August 2004 Happenings
March to oppose sulfide mining on Yellow Dog Plains Aug. 14
BIG BAY -- A March for the Yellow Dog Plains will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday,
Aug.14, on the Plains. Sponsored by concerned citizens in Big Bay and Baraga, this walk is a peaceful demonstration of citizen solidarity in opposition to sulfide mining on the Yellow Dog Plains. Citizens will gather on each side of the plains on the Triple A road and walk together towards the intended Kennecott mine site on the AAA.
Kennecott Mineral Explorations discovered a small but valuable mineral deposit
(mainly nickel and copper) on the Plains right above the headwaters of the Salmon Trout
River in northwest Marquette County. Kennecott is now considering potential
development of an underground sulfide mining project that could affect both the
Salmon-Trout River, which provides a spawning and nursery ground for the rare
native Coaster Brook Trout of Lake Superior's southern shore, and the
Yellow Dog River and watershed.
| View of the Salmon Trout River. Kennecott Mineral Explorations has discovered a small but valuable mineral deposit
(mainly nickel and copper) on the Yellow Dog Plains above the river's headwaters. (Photo ©
2004 and courtesy Eagle Alliance. Reprinted with permission.)
Those wishing to participate in the five-mile march should meet at the top of Camp 6 Hill or Anderson’s Corner
-- both on the AAA Road. Signs will be posted from both sides as folks from Big Bay and Marquette area access CR 510/AAA from CR 550 and folks from Baraga, L'Anse and Houghton access the plains from the Skanee
“This walk will draw two communities of interest together to express their opposition to a major industrial venture that will fundamentally change our area forever,” march organizer Cynthia Pryor said.
Participants should meet and park at their start location at 9 a.m. The walk should take two hours from each location to
the Mine Site: 4.4 miles from Anderson's Corner to the Mine Site or 4.9 miles from Camp 6 Hill to
the Mine Site.
People may drive to the site or walk only portions of the March. See below
The walk will be one way with transportation back to start points. There will be check drivers along the way with water, first aid and walker pick-up
Participants are asked to make a personal statement of support and meet and greet the marchers from the other side of the Plains. There will be an event at
1 p.m. near the mine site on the AAA road as the two groups meet. Citizens are encouraged to participate whether walking or driving to the proposed mine site.
“We want to make a statement to the State of Michigan and the mining company that there are some places where sulfide mining is not appropriate,” Pryor said.
All activities will take place on public property.
“It is so important that communities are allowed to participate in the decision-making process of matters that affect their livelihoods, their lands, their waters and their very quality of life,” Pryor said. “Man must take a voice to protect those things that cannot speak for themselves. If you cannot walk, talk. If you cannot talk, write. If you cannot write, pray. It starts from a drop, becomes a stream, then a river and then a flood. Please participate and stand up for your land.”
Volunteers are needed for first aid stations, picking up folks and distributing water. For details, call Pryor at the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve at 345-9223.
“Prospect Eagle” is the name Kennecott Corporation (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto, a corporation based out of London, England) gave to the mineral exploration it has been doing since 1994 in northwest Marquette County.
According to the Eagle Alliance,
a group formed by the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve and the National Wildlife Federation in response to
Kennecott's sulfide mining exploration, Kennecott owns the mineral rights to 245,000 acres in Marquette County, has leased 5,500 acres of public lands and 4,000 acres of mineral rights on private
lands -- twenty-six percent of all of Marquette County’s mineral rights. In addition, they have mineral rights to 217,000 acres in Baraga County.
Kennecott claims to be looking for nickel/copper/gold/zinc and other base
minerals on the Yellow Dog Plains. The ore in question is called Yellow Dog
According to the June 2004 update
on the Kennecott Minerals Web site,
the "Eagle Project" was moved on April 1, 2004, from an exploration
project into a potential development project. This update gives information on
Kennecott's environmental and pre-feasibility studies, as well as a diagram
illustrating what a cross section of what an underground mine in this area might
* Directions to Anderson's Corner from Baraga/L'Anse side:
- Baraga Coordinator: Don Carlson 906 353-7510.
- U.S. 41 to L'Anse - take exit to downtown L'Anse.
- From downtown L'Anse head east on Skanee Rd.
- Approximately 18 miles from L'Anse - Stop Sign
- Turn right on Big Bay Road - over Big Eric's Bridge (Dirt Road)
- Follow Big Bay Road (via Ford Rd) to Anderson's Corner on Triple AAA -
Approximately 10 miles.
* Directions to Camp 6 Hill from Marquette/ Big Bay:
- Big Bay Coordinator: Cynthia Pryor 906-360-2414 or 345-9223.
- County Road 550 to County Road 510 - Dirt (one mile south of Big Bay). Big Bay is 25 miles north of Marquette.
- West on CR 510 three miles to Triple AAA - Turn west.
- Stay left on AAA up the Camp 6 Hill - Approximately five miles from 510.
Editor's Notes: See the March 15, 2004, article on the Eagle Alliance
presentation in Hancock, UPEC, Eagle Alliance to hold public forums on
U.P. sulfide mining plans.
For more information visit the Eagle
Alliance Web site (with a link to their newsletter) and Kennecott
See also "A Troubling New Mining Era Dawning in the Upper Peninsula,"
by Jon Saari, Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition and Eagle Alliance, published in the Michigan Environmental Council's Report, Vol.
22, No. 1, Feb. 2004.
The Lake Superior Community Project announced in June 2004 that it will work
with Kennecott to gather information that will allow residents to assess the
community impact of a proposed mining operation in Marquette County. Read
the article on the Kennecott Web site.
The Detroit News published an editorial on July 4, 2004, supporting
the Kennecott mining project. Read
the editorial as published on the Kennecott Web site.