IMG_0874Snowburst relies on donations and volunteers to create a fun day for the entire family.

Please make donations payable to “Snowburst 2015 Fund.” Mail checks to: Friends of the Porkies, P.O. Box 221, Ontonagon, MI 49953


Barn Dancing

(First photo:  Young and older enjoyed barn dancing at the Porcupine Mountains Folk School on November 30.   




Celebrate the Winter Solstice at the Porcupine Mountain Folk School!

On December 21, 2013, the Porcupine Mountain Folk School celebrated the Winter Solstice, beginning with a Barn Dance from 4:00-7:00 pm at the Folk School for those who enjoy folk, line and square dancing (or like to watch!), followed by an evening program.

The Winter Solstice program from 7:30- 9:30 pm at the Folk School featured live music by local artists including Mel Seeger, Dale Venema and Jim Jessup along with poetry readings. Ever since summer, the sun had set increasingly southward.  On the day of the winter solstice the sun reaches its southernmost point and starts moving north again!  In the Northern Hemisphere the solstice is the day with the fewest hour of sunlight during the whole year; the sun is at its lowest altitude above the horizon.  But spring is now on its way!

 Mary Lund Calling Barn DanceThe Folk School is located next to the Union Bay Campground on the Lake Superior side of Engineers Memorial Highway 107.  For more information call Kimberly Sims (863-528-5156 or 884-2877) or Joy Ibsen 885-5412.

 Second Photo: Mary Lund calls and teaches the dances to everyone’s enjoyment.


The Friends of the Porkies have received the Keweenaw Heritage Grant through the Keweenaw National Historic Park.  The $1,000 grant is used to facilitate local school field trips.  The Friends match the grant with a $1,000.  Donations can be accepted to support this program.Benishek Congrats Letter


Garlic Mustard PlantIn 2014, four retired Park Rangers hiked into the woods to continue an ongoing project of eradicating Garlic Mustard, an invasive plant that has plagued the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park for years.  The four stayed at interior cabins while they conducted their search and destroy mission.  The four were Jim Richardson, Mike Rafferty, Bob Sprague, and Dave Braithwaite, and they are  members of the Friends of the Porkies. 

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a biennial herbaceous plant with single stems of 12 – 36″ high in its second and flowering year, the only plant of this height blooming white in wooded environments in early spring.  The dark green leaves are round, kidney or scallop shaped.  In the first year, they present with rosettes of 3 or 4 leaves.  The leaves smell like onion or garlic when crushed.  They pose an ecological threat to woodlands by invading and replacing native plants.  Garlic mustard alters habitat for native insects, which impacts native birds and mammals.  It now occurs in 27 mid-western states including Michigan.


Barb and Eileen Sue BasileThe Porcupine Mountains Folk School will once again host Darlene Marczak’s class in which participants  make a wind chime from articles such as old silverware, kitchen ware, pan lids, beads and other adornments, and fishing line.  Darlene, a resident of Ontonagon, was shown this craft by her daughter and subsequently spent some time at estate sales and yard sales shopping for items to be re-purposed into wind chimes that are as varied as the people who make them.  For information on future Folk School classes, please call 906-884-7663 or visit the Friends of the Porkies/Folkschool website at  Tuition discounts are offered for Friends of the Porkies members.


2013 Roadside Pick-up Mike Mike Rafferty and Bob Sprague finish the Friends of the Porkies annual road clean-up of Engineers Hwy. 107 in time for Memorial Day weekend

Each year, the Friends of the Porkies complete the 16-mile litter pickup project from the Park entrance sign to the permit booth at Lake of the Clouds (8 miles up, 8 miles back). Recent years have been slightly different; the volunteers choose a date and time convenient to their personal schedules, and portion of the highway to adopt. Eight people picked up trash over the 10 days prior to Memorial Day weekend:  Deb Jezek, Debby Kisor, Dave Braithwaite, Sandy Richardson, Gary Koistinan, Robert Sprague, Mike Rafferty, and Barb Braithwaite completed sections with Mike Rafferty logging the most miles (6).


Winter Camping Blog in the Porkies

March 26, 2013

Northern Michigan Vacation: Winter Camping in Porcupine Mountains Posted by Jeff Smith on March 5, 2013 at 8:33am Camping compadre Tim, up on the Escarpment Trail, Porcupine Mountains, Michigan. I had the great pleasure recently of heading up to the Porcupine Mountains for a winter campout in the snowy backcountry with a couple of longtime […]

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Read Frank Hutton’s Blog Describing His Love of the Porkies

March 25, 2013

Read Artist Frank Hutton’s (2012) blog spot on his experience and what it can mean to participate in an Artist-in-Residence Program.

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Dan’s Cabin

August 12, 2011

  A labor of history: Volunteers build home for Dan Urbanski Artist in Residence program July 11, 2006 By JAN TUCKER Ironwood Globe Staff Writer SILVER CITY — Some 20 men and a handful of women have become part of a historic project at the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park. The timber framing class, sponsored […]

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August 3, 2011

We appreciate your patience – we are migrating the old site to a new platform in stages. This page will be back to normal soon.

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