About the Friends
Preserve, support, connect, inspire, educate. That’s what the Friends of the Porkies does. The organization was born In the early 1980s when the late Dan Urbanski, award winning nature photographer, with the help of some of his ranger friends, had a dream that became the Friends. In 2000, the organization became a federally recognized 501(c)(3) with federal and state nonprofit status.
The all-volunteer Friends of the Porkies mission is two-fold: assisting in preserving the Park by supporting its staff and connecting its users to its wild spaces. We’ve provided funds for Union Mine Trail Interpretative signs and lumber for the ADA boardwalk to the Lake of the Clouds Overlook. We partner with the Keweenaw National Historical Park to fund Mini-grants that bring K-12 students and their teachers to the Park to spend a day with the Interpreter. In partnership with the Ontonagon third grade teacher and her students, we plan pollinators’ gardens and plant them in the Park.
Our Conservation Film series features award-winning films on important topics such as the land ethic, invasive species, dark skies, protection of wilderness, and climate change. Visitors come Three long-time programs, the Folk School, Artist in Residence Program, and Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, attract visitors who experience the beauty and serenity of the Park, and promise to return.
Every fall, the Friends organizes volunteers to clear the cross-country and glades ski trails. In the summer of 2019 we were camp cooks for NextGen North Country Trail volunteers who built a mile of the Iron Belle Trail, and we continue to provide help with trail work. In 2017, we presented Park personnel with funds for equipment needed for emergency rescues in the Park and surrounding forests.
In 2018-19, we partnered with the DNR to make a long-held Porkies wish come true. The Park finally owns the Cotten property, an almost 5- acre inholding on Lake Superior in the west end of the Park that includes a cabin and sauna building in an idyllic setting.
To learn more about us, explore this website. Click around. Become a Friend. Donate. Your generosity will help the Friends grow and thrive.