I have had the incredible luck of getting to spend my entire summer, a total of two High School crews, leading in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. When I got the call with the offer to lead two teams in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, I had never even heard of the park. I had to say I would think about it and call them back. Not long after googling up the park, and checking out the website, I was hooked. What an amazing place. Located on the southern shore of Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks is a long, (maybe 40 miles), narrow park, including an incredible range of wildlife, and environments.
My first crew, the PIRO-Myrtle-Ax, worked mainly on new boardwalk construction, and short bridge building. We were masters of the hand held drill and lumber removal by the end of the program. Every board we brought into our site was either carried in by hand, over a mile, or canoed in on our home made barge. And then all the lumber we ripped up form the old boardwalk had to be removed the same way. It was a lot of work, but so rewarding. And how many people can say they got to canoe all their lumber to the work site every day, over the largest lake in the country? Oh, yeah, the PIRO-Myrtle-Ax can!
My second SUPERIOR Crew was a lot more varied in our work projects; we worked on building boardwalk, split rail fence construction, gravel turnpike, a section of new trail built, and most unique of all: reconstruction of beach bluffs. In our off time, we spent a lot of time on the beach, braving the freezing cold water while taking advantage of the amazing sandstone cliffs and deep water. The team all agreed to hike the entire lakeshore trail for our rec trip, just over 40 miles in four days, and we go to pass over every work project we worked on over the summer. It was quite an accomplishment.
When I lead a crew again, this is the spot I want to come back to.
-Jessica Gunsell, Crew Leader and SCA Staff