Mountain lodge faces challenges

COPPER HARBOR – The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge was constructed in the 1930s, and since being hired as manager of the facility, Debra Britz-Maier has been working to address the issues brought on by its age.

Britz-Maier, who was hired as KML manager on April 16, said the various problems with the KML are affecting its operation.

There have been problems with the water system, Britz-Maier said. The telephone system was not operating properly, which meant people couldn’t call for reservations. A cook stove had to be replaced. Other appliances in the kitchen needed to be replaced. A chef she hired didn’t work out, but there are two cooks in the kitchen.

“The two cooks that are basically running the kitchen are doing an awesome job,” she said.

All the beds in the cabins had to be replaced, Britz-Maier said.

One part of the lodge doing well is the golf course, Britz-Maier said. She would like to offer more there, including lessons for adults and children. There are several tournaments at the golf course during the golf season.

“I would like to see that grow and expand,” she said of the tournaments.

The lodge was open on a trial basis two winters ago, but Britz-Maier said that proved too costly, so it wasn’t open last winter, and it won’t be open this winter. It will close Oct. 17.

Although revenues are down this year compared to last year, Britz-Maier said no money is owed to the county. She has a good working relationship with the KML Board.

“The board has been nothing but supportive of me and very easy to work with,” she said. “I’ve had no issues with this board.”

Britz-Maier said despite the various problems with the KML, she still thinks it can be turned around and be a moneymaker for the county, especially with better marketing.

“There is a niche in here, and we have to find it,” she said. “I truly believe in this place.”