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    Michigan Cougar Controversy Over? Three more cougar photos verified in UP

Michigan Cougar Controversy Over? Three more cougar photos verified in UP

Michigan Department of Natural Resources News Release – November 28, 2012

Three recent trail camera photos of cougars in the Upper Peninsula have been verified by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Two of the photos, both of a cougar with a radio collar, were taken in October in Menominee County – one near Cedar River and one near Menominee just north of the Wisconsin border.

The third photo was taken in northern Marquette County in November. The cougar in the Marquette County photo is not wearing a radio collar.

The DNR does not place radio collars on cougars; North Dakota and South Dakota are the nearest states where wildlife researchers have placed radio collars on cougars to track their movement. The DNR has not yet been able to determine the origin of the radio-collared cougar that is in Michigan.

In the fall of 2011, a radio-collared cougar was photographed in Ontonagon, Houghton and Keweenaw counties. Although the cougar recently photographed in Menominee County is wearing the same type of radio collar, DNR wildlife biologists are currently unable to determine whether this is the same animal or another transient that has dispersed from western states.

All three photos were taken by trail cameras located on private property and the landowners have asked to remain anonymous. DNR Wildlife Division staff were able to visit each location to confirm the authenticity of the photos.

Michigan Cranberries & Cranberry Farming

Thanksgiving is just a week away, so we’re rolling out a classic feature on cranberries! 

Cranberries by argusmaniac
Cranberries by argusmaniac

Although Michigan only has a small number of cranberry farms in the northeast, Upper Peninsula, and the southwestern corner of the state along Lake Michigan totaling about 250 acres – compared to more than 18,000 acres in nation-leading Wisconsin – the state does have all the requirements to grow a cranberry industry. 

Michigan Cougar Captured on Film

This story has become the most popular ever on the Absolute Michigan Facebook with almost 200 “likes”, 75+ comments and a whopping 254 shares. The photo was taken with a locked trail cam situated along a well-used wildlife trail in southern Marquette county. When you read the comments on the Facebook link you’ll see that folks all across the state believe they’ve seen cougars.

Marquette County Cougar, photo by Michigan Wildlife Conservancy

A trail cam in southern Marquette County operated by the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy (MWC) recently captured the above photo of a cougar. Dr. Patrick Rusz, Director of Wildlife Programs for the MWC and retired DNR forester Michael Zuidema verified the trail camera’s location on a well-worn wildlife trail atop a wooded ridge. The camera has also photographed wolves, coyotes, fishers and numerous other species at the same site over a four year period.

The MWC is publicizing this photograph because it may be the best, clearest photograph of a wild Michigan cougar ever taken. It is also unusually interesting because Mr. Zuidema has recorded over twenty credible cougar sightings in the same vicinity since the 1970s. These include several sightings within a few miles of the trail camera location.

Dr. Rusz stated that “the long history of sighting reports in the area indicates the cougar photographed on June 1 may be part of a resident population rather than a wandering cat from a western state.” Dr. Rusz has studied cougars for the Conservancy for 14 years and is co-author of a peer-reviewed study that confirmed cougars in both peninsulas of Michigan by analyses of DNA in droppings. He has also identified a long list of additional physical evidence dating back to 1966, and notes that Michigan State College zoologist Richard Manville documented several cougar sightings or incidents when he inventoried the fauna of Marquette County’s Huron Mountains from 1939 to 1942.

“The MDNR cougar team should now look at the very good evidence of a remnant cougar population collected before 2008,” said Bill Taylor, President of the Conservancy. “They could still easily verify cougar photos taken in the 1990’s in Alcona and Oscoda Counties in the Lower Peninsula and some others. The vegetation and other landmarks needed to confirm the photos are still there.”

You can compare the photograph above with photos of a wolf, coyote, raccoon, and porcupine taken by the same camera in the same location at the MWC website at www.miwildlife.org.

The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy is a non-profit citizens group established to restore Michigan’s wildlife legacy. They have restored more than 8,200 acres of wetlands, 2,500 acres of prairies and grasslands, and hundreds of miles of trout streams, and helped with several rare species recoveries and the creation of many backyard habitats.

