Jun 04-01

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2001: June: Jun 04-01
Copper Harbor Dump Bear    ...scroll down to share comments
photo by Bruce Smith

Charlie at Pasty Central on Monday, June 4, 2001 - 11:32 pm:

I like how this shot captures the feel of spying at midnight, catching one of the big guys making the rounds at Copper Harbor. If I were the cameraman, however, I'm not sure I'd want him sniffing my shoe laces.

Bruce Smith has collected various wildlife, in the U.P. and elsewhere. We specifically had requests for a bear at this particular dump, and Bruce kindly offered to lend us one of his.

Keep the Pasty Cam in mind as you travel across the U.P. this summer. We welcome guest photos of memorable spots.

By Ken from da UP on Monday, June 4, 2001 - 11:52 pm:

Back in '58 a friend and I worked for Marko Yurkovich at Marko's Steakhouse across from the Brickside Store. One of our jobs was to bring the garbage out to the 'bear pit', the dump. After the restaurant closed we'd go up there just to watch those bears chase the cubs up a tree. Sometimes there would be 5 or 6 adult bears and many little ones, too. Was fun to watch them. They'd rummage around through the boxes and bags looking for goodies. Sure brings back memories. Thanks again, Charlie!

By R Somero CA on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 12:53 am:

When I was much younger, we would go to the old Fulton dump off the Gay road to watch for bears. I also remember seeing them at the Eagle River dump and the Eagle Harbor dump. Dumps were quite common in those days. My dad says Hancock had a dump right in town. I'm sure other towns had the same thing.

By ed b oh on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 07:31 am:

I remember some 33 years ago at Copper Harbor that
my wife and I heard several older ladies talking
about the map they had and saying that they had
gone to what was shown as a bear pit but all they
found was a dump. Trolls!

By Tim in Oscoda on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 07:54 am:

The highlight of any trip, "Up Home"!

By Marie, Ok. on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 08:34 am:

At the Sidnaw dump I saw two young men lure a bear into their convertible front seat driver's side with food to take a picture! They also took turns feeding the bear a candy bar from their mouths, also to get a pic. They must have been to the bar in Sidnaw and had a few boilermakers. Wagers and dares were common in this bar. One man who was pretty thirsty ate some roadkill skunk for beer. Some hunters from "below" were heard asking "where do you find those deer, in the trees or on the ground?" The barkeep answered with his own question, "where will you boys be hunting?" Dave, my dad, took me with him every Fri. night to town in L'Anse and on the way back our special treat was a stop at the Alberta dump to watch the bears. One sow kept her three cubs in the tree while feasting. They would attempt to join her and she would charge and slap making the audience witness her power. Awesome speed and strength that gave me years of nightmares. I have a few bears stories but this is the best. As a young kid I always took and afternoon nap at Ma's request so she could rest too. Half asleep I heard our neighbor who always wore high heels "to visit" was clumping up the front sidewalk. I hallored, "Ma, Lucy's here" and ran to the porch to open the door and was met by a huge bear looking in the screen!

By Kate, St. Paul on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 09:15 am:

Just curious, Are there dumps still open in the Keweenaw?

By Rose, Illinois on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 10:22 am:

Bear dump stories? Oh yeah! I've been coming up to Copper Harbor with my family and later with my husband and kids for over 30 years. A trip was never complete unless you went to the dump to watch the bears every night. It was great - windows up and you suffocated, windows down and the flies took over! And you always knew when the bears were coming because the seagulls would leave. One time an older couple were feeding bears from their car and ran out of food. The bear got a little upset, and took off their antenna with one swipe! The visitors got more bold over the years, and we have a video of the very last time we were there. A guy was walking up to a young bear, holding out a hershey bar. The bear was a little skittish, and didn't want to be that close to the guy. My husband was taping all this so that if the idiot got his arm taken off, he could prove that it was the person's fault, not the bear's. The bear almost took the candy, then all of a sudden took off for the woods without it. A few seconds later a HUGE bear came out of the woods, we think that's what spooked the smaller bear. Luckily the idiot with the candy had gotten back into his car! I really miss the dump.

