UPDATE - LCO Harvest Camp packs up, moves to new site

By KBJR News 1

March 25, 2014 Updated Mar 26, 2014 at 2:07 PM CST

Mellen, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- People at the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Education Learning Project Camp, or HELP Camp, have begun moving equipment from the camp to come into compliance with an Iron County ordinance.

They've occupied the forest for 11 months harvesting wild edibles, documenting many aspects of the forest, and teaching anyone who wants to learn, but now they're being forced to step away from their camp.

"We shouldn't be doing this until spring because these don't move like they're supposed to in the winter. They'll break." said HELP Camp Administrator, Larry Ackley.

The Iron County Board recently voted to eject members of the Harvest Education Learning Project Camp from their research village to be in accordance with the Iron County Ordinance preventing "camping units" from remaining in a camping area for more than 14 nights in a row.
Members are now setting up an alternative camp site on private land right across the road from Iron County Forest Land.

"So, when that fourteenth day comes, we can just go across the street. We're off public property, we're on private property and pretty much, that's where our lodging is going to stay most of the time." said Ackley.

The LCO tribe is in the process of leasing the private land, but in the meantime the current landowners have granted permission to HELP Camp occupiers to use the land as a holding area while they rotate in and out of their camp after a 24 hour absence.
LCO tribe and HELP members are quick to point out they are not recreationally camping, they are conducting scientific research and have requested a permit to do so.

"The LCO tribe is attempting to negotiate with the Wisconsin DNR to establish a scientific camp here, which would be permitted under the treaty laws." said HELP Camp Administrator, Nick Vander Puy.

Members of the HELP Camp are protesting the proposed GTAC mine and hope to prove that the land and forest can produce more value than if a mine is put in its place.

Structures currently at the HELP Camp are allowed to stay and the land will still be open to anyone who wishes to use it.

Bryce Henry
bhenry@kbjr.com