Trust Fund approves Hunter's Point purchase
COPPER HARBOR -- Trustees for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund
recently placed on their final recommendation list of projects a $560,000 grant application to purchase Copper Harbor's Hunter's Point.
The Trust Fund's decision caps a two-year effort by Grant Township, which includes the Upper Peninsula villages of Copper Harbor and Lac
La Belle, to purchase a picturesque section of Copper Harbor's Lake Superior shoreline in order to protect it from development.
|View of Hunter's Point from Brockway Mountain, above
Copper Harbor. (Photo © 2004 and courtesy Jim Junttila. Reprinted with permission.)
Hunter's Point is a narrow finger of land that protects Copper Harbor from the storms of Lake Superior. The Point has long been a destination
for visitors to Copper Harbor -- Michigan's most northern village with just 80 year-round
residents -- and it is noted for its interesting rock formations, a variety of plants and wildflowers and migratory birds.
Hunter's Point has been threatened by the development of a subdivision that would restrict access to this popular hiking spot. The purchase includes 9.4 acres and 4,800 feet of shoreline on Lake Superior and the interior shores of Copper Harbor.
"Christmas has come early to Copper Harbor this year," said Richard Powers, Grant Township
supervisor. "This is very exciting news, and on behalf of the residents of Copper Harbor I would like to thank the trustees for their support."
The trustees' decision is the first step in acquiring the Hunter's Point property. The Michigan Legislature must pass enabling legislation before the purchase can be completed, which could be as soon as mid-2005. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant requires a local match, and Grant Township needed to raise $195,000 to qualify for the grant.
In July of 2003, Grant Township, with the support of the Copper Harbor Improvement Association, began their drive to raise the $195,000 and increase public awareness of the threat to public access to Hunter's Point.*
Rich Jamsen, Hunter's Point Fund-Raising Committee member, noted the local
match is just $10,000 short of that goal.
"This culminates two years of hard work toward this goal by our entire
community and our visitors who collectively have made our effort to save this
beautiful place forever a success," Jamsen said. "Our community can use this as an example of how well we can work
together to attain a common goal."
By the end of November 2004, the community raised $185,000, including over 960 donations from individuals,
trusts and businesses in 33 states. Over 7,000 petition signatures have been collected and hundreds of letters and emails have been received supporting the purchase.
Fundraising efforts have included garage sales, a lemonade stand, a community dinner and sporting events. This summer a 15-year-old Copper Harbor resident, Jenn Stigers, staged a
five-day, 120-hour, sit-in using a large chair in front of her parents' Copper Harbor restaurant and raised over $7,000. Anonymous donors have donated $70,000, and the Izaak Walton League Endowment Fund donated $10,000.
Powers described the response to the request for public support as "overwhelming."
"We have more than 300,000 visitors to the Copper Harbor area each year. Many families have been coming back for years and have developed a strong attachment to the area. Without their support we would not be able to complete the purchase of Hunter's Point," he said.
The land purchase was supported by editorials in the Lansing State
Journal and The Detroit Free Press. The Free Press described the effort by Grant Township to purchase Hunter's Point as "premier Michigan do-it-yourselfism, with generations yet to come as the ultimate beneficiaries."
Tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Grant Township Hunter's Point Project, P.O. Box 76, Copper Harbor, MI 49918.
Information about the Hunter's Point Project may be found by emailing email@example.com
or by visiting the Hunter's Point Web
site, which includes photos, maps and a virtual hike on Hunters Point, as well as
naturalist's description of the area.
*Editor's Note: The subdivision development received approval when the Grant Township Utility Board, with the permission of the Township Board, agreed to let the developers hook up to the Copper Harbor sewer system.
See the Nov. 2, 2003, article, "Grant Township seeks to acquire Hunters Point."
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