History & Geoheritage

Nearly a century of copper mining took a heavy toll on the Keweenaw, leaving not just scars and ruins, but also opportunity. Several decades after the last mines closed, a renewed interest in the rocks under our feet has emerged. However, unlike in the mining era this interest lies in storytelling, not resource extraction. The geological history of the Keweenaw Peninsula is unique not only here in Michigan, but anywhere in the world. Nowhere else on Earth was copper found in its native form in such great quantities. The layers of rock that make up our rugged topography tell a story that's a billion years old, from thick lava flows to vast inland seas to miles-thick ice sheets that once blanketed the Great Lakes.

Photo Credit:

Nathan Miller

We believe the Keweenaw's geoheritage is worth sharing and are dedicated to preserving the cultural and geological elements that make up our story. The history of copper mining goes back millennia, starting with the local Annishnabe people and continuing through the European settlement and on to today.  Protecting the backbone of the Keweenaw's interior is important if we are to truly show off the area's geological and social history. From the cliffs along the Brockway escarpment to the lowlands along the Montreal River corridor, there are an abundance of geological hotspots to study and ancient or more modern mining sites to interpret. As long as the land is owned by investment firms with no interest in sharing the fascinating geological story beneath our feet, our efforts to highlight the Keweenaw's rich geoheritage will be limited to a few existing sites scattered across the area.

Local control over Keweenaw County's vast landscapes is essential if we are to properly share with the public our geological story. Help us educate future generations by joining KORC or giving today!

© 2019-2020 Keweenaw Outdoor Recreation Coalition.

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