MNA spends hot day at Bare Bluff

GRANT TOWNSHIP – After hours of battling heat and voracious insects, the Michigan Nature Association group pulling spotted knapweed Saturday had only one bagful to show for their efforts.

But that’s what they were hoping for.

The Michigan Nature Association group led by Bill and Nancy Leonard set out to the Russell and Miriam Grinnell Memorial Nature Sanctuary at Bare Bluff in Keweenaw County to clear the knapweed.

The plant, identifiable by purple or white flowering on top, releases toxins killing the native plants around it. Nancy Leonard said it began showing up on Bare Bluff about two or three years ago.

The group comes out once or twice a year to beat back the spread.

“We try to come pull it before it goes to seed,” she said. “It’s easier to see when the stalks are higher and the flowers are out.”

Saturday, about 10 people made the 300-foot climb up to Bare Bluff for the trip.

Steven Miller of Agate Harbor found out about it from his neighbor, and brought his son.

“It’s a good hike,” he said. “We’ve done it several times before. It’s always nice to go out with a group of people for a nice afternoon.”

Saturday’s haul represents an improvement over the last outing, when it took “three huge bags” to carry their haul, Leonard said.

“We expect to find some more when we come back in a month or so, but not too much,” she said.