NPS won’t move Isle Royale headquarters across lake

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette After several years of consideration, the National Park Service has decided not to move the Isle Royale National Park headquarters, seen in the foreground, across Portage Lake to the Quincy Smelting Works site in Ripley, seen in the background.

CALUMET — After almost 10 years of consideration, the National Park Service decided not to move the Isle Royale National Park headquarters from Houghton across Portage Lake to the former Quincy Smelting Works site in Ripley.

During his report to the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission Tuesday, Scott See, Advisory Commission executive director, said the National Park Service has decided to keep the Isle Royale headquarters in Houghton.

“Unfortunately, my big Quincy Smelter news is that we have been officially notified by the park service that they are no longer pursuing the eastern half of the smelter property as a potential home for Isle Royale National Park mainland facilities.

The IRNP ferry Ranger III is docked at the Houghton park headquarters.

See said although the NPS will not move the Isle Royale headquarters to the smelter site, they are still interested in possibly having some sort of presence there.

The Advisory Commission owns the smelter site, and the clean up and building stabilization efforts are being done with the intention of eventually turning the property over to the NPS.

See said tours of the site will continue during the spring and summer and the Quincy Mine Hoist Association and the Quincy Smelter Association will conduct the tours.

For several years there have been cleanup efforts at the site to remove harmful substances, such as asbestos, PCBs, lead-based paint and mercury, and See said some of that remediation will continue this summer with a contractor called MannikSmith.

“They are reviewing some treatment recommendations provided by the NPS in order to create a plan for dealing with lead-based paint at the site,” he said. “There’s a lot of lead paint at the site.”

See said there is a plan to use remote sensing to determine where all the drains on the site are located. When the smelter was operating, the drains emptied into Portage Lake.

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