Mining is Marquette County's heritage and remains an important element in local communities.
It was with gratitude we received word that the Marquette County Board voted this week to send a letter of thanks and appreciation to Holli Forest Products. The letter lauded Holli's efforts to cap four small gold mines north of Ishpeming - at no cost to the county.
Located in a remote location, the mines were found by Marquette County Mine Inspector John Carlson. He put some makeshift fencing around them but knew that with the timber company working in the area, these small mines were more accessible to the public.
Carlson said he discussed the issue with Holli officials and the company capped the shafts, saving the taxpayers of Marquette County some funds and helping keep area residents safe.
The work that Carlson does is vital to our area. As he explained in his annual report to the county board, in the past year, he has inspected more than 100 abandoned mines and pits in many parts of Marquette County.
Although it is hard to remember with winter weather extending into spring this year, the woods soon will be filled with hikers, bikers and other outdoors enthusiasts.
Knowing that Carlson is staying on top of the safety of these former mining areas should give some peace of mind to area residents. However, people should not take lightly the potential dangers of any abandoned pits and shafts in the area. Risking one's safety by messing around in these areas could have deadly consequences.
In the course of his efforts, Carlson also inspected active mines in this county, including the Empire and Tilden mine properties operated by Cliffs Natural Resources and the Eagle Mine and Humboldt Mill owned by Rio Tinto.
We thank Mr. Carlson for his continued diligence on behalf of area residents. And we applaud Holli Forest Products for being a good corporate presence in our community.