Nevada Barr Returns

Have you heard about the new Isle Royale mystery that will hit bookstore shelves next week? It's Nevada Barr, returning with another book about the island. She is the author of a mystery series set in national parks around the U.S. One of her earlier novels in the series was Superior Death, which concerned Anna Pidgeon's investigation of murders on the Kamloops shipwreck on the north shore of Isle Royale. I've read that book a couple times. It wasn't bad. We still sell it at the Harborside Shop in the offices of the Queen IV. The story is rather far-fetched, but fetching things a little far is typical in mystery novels. But it isn't a bad read. I've got to admit that I found Barr's first IR book weakest in its descriptions of Isle Royale itself. The island comes off as pretty bland, in my judgment. I'm hoping for better in Winter Study, which, as you can guess, will be set during the annual winter study on the island, which is conducted by the MTU moose-wolf researchers. Reportedly, the new novel will be "heart-pounding," naturally, and "brilliantly crafted." Well, we'll see. The story will concern Anna Pidgeon pitted against a predator -- a human coward with a sadistic violent streak. I look forward to it. We'll have it on sale for sure this summer. I'll post a review soon.

Audubon Looks at Isle Royale

I just heard about Audubon magazine's article about the Isle Royale moose-wolf research study, "The Long View." The occasion is the 50th anniversary of the moose-wolf study, which some have called the longest continuing study of prey and predator in the world. The article came out in the March issue and is available online. It was a good read. The article can be found at:

The photo is a thumbnail of the first two pages of the article. Les Line is the author. Audubon has covered Isle Royale very well over the past 30 years or so. Line has written about moose and wolves and Isle Royale for a number of publications and knew several of the famous researchers who have led the study in its first five decades. His overview of the study during its first 50 years is brisk and enlightening. Rolf Peterson, who has retired as head of the project, gives a rather bleak outlook for moose and wolves on the island at the end of the article. I might offer another post on this article once I've had a chance to digest it. There are a number of shorter articles that commemorate the anniversary of the study on the web, by the way. You can find many of them through a search engine.

Lake Superior Water Levels Go Up

Recent reports from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have made the news: Lake Superior water levels last month were 8 inches higher than they were in February of last year. According to many that's a sign the lake is beginning to rebound from its record lows of last summer, which hurt recreational boating and the Great Lakes shipping industry. The news came from Detroit District Meteorologist Keith Kompoltowicz, who said that the lake is expected to be 7 to 15 inches above last year's levels through August. The level of the lake has risen because of a very rainy fall and a winter with plenty of snow in the Lake Superior watershed. The lake remains 10 inches below normal, nonetheless. There are a couple of photos illustrating the low water levels in my 2007 Isle Royale slide show. My photo in this post is a shot from near the end of Tobin Harbor. That's Edwards island on the left in the distance. The shot shows a broad reef that has been exposed in recent years by the low lake levels. This photograph is available for sale if you like black-and-white photos, as I do, because they are often the best.

Family Time

Here's a shot of Isle Royale from a long time ago, the summer of 1970 to be exact. I was 14 years old. I'm the curly blonde-headed kid standing in the middle of the crowd. We had taken the well-known hike up to Lookout Louise, which is on the Greenstone Ridge on the northeast end of the island. Nixon was president. He had recently ordered the bombing of Cambodia. Kent State had just happened, Woodstock a year before. The two families, the Ben and Eva Lassila clan of Farmington, MI, and the Don and Betty Kilpela clan of Livionia, MI (both Finnish-American families), were close friends and spent time on the island a couple times way back in the late 60s. We had great times together. The Lassilas had four kids, my parents' had six, for a total of ten. We always stayed at the Rock Harbor Lodge (in the Housekeeping Cottages) back in those days. My parents weren't much for camping, though I became a wilderness-loving guy in no time because of my exposure to Isle Royale. My folks bought the Isle Royale Queen II in 1971, just a year after this photo was taken, which is when or family's connection to the island began. Is it time to begin your own family tradition on Isle Royale? If it has already begun, send me a photo and I'll be happy to post it on this blog. It can be a great way to stay together and form lasting memories.