More about cougars in Michigan on Michigan in Pictures and weigh in with your comments below or on the Absolute Michigan Facebook!

Michigan Northern Lights from July 15th by Xavist Zhao

Wow... by Xavist on the colorful way
Wow… by Xavist on the colorful way

Early Sunday morning the aurora borealis graced Michigan with an appearance that was seen as far south as Mecosta County.

Xavist Zhao got some stunning shots of the northern lights on the Keweenaw Peninsula like the one to the right that he shared in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr. He also compiled the great time-lapse below!

Photos & Video from the Duck Lake Fire

We’ve collected some photos, video and reports from the Duck Lake Fire. Photos are all courtesy the Michigan DNR.

“This fire is an eye-opener for a lot of people. In the 1930s and ’40s, we had a lot of major fires go through this country and burn a lot of old forests, but we’ve gotten complacent since then. These things can really blow up.”
~Veteran Crystal Falls DNR firefighter Jeff West

Updated May 31 In mLive’s article on the Duck Lake Fire, Jeff West ranked the fire at an 8 or 9 on a scale of 1-10. Today’s DNR report (May 31) says that cooler temperatures Wednesday evening allowed fire crews to get to 57% containment of the fire. There are 40 miles of fireline in this long narrow fire (see map) that has destroyed 132 of 138 structures within its 21,458 acre area.

By contrast, the Sleeper Lake Fire from 2007 was estimated to have burned 18,000 acres. The Christian Science Monitor explains that this is it’s the 2nd largest fire since 1980′s 25,000 acre fire near Mio and the massive 1.1 million acre Great Michigan Fire of 1871 that killed over 200 people.

Today Gov. Rick Snyder toured the fire zone. He heard complaints about cellphone coverage and residents wanting earlier notification. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow also visited the fire command center in Newberry today, pledging to bring FEMA dollars to help rebuild the destroyed buildings.

If you’re looking to donate to help the firefighters, mLive has the details on Red Cross and Duck Lake Fire Center needs. They go through 488 bananas a day “to get their potassium back in their bodies because they sweat so much.” Skip the candy (except for suckers) in favor of bottles of water & Gatorade and energy bars and beef jerky snacks. The firefighters also need moleskin shoe liners to protect their feet from heat, bandanas and “socks, socks and more socks.”

Tahquamenon Falls State Park remains closed due to the proximity of the Duck Lake Fire in Luce County, and there is currently no estimate on when the Park will re-open.

You can also see some aerial video of the fire from the Michigan DNR.

Seeking Michigan: Main Street, St. Ignace

Seeking MichiganBy Mary Zimmeth, Archives of Michigan and courtesy Seeking Michigan and the Archives of Michigan. The goal of Seeking Michigan is simple: to connect you to the stories of this great state. Visit them regularly for a dynamic & evolving look at Michigan’s cultural heritage and see more stories from Seeking Michigan at Absolute Michigan.

“. . . With the Martel furnace, Mackinac Lumber Company, and the iron ore docks in full blast, shipping ought to be lively next summer.”The Northern Spy[weekly newspaper], February 16, 1882.

St. Ignace bustled with development in 1882. The week before this issue of The Northern Spy, (February 6-15, 1882), a census was compiled of the population for the purpose of incorporating the village of St. Ignatius. The formal incorporation petition was sent to the Mackinac County Board of Supervisors on February 23, 1882. The board supported the petition, but changed the village’s name to St. Ignace. By March 14, 1883, St. Ignace became an incorporated city.

Fly High at the Pine Mountain Ski Jumping Tournament

pine-mountain-ski-jumpEvery year the Kiwanis Ski Club in Iron Mountain holds the Pine Mountain Continental Cup Ski Jumping Competition, one of the best tournaments in the United world. The first competition was held in 1939, making 2012 is the 73rd annual. The event takes place the weekend of February 11-12, 2012 and will draw top US & international jumpers from a dozen countries along with over 20,000 spectators .