By Martha.G Pekin, Il. on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 11:23 am:

I worked as a waitress in Copper Harbor in '57 and '58. We generally ended our 'day' with a drive up to the dump to view the 'locals'. To our chagrin, we did see some 'trolls' trying to get a picture of their kids, posed next to the bear! Thanks for the memories!

By David S. on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 01:37 pm:

I believe all the dumps are closed now, state law. Does anyone know where the bears can be seen now? Someone once told me they can be seen sometimes behind the big grocers like "Harvest" or "IGA" in Houghton and Hancock. Anyone got any info on it?

By Nancy Nelson, WI on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 02:14 pm:

Wasn't life wonderful with no TV and no Nintendo--you actually had to go outside and look for your entertainment. Fond memories of the dumps.

By Michelle K. New Baltimore,Mi. on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 04:22 pm:

I remember going to the Copper Harbor dump to
see the bears with my grandparents who lived in Calumet My grand father was the minister of the
Methodist church there.

By Jean Mi. on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 05:14 pm:

Let me share the story of my first visit to the Copper Harbor dump. We were camping at the State Park and heard about the dump from fellow campers. It was a warm August night,about 7 p.m. when we arrived, after finding a spot we parked. Then we waited and oh the smell!! This was a dump after all and it was hot weather and did I mention all of the flies? But this was forgotten when the Bears came out. This was the best part of a Keweenaw vacation. Still to this day whenever I think of dumps, all I think of is all of the Bears!!

By Julie, IN on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 05:32 pm:

A highlight of my growing-up years! I grew up in Lake Linden after re-locating from Iowa. I remeber everyone piling into the station wagon to go to the Harbor dump to catch a glimpse of these guys. What a tradition! I think I heard recently that the Copper Harbor dump was closed.

By Jason, Mi on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 05:58 pm:

Pictures like that bring back fond memories of the dumpsters that used to be in Gay right under the smoke stack..I remember one nite my grandparents and I were leaving the bar, and we saw the bears. So we stopped and watched them. For some reason that i still dont know, a guy was up on the roof of the fire department, with a gun. Of course the police were called and the guy was taken out of there!

By Carol from Clare on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 07:16 pm:

Anyone who worked for the Jilbert's in Eagle Harbor will tell you about trying to get in before curfew and having to wait for the bears digging in the garbage cans. Yikes!!

By Bonnie, Gainesville, Florida on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 08:15 pm:

I too have many fond memories of the Copper Harbor dump. I worked and lived there for MANY years (Copper Harbor, not the dump!). This message is to Ken: I'd be more interested in hearing Marko stories than bear stories! I loved Marko - he was a true Copper Country character.

By JEO, TX on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 09:34 pm:

Isn't it just amazing how many families went to the dump to watch the bears? If I told people in Dallas that this was just something we did, they would think I was crazy.

I always have to laugh when I tell people that when I was out late at night, I wasn't worried about people...I was worried about bears! Growing up in Twin Lakes, I saw my share of them. Sometimes it didn't even have to be night-time. My favorite bear story would be when my friends and I were walking through the Twin Lakes State Park very late one night. All of a sudden I saw a skunk run by and then I noticed a garbage can knocked over and right next to it was a BIG bear standing on his hind legs with his front paws against a tree. We were scared out of our wits and started running away. I was carrying a six-pack and as I was running, I ran into a ditch causing the six-pack to fly straight into the air. As I was ascending the top of the ditch, the six-pack fell back into my arms!! I didn't know whether to keep running or to just fall down with laughter at the marvel of my stunt.

By Mummu, UP on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 10:08 pm:

Bears always look as though their clothes are too large.

Last year yet, one could see bears at the dumpster at End of Rainbow near Silver City. I presume one can do the same now.

By Kathy Willman, Michigan on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 10:10 pm:

Does anyone remember the dump by Twin Lakes State Park? That was my favorite...marshmallows by the campfire...then a trip to the dump to see the big guys scavenge for food. Those were the days. That was a mear 25 years ago....AAAH the good ole' times.

