September 29, 2003
ROYALE FAMILIES & FRIENDS MEETING
Our meeting on
August 3rd was a great success. The meeting began at about 1330 and lasted until
1510 with nearly 35 island folks in
attendance. After the meeting Stu Sivertson then led a tour of the
historic fishery on Washington Island. Dinner began about 1730 featuring planked
fish. We all experienced a unique day on Isle Royale, which began with thick
fog, but culminated in one of the nicest sunsets of the year.
Below you will
find a paper written by Roy Snell titled, "Hounded by Regulations, even on
Vacation". Roy makes a powerful argument in favor of the National Park
being created on Isle Royale. Like many of us who have spent a lot of time
around the island, Roy believes that NPS is a positive force for the
preservation of Isle Royale for future generations. We also believe that our
group can be a positive force for authentically maintaining the cultural history
of Isle Royale. This can be done by maintaining
appropriate and dignified partnership between NPS and IRFFA. Examples of
tangible benefits can be seen by the two pictures next to this paragraph which
show the results of efforts led by Enar Strom and Jeff Sivertson restoring
the net reel and the old gas barrels at the Sivertson Fish Camp. Further
tangible benefits will seen upon completion of the documentary (see below for
further information) and the interpretive program. I hope you will take
the time to carefully read Roy's well reasoned thoughts. Give Roy some feed back
on his paper on the message board if you so desire.
David C. Barnum
winning journalist David Stokes and I embarked on a journey around the island to
start filming and interviewing the families that have been on the island for up
to 6 generations. The results were overwhelming. We started off in the Belle
Isle area and met with the Anderson's on Johnson Island. We
spent a wonderful evening on Captain Kidd with the Osborn's. The next day did
more filming on Captain Kidd, then moved on to Tobin Harbor. We had great
interviews with Grant Merritt on Merritt Island. We also interview Roy Snell and
family. The next day we were on Mott Island and had the opportunity to meet with
Phyllis Green, Superintendent and Liz Valencia, Cultural Resource Officer. Both
indicated a strong interest in supporting our efforts at producing a documentary
on the Isle Royale families. We also filmed and interviewed Wes Farmer at Coffee
Pot Landing. That evening we finished our work at Fisherman's Home,
filming and interviewing Mark Rude.
Since we have
returned David has been busy cataloging up to 30 hours of tape that he has shoot
so far. At this point we plan to do some filming on the island this week as well
as next summer. The editing process will begin after next season. We hope to
have a finished product by the summer of 2005.
IRFFA Board & Officer
Meeting September 17th, 2003
The board and
officers meet via tele-conference on September 17th. The following items were
discussed and decided:
1. Winter meeting
is tentatively planned for Minneapolis on Saturday January 17, 2004. Brian
Bergson is going to look into a location. We may use the same place as last
year. We will provide more information by the end of October or early November.
2. Summer meeting
is tentatively scheduled for July 26, 2004 on Belle Isle. We choose this date so
that those interested can also attend the IRNHA meeting which occurs the next
3. Carla Anderson
and I will begin working on the interpretive program. We will soon be looking
for volunteers in this effort.
3. Dues. After
lengthy discussion, it was decided that charter dues for IRFFA will be $100.00
per adult family unit. Future and permanent annual dues will be decided at a
later date. Dues are tentatively set to be renewable every July 1st. The
definition of an "adult family unit" is any family or single 21 years or older.
For example, the Barnum family consists of myself, my brother Steve, and sister
Mary. We three families will contribute $100 each for 3 family memberships. The
officers felt, though this level of charter dues are high, it is needed
initially to raise a sufficient amount of funds to further our mission. These
funds will be used for website improvements, development of the interpretive
program, the documentary, filing bylaws, and other activities related to
our functions and meetings to be determined by the board. The board decided that
no more than $2500.00 would be spent on any single activity without
agreement by the membership.
To date I have
invested over $2000 in this effort. I am not asking for any reimbursement for
expenses prior to 2003. The amount I have spent in 2003 is under $500.00.
