LCO Harvest Camp celebrating one year anniversary in Penokee Hills

By KBJR News 1

April 26, 2014 Updated Apr 26, 2014 at 10:41 PM CDT

Mellen, WI (NNCNOW.com) - Pancakes with a side of good company were being served up Saturday at the LCO Harvest Camp near the proposed mine site in Iron County, to mark the camp's one year anniversary.

"The most important thing for the Harvest Education Learning Project is that that we are here, we have a presence," said camp leader Paul DeMain, "which allows us to provide people with resources like maps on where to go, where the significant sites are and they can learn about how beautiful and pristine this area is now."

Since its establishment, thousands of people have visited the camp from all over country to do just that. It also encouraged some people closer to home to learn more about their mission.

Steve Fiene owns 40 acres of land on Moorse Park Road and was a little apprehensive when they moved in across the road a year ago.

"You know when you have an unknown group of people coming in you don't know what their agenda is," said Fiene with camp members Saturday.

Over the last year, Fiene got to know the people at the camp and even lent them a helping hand after the Iron County board ejected the camp from the Iron County land on which they reside.

"I made a snap decision and said yes they can move on to my property to keep the presence up here," he added.

DeMain says plans are in the works to make it a more permanent location for research.

"I think this summer you might see a little more formalization of this structure up here," said DeMain, "you might actually see someone bidding for a camp administrator position that gets paid."

...continuing on their path to educate people about preserving the Penokee Hills for generations to come.

People at the camp have also been harvesting maple syrup, which they are calling "Penokee Gold."

Meanwhile a court hearing date has been set for a case where eight concerned citizens are suing the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources.

The lawsuit is over Gogebic Taconite's bulk sampling activities.

The people believe the DNR did not follow the law when they waived the storm water permitting process for Gogebic Taconite's bulk sampling activities.

The case will be heard in Iron County Court on May 12th.

Kati Anderson