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Ontonagon Township on top of public recreation

Courtesy of Ontonagon Township Recently Ontonagon Township secured popular property for the public to enjoy for many generations. One is the beach area along Lakeshore Drive, close to the township playground and campground. Another acquisition was property at the mouth of the Flintsteel River, shown here.

One of the townships in the Copper Country that has a history of expanding outdoor recreation for its residents and visitors is Ontonagon Township.

An example of the success Ontonagon Township has had when it comes to outdoor recreation is with the popular Ontonagon Township Park and Campground. This well-known facility expanded years ago to include a children’s park, then it expanded its camping spots, then it expanded to a ‘day-use’ area.

The township acquired property next to the campground for those that wanted a picnic and sunset-viewing area. This day-use area was the Filppula property. It added a lot of Lake Superior shoreline for the township. Located right on the shores of Lake Superior, Ontonagon Township found a way to capitalize on property donation to grants to a constant increase in people looking to camp on the shores of Lake Superior.

How popular is the Ontonagon Township Playground, Rental Cabins and Campground? Simply take a stroll through this property. You will see tents, campers, fifth-wheels and motorhomes from all over the Midwest.

If one thinks Ontonagon Township will rest on their laurels with the township park and campground, think again. Recently township Supervisor Steve Store put in many hours for months in the acquisition of valuable recreational property that generations of residents and visitors will enjoy for many decades.

For many years, when one would travel along Lakeshore Drive either en route to or from the playground or campground, a person would see numerous vehicles parked along the road. Those vehicles were filled with families looking for a beautiful Lake Superior beach – a place they could picnic, swim or merely enjoy the beautiful sand.

What most did not know is that this was private property. Property that could have been shut down to the public with little notice.

“Store did a tremendous job of writing two grant applications and both came through. They were both approved and now all we have to do is wait for the paperwork, which will take some time to be finalized,” commented Ontonagon Township Deputy Clerk Bill Chabot.

The township received a $100,000 grant to purchase one of the private property parcels, which is about 300 feet of lake frontage property.

“Then the private property owner’s sister-in-law, who owned another about 300 feet right next to it offered to sell it to us at a reduced price. Both properties had a combination of about nine acres, with much of the land on the other side of the road. … I think the total lake frontage is close to 700 feet,” explained Chabot. “Combining our property with what the village owns, between the two units we own, for public use, from our land all the way down to the old pump house.”

This property, owned by Norm Radtke and his sister-in-law, will also provide access to those in a wheelchair and others that are physically challenged. This access for the physically challenged is done by the township putting mats down from the sidewalk to a picnic table by the beach.

When one looks at the location of this property being close to the children’s playground, and campground, Chabot acknowledges, “This is the property that is lined with cars, during the summer, for swimming and enjoying the beach by the public.”

Total grant amount for what is referred to Abby-Radtke Lake Superior Beach Access, was in the amount of $206,800.

The other property that the public will have access to is the Flintsteel property.

“This is referred to, and we will have a sign honoring the Blanksvard family, as “Blanksvard Landing,” Chabot states. “The owner of the property was a family member of the Blanksvards and gave us a tremendous price on it.”

The township had 200 feet of property on the Flintsteel, but they were not contiguous to each other. The Blanksvard family had 200 feet that also was not contiguous to each other. 

“If you can picture that the township owned lots two and four and the Blanksvards owned lots one and three, kind of checker boarded. Store had contacted them about selling and he was instrumental in putting the deal together. The Blanksvard Landing name came up to honor the fact that they sold to the township, for public use,” Chabot explained.

The township already has an access road to the property that the township owned. This property is a perfect spot for those looking to pitch a tent and put a kayak or canoe in the Flintsteel River or Lake Superior.

“Imagine the view the public will have from this property of the sun setting on Lake Superior,” Chabot concludes.

Grant amount for Blanksvard Landing Campsites & River Access was in the amount of $95,600.00.

Ontonagon Township has built a strong reputation for providing the public with different venues for Outdoor Recreation. The township offers one of the most popular campgrounds on the shore of Lake Superior, a modern playground for children, a venue for weddings and family reunions, a day-use picnic area on Lake Superior and a hiking trail through a forest.

Now they have expanded to have close to 1,000 feet of Lake Superior shoreline and a recreation area right at the mouth of the Flintsteel River.

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