My wife and I just returned from a two day trip to the gorgeous Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Nestled along the shores of Lake Superior the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park offers over 90 miles some of the best hiking that I have ever been a part of. The park is home to black bears, wolves, and an assortment of many, many other types of wildlife. Aside from a few deer, red tailed hawks, and dozens of adorable chipmunks, we were not fortunate enough to see any bears or wolves. While we didn’t see any in person, signs of them were certainly abundant most surprisingly through tracks in the beach sand along the shore of Lake Superior.
While our trip was wonderful that is not the sole purpose of this article. Driving from the south-central part of Wisconsin northward I saw how sharp of a contrast in political views that there is in our state. South of Columbia County the number of “Recall Walker” yard signs and bumper stickers that I have seen vastly outnumber signs and stickers showing support for Walker. That changes once you go into Marquette County northward. I was astounded by the sheer number of “I stand with Scott Walker” yard signs and bumper stickers in the northern part of our state. I even saw the billboard of one tavern near the border of the U.P. that read “Ted Nugent for President.” Then there was the vast number of taxidermy shops advertising on billboards and on storefronts. Killing sure is big business in this state. I have always known this, but seeing it in person reminded me of how divided this state is in terms of politics and how animals are exploited for a profit.
I did notice with many of the people that we met in the U.P. that there didn’t seem to be the hatred of wolves and other predators that I sense in Wisconsin. People there seemed genuinely proud that bears and wolves inhabit their landscape and bring in wildlife watchers from across the nation. I didn’t hear any of the “they are eating all of the deer” or other nonsense that Wisconsin is known for. That doesn’t mean that hunting isn’t big business there as well, including bear hounding, but I just did not sense the hatred and the need to exploit wildlife that I get from Wisconsin.
If anyone is in the Porcupine Mountains area and want to stay at an great place that is ran by a wonderful couple and their four “fur-kids” try the Sunshine Motel and Cabins outside of Ontonagan, Michigan. The owners, Kay and Bruce, are wonderful people and made us feel truly welcome. It didn’t hurt that they had three wonderful dogs, and a very sweet cat that made animal people like my wife and I feel right at home.
Wisconsin is truly divided and we need to rectify that on June 5th and bring some sense of decency back to our state. This is for the citizens and our wildlife.