Everyone needs to realize that these efforts can have a big payoff in the long
term in preserving our family history, heritage and culture, while at the same
time allowing us to make a big contribution to the public and NPS. Your
tangible support is now desperately needed if we are to achieve our goals.
Here are the
mechanics of what we are asking you to do now. Send a check for $100.00 to
the below address:
Payable to :
Isle Royale Families & Friends Ass. (or IRFFA)
David C. Barnum
250 Briargate Rd.
Cary, IL 60013-2520
Please provide the
following information so that we can build a database:
City & State:___________________________ Zip:______________
Brief History: (See below)
A brief history of your family on the island is essential for our database.
Please provide names, DOB of the original purchaser(s) of your land and as much
detail as you can about your family history. Also, please provide us with the
above contact information of other family members interested in being part of
our group. At the moment our data base is limited. We include many families as
possible in our efforts. We are counting our active members to encourage all
interested family members to join IRFFA now.
We hope that each
of you who hold this endeavor close to your heart will contribute the charter
membership fee as soon as possible. We also ask that you contact interested
family members to do the same.
Hounded by Regulations, even on
compliance professionals we deal with regulations all day long. Recently I
learned that even while on vacation we do not escape them. I just returned from
an unbelievably restful
vacation in a very remote and serene location. My wife
our four girls make this trip once a year to a cabin purchased by my grandfather
70 years ago. It is on a deserted 45 mile-long, 9 mile wide island in Lake
Superior. My grandfather stayed all summer and used the cabin to write many of
the 90 children’s stories he published. There are no roads, electricity,
running water, and very few people. There are harbors, inlets, coves, and 400
smaller islands around the main island. There are lakes on the island only
accessible by foot and there are islands on those inland lakes. It is called
Isle Royale and it is an archipelago of serenity.
There was a fox at our door, a moose swimming in our harbor, and loons singing
all day and night. We saw northern lights, shooting stars, and the big dipper
was so bright we needed sunglasses. Rarely did we see people or boats. There are
no lights or noise that we are normally accustomed to hearing. There is no
electricity, cell phones do not work, no running water, and the 1920 cooking
stove requires wood to function properly. It is a marvelous step back into a
simpler time. Even the National Geographic magazine on the shelf is
dated, August 1948.
The reason such
a large island is deserted is that the government passed a regulation
designating the island become a national park in 1940. At the time of the
government takeover there were dozens of commercial fisherman, resorts, and
several families that had cabins on the island. Commercial fisherman and resort
owners were evicted and their buildings were burnt to the ground. The cabin
owners were given a choice between a check of about $500 or keeping the cabin
for the life of the current family members. At the death of the last family
member the government would burn the cabin and you would receive no money.
If you took their offer of $500 your cabin was burnt as soon as you left. Many
cabin owners sold out because they mistakenly thought the government would bring
too many tourists, overpopulate the island and ruin the experience. There
are 10 cabins left now. I have two uncles on our “Life Lease.” My Uncles
are in their late 70s. Soon we will no longer be able to use our cabin.
One uncle has given us permission to put him on indefinite life support; however
it is more likely we will be spreading his ashes next to the ashes of our cabin
(which of course is illegal due to a government regulation.)
intent was to return the island to its original state. They believe it to be one
of the few biological ecosystems in the world. For instance, the island has a
wolf population that fluctuates from about 12 to 40 depending on the moose
population which fluctuates from about 700 to 1,500. When there are a lot of
moose, particularly old slow moose, the wolves do well, and their population
increases. When the moose are few in number but young and healthy, the wolf
population quickly drops. All of the animals are “trapped” on the island which
is in the middle of a lake so temperamental that it once snapped a boat named
the Edmund Fitzgerald in two. Flora and fauna can neither enter nor leave
the island easily. The ecological balance is contained by Lake Superior. The
government has returned the island as close to its original state as possible.
