Private property on IR?

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

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boks
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Private property on IR?

Post by boks » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:01 am

Are there private property and private residents on Isle Royale? From the aerial views, I can see a buildings and docks at various locations but doesn't show anything on the map. Another thought is that these are NP staff residents.

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Tom
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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by Tom » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:36 am

I believe that technically, all of Isle Royale (including surrounding Islands) is property of the US Gov't. When the National Park was finally established in the 1940s, after years of negotiation with the existing land owners, everyone was required to give up ownership their property. In turn, lifetime leases were provided to all living family members of that landowner; of which a few are still surviving. Those folks could continue to live on IR and use the family cabins, etc. The 'rights' to the property were not to pass on to future, unborn generations. However, as time has continued and the lifetime leaseholders have passed from this earth, the NPS has discovered they couldn't maintain all of the various cabins on the surrounding waters, and that those too deserve to be preserved as they are just as much a part of IR history as mining, moose, and wolves are. So, the VIP (Volunteer in the Parks) system was developed, where decendents of lease holders are allowed to continue using family cabins with a few caveats: 1.) It's at the pleasure of the NPS, and can be terminated at any time; 2.) They have to 'maintain' the structure, keeping it up, and in as historical condition as possible; and 3.) They have to permit tours to any guests who may stop by and ask. So - That's one of the many reasons that canoeist will find those folks so friendly; it's part of the deal they have that allows them to stay.
(Ranger Laura at Windigo will be so proud I remembered her talk!)

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boks
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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by boks » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:55 am

wow, very fascinating. It'll be interesting as we paddle through on what we stumble upon. So park users passing by are permitted to land? I really don't want to intrude but a resident dock might be a nice location for lunch or snack break.

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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by Ingo » Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:33 pm

The Isle Royale Families and Friends Association has a site that may be of interest:
http://www.isleroyalefamilies.org/index.htm
The "About Us" page provides some history and perspective from families that owned land prior to becoming a national park.

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Tom
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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by Tom » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:07 pm

boks wrote:So park users passing by are permitted to land? I really don't want to intrude but a resident dock might be a nice location for lunch or snack break.
From my understanding, as long as they're there as VIP and not a leaseholder, yes. That being said, I don't think you'd find just about anyone out there who wouldn't welcome the company and a nice lunch chat. I figure it's best not to assume and always ask permission, but you'll probably find the folks living there to be an amiable bunch who offer some great perspective and stories.

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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by Isle Royale Rob » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:09 pm

I met a member of the Merritt family, life lease holders of Isle Royale. We met on the ranger in 2007 going across and chatted it up after he told of his families histories to the riders on the Ranger III. He invites us to stop by for a beer. We tried to but he was out fishing when we went by thier island in Tobin Harbor. He ended up returning on the Ranger the same time as us as well, and he invited us to stay a few nights at his place this year.
We did just that this year, staying on Merritt Island (Howe Island) near Minong (Hotel) Island for 2 nights.
2008-06-29 Isle Royale Day 3 (2f5) Isle Royale Adventurers RAYsmall.jpg
Just the nicest guy in the world! His name is Brian Merritt Bergson. His mother Mary (Merritt) Shiebe and Step-Father Dick Shiebe were there as well. They were staying at another cabin in Tobin Harbor. These cabins have so much history in them. It was neat to hear all his stories of his family on the island. He has gone to IR 45 years in a row. He is 44 YO. Even made it across in his mothers belly!
He erected a cross in his grandfahter Glen Merritt's honor. It is right on Blake Point.

He took us out trolling for Lake Trout to some of his secret spots. Ended up catching 2 nice Lakers, and we lost a 10+ lber as well.

If you are in Tobin Harbor, make a point of stopping by. He enjoys having visitors and has some great stories to tell! Tell him I sent you.
He may even offer up some brandy as well!
2008-07-05 Isle Royale Day 9 (1c) Brian, Mary, & Dick.jpg
hike 2000, hike 2001, boater in 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011, solo hike 2016
8years=71days=6days rain!!!!

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Isle Royale Rob
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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by Isle Royale Rob » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:16 pm

He also mentioned that his Great-Grandfather, Alfred Merritt, was the one who found the Iron range in Minnesota. He actually took a loan out from Rockefeller (he calls him Rottenfeller) to built a rail to get to the iron range. Long story short, Rockefeller called the note due, they couldnt pay, and lost everything! To this day their family will not use citibank credit cards or banks.

Brian also told me his family owns a small island in Lake Superior somewhere near Duluth. Its unoffiscial name is "I Hate George Bush Island"
I knew there was a reason i liked this guy!
hike 2000, hike 2001, boater in 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011, solo hike 2016
8years=71days=6days rain!!!!

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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by boks » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:44 pm

Very cool. Hopefully we'll be able to cruise the canoe down Tobin around those islands. If they are there, we'll stop and say hi and say you sent us.

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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by Merritt » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:06 pm

Hi I'm Brian. I am the guy from Tobin's and the man with the plaid shirt on in the photo above. Please stop by and say hello if you are in the area.

Brian

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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by Isle Royale Rob » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:33 pm

Hey Brian, glad you found the site! It is a daily stop for me on my journey back to the island. I'm sure it will be for you as well!
Did you book your ride on the ranger yet? We are leaving on July 3rd and returning on the 11th. Hope you can make it as well!! We are bringing my Dad with us this time and we are looking forward to showing him around the island!!
hike 2000, hike 2001, boater in 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011, solo hike 2016
8years=71days=6days rain!!!!

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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by boks » Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:49 am

We ended up cruising down Tobin to Scottsville point. We passed almost all the cabins/homes and ended up talking to a couple visiting their grandparents place. It was fun seeing much of the island you can't see as a hiker.

Boks


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Re: Private property on IR?

Post by johnhens » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:43 am

Merritt wrote:Hi I'm Brian. I am the guy from Tobin's and the man with the plaid shirt on in the photo above. Please stop by and say hello if you are in the area.

Brian
Hey Brian,
Welcome to the site!!
Say hello to your mom and Dick!!
John

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