By Ellen, Florida on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 11:17 pm:

Boy, what memories. The last time I saw the bears up there was at a roadside park with picnic tables, and a sign said to park on the opposite side of the street to watch the bears. I can't remember the location of the park. There were adult bears and a few cubs, but while we were enjoying watching them, someone drove by and tooted their horn many times, and of course the bears were gone. I guess they thought it was funny. The same thing happened on the way up to Hancock on the open highway with five Elk standing on the roadside, so proud and elegant. We were able to get a couple of pictures and then someone drove up and stopped right beside them, and again, they were gone. But, we sure enjoyed the moments we had to watch. So, please, if you are driving by and see these beautiful creatures on the roadside, please think of them and others. Yes, Roger, there was a Hancock dump. My old neighbor used to go there, not to see the bears, but see what interesting stuff he could find! I'm grateful for all the interesting online info I get from this website and people like you.

By Ellen, FLorida on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 11:22 pm:

Hi again, my sister who still lives up there, told me that the bears are getting closer to town every summer, especially in Northwest Hancock, some were seen in midday right on lower Prospect Street and other places. Not enough food in the woods last Spring.

By Bee-Sarasota, FL on Wednesday, June 6, 2001 - 12:19 am:

Bee...Sarasota, FL About 15 years ago, my dear friend Pete Lukonich, took my husband and I to Copper Harbor dump to see the bears. It was a great site, except for the idiot who let his two LITTLE children out to get a "closer" look. I asked Pete if he (the father) wasn't taking an awful chance and pete said ABSOLUTELY...the bear can out run any man and it was very foolish of the father to let his children out of the car. Can't see them there any more BUT can still spot them crossing roads, etc. Don't you just love the BIG BEAR HUNTERS...the ones with all the mechanism (on them and the dogs) for the BIG BEAR HUNT. PLEASZZZZZZZ and feeding them bakery goods...THATS HUNTING? I rather be at the dump and watch those fascinating critters.

By Rose - Channahon, IL on Wednesday, June 6, 2001 - 01:00 am:

I knew I'd see my daughter's stories about our wonderful times at the Copper Harbor dump! It was always the higlight of our vacations. How we miss going to the dumps since they have been closed.
But all is not lost - they now wander thru the campgrounds and town. In fact I have a photo of the Bakery in Copper Harbor showing the boarded up window the day after a visit by a bear. The next day we met a ranger with a bear trap with the "Bakery Bear" inside! From the other Rose in Illinois!

By jeff, MN on Wednesday, June 6, 2001 - 01:37 am:

Having scrolled down this long list I can only conclude that "bear pits" remain a popular item. I myself will never forget going to the Eagle Harbor bearpit some time in the late 1960's and witnessing 3 cubs + Ma Bear shinny up a nearby pine after we pulled in for our bi-weekly garbage dump.
I only I'd had a camera...

By Liz, Livonia on Wednesday, June 6, 2001 - 11:24 am:

I remember as a kid going to the dump by Twin Lakes not to watch the bears, but to dump the garbage. And boy it was exciting if there were any bears around. Of course seeing a bear from the safety of your car is fun. But seeing one out in the middle of the woods while you're bike riding on old lumber trails with no one around is a little scarey. The one I saw out past Clear Lake a few years ago was on the trail between me and the way out to the road. After we stared at each other a few minutes (seemed like hours) I started hollering and it finally dropped to all fours and ran off into the woods. I don't think I've ever riden so fast on my bike as I did after that to get back to our cottage!

Then last fall a bear busted into the screened porch on the cottage and managed to get the garbage can out. Now the screens on the porch are re-enforced with hardware cloth. My dad is hoping this will deter future bear break-ins!

By Julie H., MI on Wednesday, June 6, 2001 - 02:41 pm:

Yes, I remember visiting the Keewenaw with my whole family as a youngster. Getting out of the vehicles to get a better view of the bears eating potato chips and twinkies...what memories! I wish the dumps were still open so that my husband could share the experience.

