Upper Peninsula

12:00 am

UPDATE: The artifact recovered by Great Lakes Exploration Group was a block of wood a little more than a foot in length. It appeared to have been hewn on at least one side and was blackened evenly on all sides, almost like wood charred in a fire. Archeologists on the dive had little to say about the object. They will continue to focus their efforts around the beam of wood that was originally found protruding from the bottom of the lake.

6:00 pm

A doctor in Gaylord will perform a CAT scan this weekend on a 20-foot, waterlogged piece of wood. The procedure is being contracted by a group of underwater explorers hoping to uncover a famed 17th Century Great Lakes shipwreck.

Explorers are paying Otsego Memorial Hospital an undisclosed dollar amount for the procedure, which they hope will reveal enough tree rings in the timber to date it.

UPDATED 6/4/2013 with corrected length of legal dispute.

The State of Michigan has issued a permit for a major archeological dig in Lake Michigan. It could uncover the oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes.

Underwater explorers have been given the go-ahead to dig up bottomlands off the coast of the Garden Peninsula near Green Bay. They’re in search of the French fur trading ship Le Griffon, which went down in 1679.

A referendum on wolf hunting in Michigan will be on the November 2014 ballot, but the vote will not stop a wolf hunting season in the Upper Peninsula scheduled for this fall.

Petitions to let voters decide whether the law should remain on the books were certified Wednesday by a state elections panel. The “Keep Michigan Wolves Protected” ballot campaign says allowing the gray wolf to be hunted could return it to the endangered species list.

Michigan Officials Compliment Underwater Explorers

Apr 5, 2013

Steve Libert has been in court with the State of Michigan pretty steadily since the Engler administration. The disputes involved shipwrecks and who has the right to claim them on the bottom of Lake Michigan and the most recent litgation was closed last year. That’s why he was excited to be recognized by Governor Snyder in a signed tribute to his group, Great Lakes Exploration. All the lawmakers from Northern Michigan signed it too.

Wolf Hunt Opponents Say They Have Enough Signatures For A Statewide Vote

Mar 27, 2013

People fighting a proposed wolf hunt in Michigan delivered a quarter million petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office this morning. The petition calls for a statewide vote on the law authorizing the wolf hunt.

Jill Fritz, director of the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign, says she’s optimistic state officials will validate enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. If that happens, the vote would not be until November 2014, but any decision to approve a wolf hunt would be put on hold until after the vote.

Bad News for Isle Royale Wolves

Mar 26, 2013

A new report says the wolf population on Isle Royale is in dire straits. Researchers could find no evidence in their winter survey that any pups were born last year.

It’s the first time in 40 years that wolves failed to reproduce.

John Vucetich says the small population is so inbred that the remaining eight animals either won’t or can’t produce offspring.

An animal welfare group has the green light to start collecting signatures in its attempt to stop a new law opening Michigan to a wolf hunt. A state board Thursday approved petitions drafted by the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

The group’s attorney, Michael Hodge, says there’s no evidence that wolves are a problem in the Upper Peninsula.

“So it’s a hunting season for trophy hunters who want to kill an animal that just basically reappeared in the state of Michigan in recent years,” he says.

Larry McGahey / USFWS Headquarters/Flickr

A new ballot campaign seeks to overturn a state law that opens the door to a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. The campaign Keep Michigan Wolves Protected will appear before a state elections board Thursday to get its petition approved for circulation.

State wildlife officials in January will start considering whether to establish a wolf hunt in Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill last week that recognizes the gray wolf as a game species in the state.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission is set to explore the possibility of a hunt at their next meeting. But a final decision is likely to take several months.

“There will be a lot of opportunity for public comment, for consultation with tribal governments, and for all kinds of interaction before any decisions are made,” says DNR spokesperson Ed Golder.

Legislation that could allow a limited wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula cleared the state House during this last week of the lame duck session. The Legislature has adjourned for the year.

It’s now up to Governor Rick Snyder to sign the bill into law.

“This is an animal that just came off the endangered species list,” says state Representative Jeff Irwin. The Democrat from Ann Arbor voted against the change. “The (wolf) populations are not even healthy or even abundant, and I don’t think it’s the right time to talk about shooting wolves in northern Michigan.”

State Needs to Justify Wolf Hunt

Dec 4, 2012
Larry McGahey / USFWS Headquarters

The Michigan legislature is moving closer to allow a hunting season for gray wolves. There are around 700 wolves in the Upper Peninsula.

If the legislature makes the wolf a game species, then wildlife officials will still have to justify that a hunt is necessary. And that it won’t harm wolf recovery.

Must Meet State Goal
Under state law, there can’t be a recreational wolf hunt for any old reason. Wildlife officials would have to show that a hunt is warranted. And that it would meet the goal of reducing wolf-human conflicts.

