The Last Hike of Autumn

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These are pictures from the last hike of Autumn.

The warm golden colors of the sunset were a fitting end to the Autumn hiking season.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV).

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The pictures were taken at Governor Thompson State Park near the Peshtigo River in Wisconsin.

May God bless you.

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Feeling Small

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One of the benefits of getting outdoors is the experience of feeling small.  It is humbling to experience things that are larger than we are.

For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:

“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

— Isaiah 57:15 NIV1984.

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The grand places make us feel small because we are small.  In the picture above, one can see large birds circling over the rock formation.

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All the pictures in this post are from Devils Tower, Wyoming.

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If you look at the topmost picture in this post, you should see a climber on Devils Tower just under center in the picture.  (Click on any picture to find higher resolutions).

May God bless you with a humble heart and an awareness of His greatness.

A Bird in the Mountains

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While hiking through the mountains, I came across this bird.

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According to my research, this is a “Steller’s Jay.”

“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air.  He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”

— Genesis 2:19, NIV1984.

I don’t really know this Steller’s Jay; he stopped for a picture, but that was the extent of it.  However, God knows every creature.  He says, “every animal of the forest is mine … I know every bird in the mountains.”  (Psalm 50:10-11, NIV1984).

God knows every bird in the mountains.  Not one is forgotten by God.  And Jesus says we are worth more than many birds.  (Luke 12:6-7).

Potawatomi State Park Trees Cut 4

Potawatomi State Park is a magical park on the peninsula of Door County, Wisconsin.  The DNR has been cutting down large numbers of trees in the park’s most pristine natural area to build an RV group campground.

According to my estimate, they have cut down at least one thousand mature trees for this new campground.

However, there is an abandoned former campground/ski area on the other side of the park.  This area has weed covered roads and parking areas as well as refuse laying about, and could be reclaimed as a campground.  There are many tall trees, and it should be cleaned up and used, it is already quite scenic:

However, the DNR would rather cut down trees, many of which are 75 years old and older.  The DNR justifies this by saying they are just following the park’s master plan.  However, they are not following the master plan because these trees are being cut southeast of where the master plan says the group campground should go:

They are not following the master plan.

Furthermore, when the master plan was approved over 21 years ago (1987), the ski area was still in use.  However, the broken glass and the decay of the wooden ski lodge testify that this area has been abandoned for many years.  The master plan is out of date.

The DNR should halt construction on this new campground until the master plan can be updated so that there can be public input regarding this project.  The master plan for Potawatomi State Park will now be updated in the next 2 to 3 years.

If they continue with this new RV group campground before updating the master plan, there will be nothing left for the public to plan.  These trees belong to the people of Wisconsin, not the DNR.  The people should be consulted before they are cut, not after.

Finally, I believe that these trees are being cut so that the DNR could contract the lumber.  Selling lumber is profitable, picking up garbage is not:

Nonetheless, the purpose of our State Park System is to preserve these special places for future generations, not just to make short term profit for today’s DNR.

Update

The DNR’s latest “excuses” are that the old ski area gets too hot in the Summertime and doesn’t have access to trails or other park amenities.  However, there is a trail right at the top of the hill, one at the bottom of the hill that runs north, and another one that comes down the hill and goes right past the abandoned lodge.  Last year, the Door County Visitor Bureau produced a video of people mountain biking down that trail:

The tour guide in the video notes that the trails near the old ski area are especially “gorgeous,” and the biker in the video is riding the very trail that runs right past the abandoned ski lodge.

Nonetheless, the DNR says there is no access to trails.

Furthermore, the abandoned ski area has electrical lines, while the natural area where they are cutting trees does not.  The new RV group campground will not have electrical hook ups.  Therefore, the abandoned ski area would have more access to park amenities because it would have electricity.

Regarding the Summer heat, I remember there being many homes near the park boundary (Gitche Gumee Road), and Google Earth confirms that there are numerous homes across the road from the abandoned ski area.  Apparently, it’s not too hot to live there, but according to the DNR, it’s too hot to camp in an RV (with electrical hook ups).

This picture is a satellite overview from Google Earth.  Please note the private homes across the road from the old ski area and the land for sale around the park.

Moreover, Google Maps (terrain/topography view) and Google Earth both show that the ski area at the bottom of the hill is not low-lying.

Finally, the DNR says there is a “demonstrable need” for group camping.  But there is also a “demonstrable need” for outdoor public nature areas that do not smell of hot dogs, campfires, and outhouses.  There is also a “demonstrable need” for nature trails.  But this project is degrading the nature trails on the south end of the park into mere “campground trails.”

I believe the DNR located that campground there, not because they had to, but rather so that they could sell/contract the lumber.  Why else would they pick an area of the park where the trees were the tallest, thickest, and most beautiful?  What is the going rate for a 90 year old hardwood tree?

Links

Potawatomi State Park Trees Cut 3

Potawatomi State Park in Door County, Wisconsin is cutting down (according to my estimate based on the pictures I took) at least one thousand trees, many of which are 75 years old and older, in order to build a new RV group campground.

This is shameful for at least two reasons.  First, this particular natural area was especially beautiful.

Second, on the other side of the park there is an abandoned ski area and former group campground.  It currently has an overturned rotting picnic table, power poles laying in the grass, gravel roads and parking areas covered in weeds, a building with boarded up and broken windows, broken glass, rusted machinery, wires laying on the ground, and refuse strewn over approximately 20 acres.

The DNR could clean up and reclaim this abandoned area as a campground.  There are many tall trees there, and if the garbage was picked up, it would be quite scenic.  But rather than do that, the DNR is instead cutting down majestic trees in the park’s most pristine natural area.

How does the DNR justify this?  The DNR says they are following the park’s master plan.  However, there are at least two flaws with this argument.

First, when the master plan was approved over 21 years ago, the ski area was still being used for skiing.  However, the amounts of rust on the abandoned equipment, the broken glass, and the decay of the wooden structures all testify that this area has been abandoned for many years.  The master plan is hopelessly outdated.

Second, the trees are being cut east of where the master plan says the group campground should go, so they are not actually following the master plan.

Finally, it appears as though the DNR may not have gone through the public notice/public comment period required under the WEPA for a building project of this size.  This new group campground is being paid for with conservation and stewardship funds of over $300,000. (I received this information from the Door County Environmental Council).

The DNR should halt this campground until the master plan can be updated so that there can be public input and participation on the project.

The Former Campground/Ski Area:

This is an overall picture of the abandoned former campground/ski area inside Potawatomi State Park.  The trees behind and to the left of the lodge have areas cleared out for camping and/or parking.  The trees on the right and far left are also inside the park.  This picture was taken from the top of the former ski hill overlook.

This picture shows the condition of the lodge (the triangular shaped building in the first photo).  Notice the rotted wood and broken windows.

This is a picture of rusted machinery and boards partly up the side of the hill.  For additional pictures go to this Collection of Photos.

The Natural Area:

This is a picture of a stump from one of the trees that has been cut down for the new group campground.  I count 75 tree rings.  On a picture of another stump from the new campground, I counted 85-90 tree rings.  The picture at the top of this post is also from this same natural area.

Make Your Voice Heard:
Office of the Governor
Wisconsin State Legislature
Wisconsin DNR
Potawatomi State Park
Friends of Wisconsin State Parks
Wisconsin Natural Resources Board

Updated Posts:

Conservation Catagory