Ashland celebrates 50th anniversary of Chequamegon Bay JFK Day

By KBJR News 1

September 24, 2013 Updated Sep 24, 2013 at 10:23 PM CDT

Ashland, WI (NNCNOW.com) -- It has been 50 years since the Late President John F. Kennedy visited and gave a speech in Ashland about how important it is to protect the environment.

"Every day that goes by that we do not make a real national effort to preserve our national conservation resources is a day wasted," said President Kennedy back on this day in 1963, as the crowd listened to his voice over the speakers at the celebration

With the help of Late Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson, seven years after JFK's speech, the Apostle Island Lakeshore became part of the National Park System.

"All we remember today is that they were preserved for future generations and we can enjoy them because of the foresight and determination to make things work that those people demonstrated so long ago," said former Congressmen Dave Obey.

Those preservation efforts continue today in Wisconsin as tribal members look to the federal government to help preserve that same wilderness. Their greatest concern is the potential impact of proposed mining in the region. Those concerns are addressed in a letter to President Obama.

"That letter was essentially a request for some federal intervention to remember those treaty and trust obligations are there...Everyone is celebrating a notion of fresh water their resources and the echo-system as something valuable. It was valuable to JFK 50 years ago, and it's definitely going to be valuable 50 years from now and 1,000 years from now," said Mike Wiggins Jr. Tribal Chair of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

While our late leaders understood the value of the land, current ones hope the people of Wisconsin won't back down from those values.

"Don't let any organization, don't let any group, don't let any political party or any politician threaten that tradition don't let them violate it without paying a heavy price at the polls," said Obey.

The celebration was held at JFK Airport in Ashland and featured music and informational booths about the historic day in 1963.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.