Estivant Pines Story

I spent most of yesterday working at the Estivant Pines replacing some boardwalk on the trails. I didn’t actually witness the events in the story, but did hear it from a reputable source shortly after it occurred.

Some background may be necessary. The Estivant Pines is the largest stand of virgin white pines in Michigan, and one of a handful in North America. The sanctuary is owned by the Michigan Nature Association. There are about 2 miles of hiking trails that are open to the public. The is overseen by part-time employees of the MNA, and the trails are maintained by volunteer stewards (Alice and I) and by volunteers we can muster for our projects.

The sanctuary is located a short way from Copper Harbor, Michigan, and is a popular tourist location. Access is via some narrow and rough logging roads, which end up in a rustic parking lot at the trailhead. The parking lot is surrounded by what we call second-growth trees, but no white pines.

Two of the three of us were up in the sanctuary working on the boardwalk project when the third arrived and was organizing his tools in preparation for hiking back to help us. A car pulled up in the spitting rain. A woman got out of the car and walked up to my friend and asked if this was where the pines were located. He answered yes, this is the place. She looked up at the trees in the parking lot, and asked a question that left him slack-jawed, “Is this pretty much all there is to see?”

“No,” he said, you need to do some hiking to see the big pines. (She was edging toward her car as one of the few raindrops hit her shoulder.) “At least take a look at the photographs in the kiosk so you can have some idea what is out there,” my friend suggested. She walked up to the kiosk, stood there for 15 seconds, and then strode briskly back to her car. Her travelling companion has not gotten out of the car at this point. The engine is still running. The lady walked to the car and they drove away!

A slideshow of yesterday’s work session is available HERE.

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