Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas gift for Grand Marais, Michigan




Many of us have attended the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium in Grand Marais, MI, the granddaddy of Gitchee Gumee kayak events. A person has to really want to go there as its a bit off the beaten path, but most of the time locations off the beaten path are the very best spots. Judging from both the quality and quantity of attendees, a lot of us really want to go there and it is indeed an event that 'has legs'. The town of Grand Marais rolls out the red carpet and really puts on a fine event. The location is perfect for instruction and for the past couple years Lake Superior has provided attendees with a complimentary Wind and Waves learning experience that was unparalelled. This holiday season I thought it would be nice to return the favor and help Grand Marais get the Christmas present they have wanted for years. A safe and protected harbor.

Two years ago at the pasty dinner in Grand Marais in the high school gym, Jack Hubbard told us about the deteriorated harbor breakwall that help cause the death of three of his friends when they were out fishing. I wrote a post/tirade on the subject as well as a few letters to elected officials. There were high hopes that with with all the federal bucks floating around, a few would make their way to Grand Marais. Basically a rounding error in the Department of Health and Human Services budget would do the trick but the bureaucrats throwing the money around didn't throw any to Grand Marais. My guess is that a pile of it went to the Great Lkes Czar and his new fellow Czar, the Asian Carp Czar, to rehab their summer and winter palaces. Stand by for a scathing review of that whole debacle after Christmas. PJ O'Rourke is right; giving money and power to the federal government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teen aged boys. Maybe the feds thought Grand Marais was too far off the beaten path, I don't know. In any event the folks in Grand Marais are taking the bull by the horns and trying to come up with grants, private funds, and other ways to finance the harbor restoration. This is where we all come in.

I got an email from Jack Hubbard and three other folks up there. They are in the running for a grant from the Readers Digest Foundation, a share of 5 million bucks. Not only are they in the running, they are in the lead! It's a competition grant and whoever is in the lead in February wins the bucks. It's painfully simple. All we need to do is click on the 'Cheer' button in the link after we enter the zip code for Grand Marais, 49839, in the box. You can vote 10 times per day in the same session. It's that easy. When we log on in the morning or maybe before checking the lastest insipid ramblings of our Spacebook friends, just click on that site, which you have of course bookmarked, and hammer the hell out of that 'cheers' button 10 times. With all the great times we have all had in Grand Marais at the GLSKS, and in my case many other occasions, its the very least we can do to pay back the folks up there for their hospitality and the good times we have had. If they win, and I have confidence in them and in all of you, it will be that proverbial holiday gift that keeps on giving.

Have a lovely Christmas season and lets get on it! Take it from Silbs, the VOR, and FivePieceRoy, all satisfied Grand Marais veterans......it's the right thing to do.

3 comments:

RoyM said...

Nice Post....Keep pushing

This is one of the nicest places for a symposium...the town truely dedicates itself to us.

Best Wishes
Roy

Silbs said...

Word...and I am voting. Good health and happiness to you, the VOR and all the alphabeties in your life.

Jack said...

Thank you, we need all the help we can get. We lost 100 cheers in the last 2 days. This is an impossible task for this town of 400 people
(200 after it snows). Without the help of all the visitors that enjoy the area we can not pull this off.Although the USACE and the Federal govt. have caused this problem they have left it up to us to fix it. Losing this harbor is not an option. Let's not let that happen.
Jack Hubbard