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Eviction Vote is Deja Vu for LCO Harvest Camp

Natalie Jablonski

Iron County Forestry and Parks committee members have again unanimously voted to evict the residents of the Harvest Camp near the site of a proposed iron mine.  

Members of the Lac Courte Oreilles tribe and other supporters have been camping on county land since early spring in opposition of Gogebic Taconite’s mine proposal. 

The Iron County Forestry Committee first voted in July to evict the camp, saying the residents didn’t have the proper permit.  At the tribe's request, the county board then decided instead to negotiate with the Lac Courte Oreilles tribe.  But Harvest camp spokesman Paul DeMain says negotiations broke down in late August, because county officials would not budge on the 14-day limit for recreational camping.   

“We’re not recreational camping. We’re much more involved in the movement of seasons through products, and that research station that we have there is a way for us to gather information off of the public land that’s there, and analyze how it might be used in a self sustaining way, and in fact what the baseline is.”

DeMain says camp residents have no plans to vacate the site, and are providing a valuable service to Iron County by observing and gathering environmental data.  Harvest Camp residents have also pointed to historic treaty rights of tribal members to hunt and gather food on ceded territory. 

The Iron County board is expected to take up the issue when it meets next Tuesday.  

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