Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-1930

Questions regarding the history of the island and historical places on the island.

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MikeT
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Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-1930

Post by MikeT » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:48 pm

In my research for the forthcoming (actually it may most likely be long in coming) “Lost and Found on an Island” book, among many of the interesting trails I have found is a trail that ran from the current portage from Richie to Chippewa all of the way overland, crossing the now portage from Whittlesey to Wood and on to the Lake Superior shoreline across from Hat Island then, on to the present location of Malone Bay / Siskiwit Falls area. In fact, from there, it went all the way on past Hay Bay and to Island Mine. More on that section later. What I will highlight here is the route from Lake Richie to Malone.

Keep in mind the descriptions I have put with the maps are just quick notes, but the GPS coordinates should be accurate (but I have not double-checked and cross checked with GE). I am also not sure what the board will do with the scaling of pictures, but I am willing to send anyone interested in checking out the routes 1:12000 scales maps and the tracks for the routes if they let me know what they find out.

Lake Richie to Hat Island Bay Trail* (1847)
Map Length: 5.04 miles
The first section, from Lake Richie to Hat Island Bay, shows up on an 1847 Land Survey conducted by William Ives. This is an amazing document compiled with extreme accuracy and detail. It must have been a true struggle to gather this info and I go into detail regarding the survey in the book. I have taken the survey and plotted it out quite accurately on a 1:12000 scale topographic map. A 1:24000 scale being shown in the picture. I have not plotted the tracks in Google yet, but have looked and it actually looks reasonable.
1847 Lake Richie to Hat Island Bay NORTH.PNG
1847 Lake Richie to Hat Island Bay SOUTH.PNG
This “Footpath” is the west section of a trail that ran continuously from Moskey Basin to the shore of Lake Superior across from Hat Island just east of Malone Bay.
Starting at the southernmost end of Lake Richie and ending at the shoreline northeast across from what is now Hat Island, this trail skirts the east side of Wood Lake until crossing the present portage trail from Wood Lake to Lake Whittlesey and heading towards the southwest to the shore of Lake Superior where it ended at the shore just northwest of Hat Island..
Approximate Key GPS Coordinates:
Start at the end of Lake Richie: 048°01’55.70”N / 088°41’17.02”W
Crosses the existing Whittlesey to Wood portage: 048°00’11.15”N / 088°44’12.51”W
End along the Lake Superior shore: 047°59’10.51”N / 088°46’01.23”W

This same trail shows up in a survey conducted by Fred Dustin in 1929 and 1930. The drawing does not even come close to the detail provided by the Ives map, but it does verify the existence in 1930.
Lake Richie to Hat Island Bay Trail* (1930)
Both of these trails look to follow approximately the same route as the 1847 trails. As described in 1930: “following the shore to the head of Rock Harbor, thence to Lake Richie, where it crossed the carry-trail from Chippewa Harbor; on to the outlet or Narrows of Wood Lake, thence to the shore opposite Malone Island [Hat Island]” NOTE: Hat Island was once known as Malone Island

The second section does not show up in the 1847 survey, but is in the Dustin survey therefore, it cannot be plotted as accurately however, based on his description, it can be fairly close. Also, from the point across from Hat Island, it would be just over 1.5 miles from there to the current Malone Bay Dock.
1930 Hat Island Bay to Island Mine EAST.PNG
Hat Island Bay to Island Mine Trail* (1930)
Map Length: 12.75 miles
This is a continuation of a trail that ran from Moskey Basin to the shore across from Hat Island that was previously described from 1847. In 1930 the previously described trail still existed, but continued on to Island Mine.
This would have made this one of the longest trails on the island at the time and, if you count the section from Moskey to here and, Daisy to Moskey, this would be the longest continuous trail on the island at this time.
As described by Dustin: from the “shore opposite Malone Island [now Hat Island], west to the outlet of Siskowit Lake, southwest to the falls of Little Siskowit River and on to the prehistoric mines near the old county seat.”

These are the only two sources I have for these trails. The next references I have is a park map from 1941, a Platte map from 1946 and an Army Corps of Engineers map from 1962, but may be from data from the early 1950’s and this trail does not show up on any of them.

As you can tell, I can go on about these old trails (and have been).
Hopefully you all find this as interesting as I do.
Mike T.
"Isle Royale Info - A Comprehensive Guide to Isle Royale National Park" available at: http://www.isleroyale.info
"Isle Royale Itinerary Generator" an intuitive program to create and manage itineraries. Description at: http://www.isleroyale.info/ig_description.html
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Re: Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-193

Post by jrwiesz » Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:00 pm

MikeT,

Very interesting and intriguing. 8)

Now I want to make that trip :!:

Wait till tree rattt sees this post.