UPDATE 11/29/2012: The state Senate has passed a bill that declares the gray wolf a game species in Michigan. Under the legislation, state wildlife officials could establish a wolf hunting season. The measure now goes to the state House.

The state Senate is expected to vote as soon as Thursday on legislation that would declare the gray wolf a game species in Michigan. That would allow state wildlife officials to create a wolf hunting season.

It’s estimated there are several hundred wolves in the Upper Peninsula. In some cases, wolves have been found where people live.

Search For The Wreck Of The Griffon Resumes

Oct 8, 2012

The search for the oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes resumed this month. The team that says it might have found the wreck, Great Lakes Exploration, is moving ahead after closing a legal dispute with the State of Michigan. They're trying to prove that what they've found in northern Lake Michigan could be a French ship that disappeared in 1679. And they're near the end of what they can do without digging into the bottom of the lake.

Lifetime search

Michigan lawmakers will consider opening a hunting season for gray wolves. A state representative from the Upper Peninsula introduced a bill last week.

Federal wildlife officials just removed the animals from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes area earlier this year, but the population has been way above the target set for recovery for most of the last decade.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs have been pushing to classify wolves as game animals, saying money from hunting licenses would help to better manage wolves.

Michigan lawmakers will consider opening a hunting season for gray wolves. A state representative from the Upper Peninsula introduced a bill last week.

Federal wildlife officials just removed the animals from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes area earlier this year, but the population has been way above the target set for recovery for most of the last decade.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs have been pushing to classify wolves as game animals, saying money from hunting licenses would help to better manage wolves.

Shipwreck Lawsuit Closed

Jul 20, 2012

A legal battle over what might be the most historic shipwreck in the Great Lakes is over, for now. That means further exploration of a site in Lake Michigan could pick up again.

About a decade ago, a shipwreck hunter working out of the Garden Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula found what he says might be the Griffin. The ship owned by French explorer Robert de La Salle disappeared in 1679, but a legal battle involving the State of Michigan and the French government ensued that has slowed attempts to identify whatever he found. 

Tribes Appeal To United Nations Over U.P. Mines

May 2, 2012

A tribe in the Upper Peninsula is appealing to the United Nations in an effort to restrain sulfide mining. The tribe hopes to strengthen its position through an international agreement signed by the Obama Administration.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community says mines that produce sulfuric acid can pollute the water and threaten places sacred to tribes in the Great Lakes. The Keweenaw tribe fought the Eagle Mine, a new copper and nickel mine under construction in Marquette County.

A new report shows wolves on Isle Royale have taken a sudden turn towards extinction.

For half-a-century, scientists have studied the predator-prey behavior of wolves and moose on the island. It's the longest running wildlife study in the world. 

The National Park Service manages Isle Royale as a wilderness, with a hand-off policy of not intervening. But some researchers say if the wolves die out, the moose will radically change the island's ecology. 

Isle Royale Wolves Face Extinction

Mar 16, 2012

A new report shows wolves on Isle Royale have taken a sudden turn towards extinction. With nine animals counted this winter, the population is the lowest it's ever been in the last half-century. Researchers aren't sure what's caused this latest decline.

Twenty years ago, a disease called Canine Parvovirus reduced the Island's wolf population to twelve. Since then, their numbers have gotten as high as thirty.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Starting today, gray wolves are no longer under federal protection in the Upper Great Lakes region. That means states have a free hand to go after wolves that cause problems for people.

Wildlife officials say delisting is long overdue, but court battles had blocked their efforts.

Wolf numbers in the Upper Great Lakes have rebounded dramatically over the last decade. It's a success story of recovery under the Endangered Species Act.

A case of moose poaching in the Upper Peninsula has turned out to be a hoax.

The head of a freshly killed moose was left on a rock beside a road near Ishpeming last October. Next to the moose head was a sign that said "wolfs won't get this one".

State conservation officers investigated a possible illegal killing of the moose, but they found a hunter had legally taken it in Canada. He kept the antlers and meat and left the carcass, including the head, with a butcher in Negaunee.

Great Lakes Wolves Not Endangered

Dec 21, 2011

Gray wolves will no longer be protected as an endangered species in the upper Great Lakes. The federal government announced today wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin will be removed from the list in January. That means state agencies will be allowed to kill wolves that are causing problems and could also establish a hunting season for the animals. State wildlife officials say there is growing pressure to establish a hunt for wolves.

Underwater researchers say there's enough evidence to warrant taking samples from what may be the historic Great Lakes ship, the Griffon. The French owned vessel is thought to have sunk in northern Lake Michigan in September of 1679. The ship was part of explorer Rene de La Salle's effort to link trade from the Great Lakes to settlements on the Mississippi River.

No other wildlife species, it seems, causes such extremes of emotion as the wolf. Some people want to protect it at any cost. Others want to shoot the animal on sight.

Protected for Now
At the moment wolves are listed as an endangered species. But they may soon be removed from federal protection. The it will be up to the state to decide how to come to terms with a top predator.

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