By Rich Karl on Wednesday, June 6, 2001 - 04:29 pm:

Yes, the dumps are closed now. The EPA mandated it. For years we had bears wandering into town looking for food. Then people started dumping trash in the woods, and they started closing roads to prevent it. Thanks, EPA!

Rich Karl, formerly of Mohawk

By Sarah from OH on Wednesday, June 6, 2001 - 04:57 pm:

so where can we view these magnificant bears?

By Richard - Garrett, IN on Thursday, June 7, 2001 - 02:19 am:

Sarah in Ohio. You can see the bears in your campsite at night in Copper Harbor. If you don't follow the rules and put your cooler in the trunk of your car. They even will scatch the car as they did my Jag!! I remember riding motorcycles to the dump and looking around to see how everyone could roll up there windows and us no such luck. AND BEARS ARE QUICK! The memories!

By Bonnie Foss, WI on Friday, June 8, 2001 - 07:47 am:

I've been reading the 'bear' memories. My Grandpa and Grandma had a cottage in Eagle River. They took me to 'the dump' to see the bears in the 50's. I thought it was very interesting at the time; I didn't know how special it was until I read the 'notes' about this picture!

By S.L. on Sunday, June 10, 2001 - 01:37 am:

My best memory as a child was waiting for the
nights my father would take me and my friends to
the township dump in gogebic county, MI
There were nights when up to 15 huge bears were in
there and i would beg my father not to get out of
the truck for fear of his life. He would start to
open the door and i would scream.. he loved to
get me scared but never got out of the truck. Then
we would pop in an 8-track of creedence and head home, oh yeah and maybe go to the airport to see
the rare event of a plane coming in. What great memories.

By Tad, CO on Monday, June 18, 2001 - 06:25 pm:

I remember going to the Copper Harbor dump in the late 60's - early 70's. On one occasion, I was working toward my Nature merit badge for Boy Scouts and needed to make a plaster cast of three different mammals prints. My dad and I thought it would be neat to have a bear imprint, so we went to the "dump."

Even being Trolls, we were usually smart enough to stay in our car and not feed the bears. One afternoon, we waited for the bears to leave before leaving our car to find a good print to make a cast of. While waiting for the plaster to dry, a bear wondered into the dump and positioned himself between us and our car before we knew he was there. Needless to say, it made for an interesting few minutes, until the bear decided that the fresh fish guts were more interesting than the two of us.

By Ted Mastenbrook, TX on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 11:49 am:

I hit this site looking for information on the recent plane crash in Sidnaw. My family has owned a camp in Sidnaw since 1934. My grandfather had friends in Sidnaw, the Woodbridge family and ended up buying a 40 acres and a cabin for $200. We still have no TV, electric, or even water. We were also intertained by bears at the Sidnaw dump for many years. Now that all the dumps are gone we basically are forced to burn what we can and take what we cannot to park trash cans or transport the stuff back home. And no more bears...

By Chris Halligan, Germany on Wednesday, September 1, 2004 - 07:22 pm:

As long as we're on the subject of bears...
When the Ottawa Lodge was still standing (just west of Kenton) we used to get visited all the time from this one bear due to the fat from the restaurant. Finally, we got together, with Forest Service and live-trapped it. They took it over 250mi. away, and just over 2 weeks later it was back. So we named it "Keep-away", and had to bring our fat out into the woods to keep him away from the customers. Where I'm at now I kinda miss events like that...

Powered by:  
Join Today!
Messages can no longer be posted to these older discussion pages, but you are welcome to join the conversation on Today's Pasty Cam

Here's a list of messages posted in the past 24 hours

See our guest photo gallery for more great views from the U.P.

While in the Copper Country be sure to visit
On US-41 north of Calumet
on US-41 in Kearsarge, a mile north of Calumet.
(The home of Pasty Central)

Home | Pasty Cam | Contest | Order Now | Bridge Cam | Pasty.NET | GP Hall of Fame | Making Pasties | Questions