Brockway Mountain Challenge Yields Success

By Kary Askew Garcia, MNA Intern

An autumn view from Brockway Mountain. Photo by J. Haara.

An autumn view from Brockway Mountain. Photo by J. Haara.

In only seven months, MNA has been able to surpass its fundraising goal in order to protect more of Brockway Mountain, adjacent to the James H. Klipfel Memorial Nature Sanctuary in Keweenaw County.

In 2013, Eagle Harbor Township protected 320 acres of Brockway Mountain near the Klipfel Nature Sanctuary. Brockway Mountain is one of MNA’s top conservation priorities, and MNA learned of an opportunity to protect an additional 77 acres adjacent to this addition shortly after the acquisition.

MNA was able to raise $150,000, to protect the additional acres on Brockway Mountain. MNA had until December 2014 to meet this goal, but has been able to surpass it thanks to dedicated members and donors, including a special matching challenge grant by Donald and Karen Stearns. The organization has extended an invitation for the public to attend a meeting on June 21 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. and a hike atop Brockway Mountain at the Klipfel Nature Sanctuary afterward.

The meeting will be held at the Eagle Harbor Community Center in Eagle Harbor, Mich. Lunch will be provided at the meeting and guests can RSVP by contacting Danielle Cooke at (866) 223-2231 or

Stewards and volunteers work together to maintain the Klipfel Nature Sanctuary. Photo via MNA archives.

Stewards and volunteers work together to maintain the Klipfel Nature Sanctuary. Photo via MNA archives.

The Klipfel Nature Sanctuary currently sits atop the bluff of Brockway Mountain and boasts a scenic coastal drive allowing for easy access to the area and an outstanding view of scenery and Lake Superior. Keweenaw’s harsh winds make the semi-alpine habitat an inhospitable climate for many plants but creates a unique ecological environment where sedges, grasses and wildflowers grow.

In the springtime, Brockway Mountain is a great place to bird-watch as the raptors make their way to their Canadian breeding sites. These birds can be observed in flight close along the cliffs, a distance much shorter than normally observed.

MNA continues to extend protection to Brockway Mountain, whose drive has been described as one of the most scenic coastal drives in the United States. MNA has been successful thanks to many generous donations and will be able to continue preservation of Brockway Mountain’s legacy of beautiful vistas and unique ecological composition.


Photographer Stephen Ross to host photo workshop at Twin Waterfalls

By Kary Askew Garcia, MNA Intern

Olson Falls by Mike Zajczenko

Water trickles down the sandstone falls surrounded by lush ferns.  Photo by Mike Zajczenko

Photographer Stephen Ross will guide guests through a photo workshop while snapping shots in the beautiful Twin Waterfalls Plant Preserve located in Alger County, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The workshop, on Saturday May 31, will focus on techniques in photography including  basic digital camera use, lighting, composition and subject choice.

Stephen will also facilitate a group critique of the morning’s collected pictures followed by a short talk on techniques including effective use of the histogram and white balance.

The group will visit several other locations for additional practice. There will also be an additional sunset photography session offered to those who would like to attend.

The Twin Waterfalls sanctuary was acquired in 1986 and expanded on in following years totaling more than 17 acres of land.

The waterfalls, known as the Memorial Falls in commemoration of MNA’s friends and donors, are accessible to guests via several trails, a half-mile in length. The falls are made up of sandstone dating back 550 million years. This wall formation is known as the Munising Formation and is rose-colored and easily eroded by harsh winter weather.

Beech Drops by Ben Blazier

Beech drops appear, attaching themselves to the roots of beech trees. Photo by Ben Blazier

The rock atop the formation, the Au Train Formation, is made up of more firm sandstone which is less affected by erosion. This formation appears as a “shelf” over which the water trickles down.

The falls are home to several different plants including ferns, beech trees and a parasitic plant, the tan-colored beech drop, which can grow to 18 inches in length and secures itself to the roots of the beech tree.

The workshop will be held at the Twin Waterfalls Plant Preserve, the Alger County Community Center, and nearby locations. The cost for the workshop is $35, and lunch is included. For more information and to register please contact Upper Peninsula Regional Stewardship Organizer Adrienne Bozic at