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Mine Opponents Plan Snowshoe Hike In 'Forbidden Zone'

A group of people are planning a snowshoe hike through the Penokee Range this weekend that crosses land closed to the public because of mining-related activity. 

The hike meets Sunday at the site of the Harvest Camp, or HELP Village on Moorepark Road in the town of Anderson in Iron County. 

Village spokesperson Paul DeMain says the area should be open to the public despite a company’s plans for an iron mine there. 

“To make sure that people will have an opportunity to bring their cameras and recorders and take pictures of this pristine area – partly with the idea that if there should ever be a mine there and it gets destroyed, we’ve recorded what beauty is there now.”

DeMain says he helped organize a similar hike last year that drew around 60 people. 

The route is set to cross what the opponents call “the forbidden zone,” or the area closed to the public within 600 feet of any activity related to Gogebic Taconite’s mine project.    

DeMain says the land should be open to the public because it’s enrolled in the managed forest program, which gives tax breaks to landowners in exchange for public access. 

“Well there’s no reason to have it closed off now, there’s no activity. GTAC hasn’t been up there for months. So I’m not quite sure what the concern is. Last year we went up there with some 60 people and I didn’t see any mining equipment, I didn’t see any mining people.”

DeMain says many in the group would welcome getting a ticket or citation from local authorities, to see if it will hold up in court.   

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