One most likely, could continue on, after leaving Malone Bay area, and head to the Siskiwit Bay/Island mine trail, keeping closer to the south shore, using/passing Hay Bay camp. :idea:

In 2009, while I was going from Siskiwit Bay to Island mine, I would have bet there was a way to make it along the shore to Hay Bay camp. It sure looked of an old trail at the point where you leave Siskiwit Bay shore, and head up leaving the bay, to Island mine; one would just have to take a right, instead of going up to Island mine. :?: Has anyone else noticed this?

Since I have completed all the main island trails, other than a few of the portages, I might attempt something like this, or part of it, on my next adventure.

Thanks for the great research, and insight. :D

Isle Royale Rocks :!:
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Re: Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-193

Post by Lucky Chicken » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:25 am

Love this... and would love to explore/ redescover this trail and the history. It would also be cool if part of it opened back up, that would make going to Malone not just an out and back!


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Re: Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-193

Post by treeplanter » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:33 am

This is a fascinating post.

Some history on the 1847 Ive’s survey. Michigan became a state in 1837 and one of the first things the legislature did was to appropriate funds to survey the state. Contract surveyors were hired and spread out all over the state where they established townships (36 miles X 36 miles). This meant walking N/S and E/W over each square mile of the township putting in section corners every square mile. They also took copious notes as to the vegetation they saw along the survey lines, the geology they encountered, and any other interesting things (like trails).

I had the opportunity to read some of the original surveyor’s notes from the surveys in Michigan’s U.P. (fascinating reading!) and know of the difficulty the surveyor’s encountered in establishing section lines in the western U.P. (hard to run a straight compass line in iron-ore country). I can only imagine they problems they had running straight survey lines over Isle Royale’s ridge and valley topography.

One thing to note, the vegetation they saw in 1847 in many cases is totally unlike what you see today. All the forest fires of the 1800’s (many deliberately set) has greatly reduced the mature spruce-fir forest found over most of the island. This has been replaced by an (aging) aspen/white birch forest with a balsam/spruce understory.

It would be cool to walk where that old trail was. Talk about history.


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Re: Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-193

Post by tree rattt » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:46 pm

Yeah ....wait till I see this :) . This is solid gold ! Now ...when do we leave? That would be a pretty cool run.I have to admit that this has me foaminng at the mouth :) I guess when you ask the right questions , as always good info comes your way.

That is some fine info Mike T .No question, you deffinately do your homework.

Very exciting :) now I know why I love Isle Royale so much just the thought of it makes me giddy! 8)


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Re: Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-193

Post by Nym90 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:05 pm

Fascinating. I wonder who built and maintained this trail, and what its original purpose was. If I had to hazard a guess as to why it ceased to exist, the timing of it disappearing from the maps appears to coincide with Isle Royale becoming a national park. Perhaps the NPS didn't see sufficient reason to extend the effort necessary to maintain it.

For those looking to bushwhack from Chippewa to Malone, it would almost certainly be much easier to attempt to follow this old trail than to follow any other route, both because the route was probably chosen where it was for a reason, and also that even after 85 years of non-maintenance it would at least be less grown in than areas away from it.

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Re: Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-193

Post by porter » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:30 pm

Mike T: Nice work!
Your research lends an possible answer to a question I came across in the "Ecological Survey of Isle Royale, Lake Superior-1908" which was a reference to the Haytown trail from Siskowit Bay to Siskowit Lake. (page 40 of 53). The author was referencing red squirrel presence along that trail. When I initially read it I thought maybe he just meant the short trail from the lake to Malone bay, which could also be referenced as Siskiwit bay? But why call it the Haytown trail then, if the haytown mine is up in Todd harbor and Hay bay (and Haytown at Finn Point??) is several miles west of the present trail from siskiwit lake to Malone bay...maybe it was actually the trail you list as "west to the outlet of Siskowit Lake, southwest to the falls of Little Siskowit River and on to the prehistoric mines near the old county seat.” that was Wendigo or was it Ghyllbank then?
This is part 2 of the Survey, where I found the info:
http://michigan.gov/documents/deq/GIMDL ... 2707_7.pdf
Part 1
http://michigan.gov/documents/deq/GIMDL ... 2704_7.pdf
Its been a while since I looked thoroughly at the report, it has been converted to an easily read document now, it used to be a scan of the original and was not very legible. But there is a lot of info on old Isle Royale, sans moose, wolves. Lots of bird, beetle, forest, mammal, etc information. I came across it looking for caribou and lynx info, which it has.

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Re: Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-193

Post by porter » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:49 pm

Oh, the old county seat was Island Mine, not at Windigo


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Re: Richie / Chippewa Portage to Malone Bay Trail c.1847-193

Post by tree rattt » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:33 am

MikeT it looks like we will be running a portion of this trail.We will be headed up to where it ends by Hat island. We also plan on checking out the other end up by lake Ritchie.We are still trying to figure out a Gps for this trip.I would be happy to pass on any info we can coordinates ,photos, and notes.We are alotting at least 2 days in this area. I am also scouting something for another trip.

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