LCO Harvest Camp Continues in Penokee Hills

By KBJR News 1

July 31, 2013 Updated Jul 31, 2013 at 12:53 PM CDT

Hurley, WI (NNCNOW.com) - A decision to press criminal and civil charges against the La Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp in the Penokee Hills of Wisconsin will have to wait.

The Iron County Board tabled a recommendation tonight to take action against the camp located near a proposed Iron Ore Mine site.

The La Courte Oreilles Harvest and Education camp was established in the spring of 2013 in protest against Gogebic Taconite's proposed Iron Ore Mine.

"The goal of the camp is show people what they would be missing if this mine goest through," said Mel Gasper, one of the organizers for the LCO Harvest Camp.

The Camp is located on Iron County forest crop, open for public use.
However, according to Iron County and State ordinances, a person can only be camped there for 14 days at a time and would need a special permit to be there longer.

"Rather than go through that for each individual, we put in a conditional use permit which allows us to stay there for a long period of time without each individual going down there and re–applying for a permit every time. That's where it comes in that you have to have health and welfare items on hand. So that's what we did," said Vice Chairman of the LCO Tribal Board, Rusty Barber.

However, the camp didn't get approval from Iron County, which prompted the Iron County Forestry Committee to seek civil and criminal action against the Camp.

"It means that we violated beyond the 14 days," said Barber.

"Them being there is putting us in jeopardy of losing our certification for stump-age that we sell on Iron County Forest Land," said Tom Thompson, Chariman of the Iron County Forestry Committee.

The recommendation was brought to the Iron County Board Tuesday night, which tabled the decision.

"It's going to be referred back to the forestry committee to negotiate a large group gathering permit with the La Courte Oriellis Tribe and Forestry committee," said Board Chairman, Joseph Pinardi.

A large group gathering permit would allow the camp to stay at the location for more than the required 14 days.

The LCO Tribe hopes to work with the Iron County Forestry Committee and the County to come up with a compromise.

"Their Business Council and our tribal attorneys are going to come up with a resolution here and get it on the table and get something going and I believe we will have a positive outcome," said Barber.

The Iron County Board hopes to have an agreement by the end of August.
The camp is still open for people to visit.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson