Yesterday I met with State Senator Tom Casperson to discuss what can be done to save our camps and to interview him for the documentary. One of my first questions and one of my main concerns at this point is “is it too late to save these camps?”
During our discussion a thought that had crossed my mind before was: will the designation of many of the locations the camps inhabit as “Wild and Scenic” under the Michigan Wild and Scenic Rivers Act hurt the chances of these camps being allowed to remain? Senator Casperson agrees that it will make it very difficult.
Senator Casperson believes that a resolution could open up the dialogue between the camp leaseholders, the entire public (because the land belongs to the public) the government and the National Forest Service. Starting that conversation is the camps' best offense.
Opening the dialogue about these camps and bringing more awareness to the cause is one of the main missions of “UP a River”; locally, regionally and nationally. If we stay quiet about it nothing will change; the camps will be torn down, burnt to the ground, traditions faded with them. The more we talk about it and the more support we can get, the harder we can push Congress to do something about it because the United States Forest Service isn’t going to budge otherwise.
Senator Casperson hopes to have the resolution written soon and have it out before the Michigan Senate’s summer break and is certain that he will have support for it within the legislature. If you have any suggestions on the language that should be written into this resolution to allow the leased camps to remain in the Ottawa National Forest please email me using my contact page. So in addition to editing a film this week I have a resolution to write.
To learn more about State Senator Tom Casperson and to contact him go to:
Kristin Ojaniemi is the producer/director of the documentary "UP a River"