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A Place to Walk In Nature: School Helps Improve Iron River National Fish Hatchery Trail System
Midwest Region, May 28, 2015
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Carey Edwards, fish biologist at Iron River National Fish Hatchery, assists students with planting trees along the trailhead.
Carey Edwards, fish biologist at Iron River National Fish Hatchery, assists students with planting trees along the trailhead. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Biologist Brandon Keesler assists a South Shore Elementary School 2nd grader with planting trees.  Staff pre-drilled holes and filled with topsoil and peat prior to students arriving.
Biologist Brandon Keesler assists a South Shore Elementary School 2nd grader with planting trees. Staff pre-drilled holes and filled with topsoil and peat prior to students arriving. - Photo Credit: USFWS

Since the Iron River National Fish Hatchery’s inception and construction throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, the land has changed in appearance with buildings, hatchery residences, water intake structures and service roads. The hatchery sits on 1,200 acres of land that encompasses and protects the headwaters of the hatchery’s water supply.

A little known change is the addition of a three mile trail system that can be accessed anytime of the year and which was dedicated to the Simpson family in the summer of 2012. There are two loops. red and blue, with trailheads located in the hatchery parking lot and on Weidenhaar Road. The trails are maintained all year long and can be used for just about anything done on foot, including hunting, hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Keeping the trails groomed in the winter can be challenging. In open areas, snow blows and drifts over the path making it nearly impossible for users to find their way on the trail. For the second year in a row, the second grade class from South Shore Elementary School spent a morning assisting hatchery staff to address this problem. Approximately 50 evergreen trees were planted along the trailhead located at the hatchery parking lot.

Students planted spruce trees in already prepared holes in hopes that in a few years, these trees will provide enough of a wind break to allow for proper winter time trail maintenance. They were also able to pot their own tree to take home. Students took time out from planting for a hike and a tour to gain awareness of the fish hatchery process and view a portion of the 1.5 million lake trout and coaster brook trout that are raised annually. The hatchery hopes that this will continue to be an annual project with the school to improve our trail system.


Contact Info: Carey Edwards, 715-372-8510, Carey_Edwards@fws.gov
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