The Pine Mountain ski slide was at one time was the highest artificial ski jump in the world and is still known throughout the world as one of the best jumping hills. At the first Pine Mountain Tournament, Bob Roecker, riding for the Duluth Ski Club, shattered the American jumping record with a leap of 257 feet.

For questions regarding tickets, please contact the Kiwanis Ski Club (906) 779-1110 or (800) 236-2447.  This video from Pine Mountain 2008 is a little bright, but it gives you a good sense of this exciting event. Here’s another video with lots more jumps from the Continental Cup, but we have to give you this great newsreel from the 1950s voiced by Mel Allen. It was shot in Iron Mountain, and features several local jumpers including then 9-year-old Willie Erickson, a two-time Olympian and FIS World Championship competitor. Also don’t miss the jumping videos from the Kiwanis club!

Michigan 175: Yooper Steez Skateboard Deck

One of the items in our Michigan’s 175th Birthday Bash giveaway (#mich175) is a skateboard deck from Absolute Michigan sponsor Yooper Steez.

Yooper Steez isn’t a skateboard company, but has always drawn inspiration from the skateboarding and snowboarding culture. This is just one product (of many more to come) that offers a way for Yoopers to show their love for the Upper Peninsula. Lumberjack Jack wears wool plaid shirts, spends lots of time in the woods, has one mean looking beard, loves the UP and represents the Yooper in all of us!

All decks are seven-ply quality maple, and you can choose from either Lumberjack Jack or the Steez deck (trucks and hardware sold separately).

Absolute Michigan Giveaway: Cadeau Creations gift basket

Absolute Michigan is committed to helping our readers get more out of Michigan. To that end, we are adding an exciting new program featuring regular giveaways of products and services from all kinds of Michigan businesses. It's free, fun and all you have to do to be eligible is to be on our email list - sign up using the form below. We guarantee that we will not share your email address with anyone!
If your business is interested in participating, you can get all the information right here.

Cadeau Creations was born and bred in the wild Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In addition to complete catering services, they have created specially-designed baskets of gourmet goodness from the people, places and soil of the U.P. using the freshest local ingredients and select organic and Fair Trade ingredients. They make a great gift for homesick Yoopers and also your friends, family, employees, co-workers and relatives. Connect with them on Facebook or Twitter!

This week’s winner will receive their locally grown & crafted Northern Winter Wonders Basket. It features chocolates, caramels, game meat sausage, smoked Lake Superior fish, Keweenaw jam, and local crafts – all fashioned with Yooper flair. It’s a $100 value and all you need to do to be eligible to win is to have your address on our email list – sign up in the blue box above!

Absolute Michigan Giveaway: Yooper Steez

Absolute Michigan is committed to helping our readers get more out of Michigan. To that end, we are adding an exciting new program featuring regular giveaways of products and services from all kinds of Michigan businesses. It's free, fun and all you have to do to be eligible is to be on our email list - sign up using the form below!
If your business is interested in participating, you can get all the information right here.

Yooper Steez was founded in 2008 by Justin Sailor and is dedicated to providing original Upper Peninsula products and fresh stories of the UP through their engaging blog to people who appreciate what the Upper Peninsula has to offer. They connect Yoopers across the world and give them a way to express and share their love for the Upper Peninsula.

Justin explains:

I had recently finished a 50-state tour across the country where I collected a t-shirt from nearly every state. As I collected one and later wore it in another state I realized how many conversations were generated. People would approach me and ask me if I was from said place, had been there, or simply say it was one of their favorite places. If I had been wearing a generic shirt those conversations would have never happened.

After returning to my hometown of Baraga, I thought the Upper Peninsula needed an iconic but simple shirt that would allow people to present their love for the Upper Peninsula. The simplest way to do that was to show the silhouette of the Upper Peninsula. People who love the Upper Peninsula recognize it immediately and those who don’t often ask what the shape is.

To help you get in shape, Yooper Steez is offering a UP Hoodie, a T-shirt and a few stickers! All you need to do to have a shot to win is to be on our email list – use the blue box above.

…and FYI, Absolute Michigan had a little feature about Justin’s journey in 2006 that links to a podcast you can check out!