For many years the Friends of the Porkies have supported visitors and staff at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Originally the group started as a ski club in the wilderness area and evolved into the Friends group that many people know today. As friends of a state park, the Friends of the Porkies look for ways to help improve the experience of visiting Michigan’s largest and most wild recreational park. Last year the group helped purchase equipment for the outdoor skills academy that invites students to explore the Porcupine Mountains.
“This we are focusing on replacing the old row boats at each of the lakes. Mirror, Lily, and Lake of the Clouds. And they have cabins at each of the lakes that can be rented, but they have these old dysfunctional row boats. That requires a lot of maintenance. So the park asked if we could fund canoes. And after a lot of discussion, we are buying Old Town Discovery 133 canoes. They’re atable, and wide enough to fit three people.” Joanie Hawley, President, Friends of the Porkies
Friends of the Porkies President Joanie Hawley says that the volunteers with the group are the biggest difference makers for how visitors experience the wilderness area. Over the years the group has supported a variety of improvements to infrastructure, programs, usable equipment, and helping staff with various projects or with new equipment. As well as supporting the Friends of the Porkies events and programs during the year like the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival and the group’s folk school.
“I think it’s been multiple efforts of how we reach out the the community. Everything from going to the Hometown Christmas and having a booth and supporting Ontonagon. To interact at the music festival and folk school. And they (Copper Shores) have been fantastic. It truly is an honor when we get selected. We don’t take it for granted and they work hard. We try to focus on a project that will benefit many users, especially the younger generation. But they have been fantastic to work with.” Joanie Hawley, President, Friends of the Porkies
Giving Tuesday with the Copper Shores Community Health Foundation last year raised over 650,000 dollars from individuals in the community and from friends of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Annually the foundation has provided a match sum to add to the day of giving’s total. Adding up to over 2.7 million dollars spread throughout the copper country over the past six years. Find more information about Giving Tuesday with the Copper Shores Community Health Foundation here and more about the Friends of the Porkies here.