Archived Story

Fernwood leads eco-tour

Published 6:11pm Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Niles will be hosting its fourth eco-tour to Isle Royale National Park, Aug. 26–31. The trip will be led by Fernwood staff person Jan Ferris, who has been visiting the park for the past 27 years.
Isle Royale is an island national park located in Lake Superior, 45 miles from Copper Harbor and 70 miles from Houghton, Mich. Although it is only 14 miles from Canada, the island is in Michigan waters.
Isle Royale is actually an archipelago of more than 400 islands, with the main island being 45 miles long and nine miles wide.
No motorized or wheeled vehicles are allowed on the island, so the only way to get around is by foot via 165 miles of trails, and by boat, canoe, or kayak over surrounding Lake Superior waters and inland waterways.
The island is 98 percent wilderness and has been  named an International Biosphere Reserve in 1981, due in part to the importance of the ongoing predator/prey relationship study of the wolf and moose on the island. The study is in its 54th year, is the longest-running predator/prey relationship study of any kind in the world.
Participants on Fernwood’s tour will meet at Copper Harbor on Aug. 26 and ferry across Lake Superior to the island on Aug. 27.
The tour will be based at the Rock Harbor Lodge and will include four nights lodging and all meals in the Lodge Dining Room.
Sightseeing boat tours will be arranged to Raspberry Island, home to a unique bog, with a sunset cruise to Blake Point; tour of Passage Island, home of Passage Island Lighthouse, one of four lighthouses at Isle Royale; and visit to the Edisen Fishery and Bagsund Cabin, to meet the biologists who study the moose and wolves of the island.
The group also will canoe to Hidden Lake and hike up to Lookout Louise for views of Canada. Other hikes include the loop trail to Suzy’s Cave, formed when Isle Royale was under water, walk to Scoville Point on the Stoll Trail, and other day hikes. Trails are rocky and considered somewhat strenuous, with five miles being an average hike. The trip will conclude with the ferry back to Copper Harbor on the afternoon of Aug. 31.
Isle Royale is a typical northern forest of spruce, fir, cedar, birch, maple and mountain ash.
Terrain varies from high ridges of smooth rock to low cedar swamps and bogs. Rocks and trees on the island are host to 612 species of lichens.
Call Jan Ferris at 695-6491.

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