of it."

Going into the new year, the Grant Township Board expects to develop a use plan for the land, which appears to be 95 percent forested with white birch, northern hardwoods, pine and balsam fir and 5 percent open, non-forest land cleared for sewer, utilities and roadways, he said.

Right now, plans to build boardwalks are in the making to allow, yet minimize, the public access to keep the land as natural and unharmed as possible.

Democratic Representative Mike Lahti of Hancock assisted in obtaining the grant and Century 21 North Agency of Houghton managed the details of the sale, he said. Grant writing assistance was provided by Bill Olsen of U.P. Engineers and Architects.

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