GOGEBIC COUNTY, MI – Officials at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park have announced the temporary closure for safety reasons of 10 backcountry campsites and three backcountry cabins in the wake of this week’s torrential rainstorms.
The cabins and campsites are scheduled to reopen July 28.
Storms in the western Upper Peninsula early this week reportedly dumped as much as 11 inches of rain on some parts of Gogebic County, and produced winds up to 90 mph including an EF1 tornado.
The cabins being temporarily closed include the Big Carp 6-bunk and 4-bunk cabins and the 4-bunk Lake Superior cabin. The 10 backcountry campsites being temporarily closed are situated between the mouth of the Big and Little Carp rivers.
“Access to this area is very limited. Many boardwalks have washed out, bridges are gone or compromised and the trail is washed away in some areas and flooded in other areas,” said park supervisor Dave Merk. “We are closing the area for safety reasons. Once the water levels recede, we will be back in there to reevaluate and prioritize our plans.”
Park staff is contacting visitors who have reservations for the cabins during the closure period to reschedule and/or offer refunds.
Hikers have been asked to avoid the area around the mouths of the Big and Little Carp rivers along the Lake Superior Trail until damage from this week’s torrential rains and flooding can be repaired.
“Recent rains have washed out the bridge over the Big Carp River, removed many sections of boardwalk and compromised other structures,” said Jeff Gaertner, DNR unit manager at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness and Lake Gogebic state parks. “Hikers report as much as 4 feet of standing water in places on the trail.”
Hikers planning to use this area are advised to use an alternate route until further notice.
The trail is located in the northwest section of the park and largely follows the Lake Superior shoreline, from the Presque Isle River north and east for about 17 miles before turning south to connect with the Escarpment Trail near Lake of the Clouds.
“We have plans to replace the bridge, but a time frame will be determined once we complete our storm-related damage survey,” Gaertner said.
Some shoreline erosion was reported Tuesday at the Presque Isle Campground at the park. Gaertner said a few campsites there were being closed until they can be deemed safe.
Earlier this week, access to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ boat launch was washed out by floodwaters.
The boat launch is located within Little Girl’s Point County Park, just upstream from the mouth of Oman Creek at Lake Superior. A portion of Lake Road to the east of the boating access parking lot has been washed away along with a bridge to the west over the South Baltimore River.
“There is no way to get to the boating access site at this time and there won’t be until after county road crews are able to repair the road,” Gaertner said. “The DNR boating access site will remain closed until further notice.”
Once Lake Road has been repaired, dredging started earlier this year at the boating access site will resume.