There are strict regulations about where you can go, when you can go there, and
what you can do when you get there.
There is a
plaque on the island dedicated to the man who fought for the regulation to take
over the island. On this trip I stopped, looked at the plague, and thought once
again, “How odd─a plaque to the guy who stole our utopian cabin.” Only in
America. I am often asked what I think about the government takeover and the
fact that in a few years we will loose our cabin. My answer has always been the
same. I am glad he did it and he deserves a plaque for it. Actually I believe
that those of us who sacrificed our property to save the island should be on the
plaque. However, from the government’s perspective, listing those who were
evicted doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. If the government had not taken
over Isle Royale there might be a road down the middle of the island lined with
resorts, restaurants, a big casino, and a landing strip with a wind sock.
Thousands of cabins would probably line the shore and cover many of the 400
small islands that surround Isle Royale. At any given time there could be
thousands of people on the island. Last year there were only 18,000 visitors a
year to Isle Royale, some national parks have that many visitors in a day. Human
population on the island is monitored and indirectly discouraged by the strict
government regulations. It seems ironic to me that the overpopulation the
original “sell-outs” feared was exactly what the government prevented. I am sure
many cabin-owners regret selling out.
There is a small
island across from our dock called Musselman's Island that had its two story
cabin burned 50 years ago. While I was sitting on my dock one day last week an
old man in a small boat pulled up and introduced himself as Musselman Jr.
himself. Like everyone, he griped about the government but despite the fact he
has no cabin, he was still coming to the island 50 years later. Would he still
be coming if the island looked like the city he currently lived in? What would
be the point? My grandfather went there in 1932 to get away to a remote
location. That was its appeal and value. Although we and others have lost our
cabins they would have been “spiritually worthless” by now anyway because the
original reason for going there would have been destroyed by capitalists (I love
capitalists, but we need to protect a few places from them). What would Isle
Royale look like in an unregulated country? Would profiteers have ravaged its
trees, minerals, and wildlife? Many beautiful pieces of land have been
significantly change by “progress.” Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely
disappointed that we will loose the cabin. I cannot describe the wonderful
experience it is to sit on our porch overlooking Tobin harbor and listening to
the loons sing. It has become an annual family retreat of rejuvenation and
bonding. Our last day on the on the island will be a terrible day. It is
irreplaceable. Regulations stole our cabin and saved Isle Royale. From the big
picture perspective, I would say it was a reasonable trade. From a small picture
perspective it is an extraordinary personal sacrifice by our family.
often hurt a minority of people while attempting to help the majority of people.
Regulations get old and need to be fixed. Regulations cause a lot of additional
work. Regulations sometimes do not go far enough and other times they go too
far. Some regulations are indefensible. Collectively, regulations affect our
countries living style, personality, and culture. Look around the globe and you
will see unregulated countries. In my opinion, under regulated countries
work no better than over regulated countries. When you get tired of fighting
with the oftentimes frustrating regulations it is helpful to step back and look
at alternative unregulated approach some countries take. Without
regulations people can suffer spiritually, physically and economically. To
achieve the overall benefit of regulations we have to take the bad with the
good. When you are out there dealing with the complaints such as “Why do
we have to do this?”, “This is not fair!” and “This makes no sense.”, it helps
to know that without regulations the environment we created in the United States
would not work. There is no perfect system.
professionals can proceed with a greater conviction and peace of mind if you
understand and support the overall purpose and impact of regulations. It
helps to support the notion that you must support the bad with the good for a
regulatory system to work. For the system to work we can not just support
and comply with the regulations that “make sense.” If you don’t believe
that regulations, despite all of their problems, are necessary and are overall
very helpful, your job as a compliance professional will be very painful.
Our Mission Statement
To continue the over 100-year
presence of family heritage, culture and rich human tradition on Isle Royale; to
assure the preservation of historic family dwellings; to enhance the experience
of NPS staff and Park visitors by serving as authentic links to Isle Royale's
rich human history.
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