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National park aims to preserve its history

One of the most isolated national parks, located in the middle of Lake Superior, is reaching out for ideas about ways to preserve its cultural history.

One of the most isolated national parks, located in the middle of Lake Superior, is reaching out for ideas about ways to preserve its cultural history.

The human history of Isle Royale and its 200 surrounding islands dates back 4500 years to aboriginal prehistoric copper mining with quarries that still exist to newer things like the four 19th century lighthouses.

Isle Royale cultural resource manager Seth DePasqual says "two of those (lighthouses) are still in operation. One of those constructed in 1855 is no longer operating, but it is the oldest standing lighthouse on Lake Superior." He says they're looking for comment about public use of old rustic homes, lodges and fisheries. DePasqual says "some will be in ruinous condition, the product of the years and the general isolation of the island and the harsh winters. Some are in great condition. There's a rich inventory of history and pre-history here on the island. So, can you save everything? That's always a struggle."

DePasqual says the park will hold four listening sessions asking for ideas from the public as well as state and tribal governments. That's good news for the nearby Grand Portage Tribe on Lake Superior's North Shore. Victoria Raske is the tribal historic preservation officer. She says "this is a great effort. This is the first time that the tribes have been contacted about something like this by the National Park Service of Isle Royale."

Lake Superior Chippewa history traces its roots at Isle Royale to mining and fishing in the 1600's.

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The listening sessions begin November 30 in Minneapolis, Duluth, Houghton and East Lansing Michigan.

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