Sep 05-02

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2002: September: Sep 05-02
Smoky Mountains?    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Dan Urbanski
On the edge    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Dan Urbanski

Dan Urbanski, Silver City, MI on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 05:42 am:

What is a photo of the Smoky Mountains doing on the Pasty Cam? Of course, it's not the Smokies but the Hurons. Big Mount Benison is just out of view on the left, and Cliff Lake is hiding in that valley. We were at the summit of a no-name hill toward the western edge of the Hurons. Like a lot of the hills, a cairn had been erected, and we chose it as a poser for our latest Explorers Club portrait. Cosmo was being difficult as usual, but Sara Moilanen, myself, and Jim Gallie were up to the task. Good thing we waited until Sara had had her nap first.

For those concerned, we were not on Huron Mountain Club property. We had about two more miles to go before treading on risky territory.

Sara</TD><TD> Dan</TD><TD> Jim and Cosmo

By ywb/Richmond on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 07:48 am:

The Huron Mountains are my favorite place to go to in the summer. We always stay in Big Bay on Lake Independence. I have been on " Club property" a few times in my life. It is very pristine. The drive on the AAA from Big Bay to Lanse make for an interesting trip. Thanks for the photos.

By JC/Indiana on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 08:19 am:

What is the Huron Mountain Club,and why is it so risky?

By Frank C, NE Illinois on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 09:45 am:

I thought I had heard that a lot of property over in the area near/around the Hurons was privately owned by big money with only two-track access. Is it "accessible" with a regular vehicle (not an SUV/4WD)?

Only 16 days till we leave for Silver City & the Porkies, and 19 days till we hit the Keweenaw. I'm PUMPED!

By Stan/ former Yooper on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 09:49 am:

To JC/Indiana
I don't know much about the Huron Mountain Hunting Club, except that it is a very private club owned by a number of very rich people who zealously guard their haven. The club property extends over many hundreds of acres. I have heard rumours of people who tresspassed on the property and were greeted by guards who escorted them out. Another rumour was that Henry Ford once tried to join the club but was rejected. Other than these comments, I don't know much about it. Obviously, the club members prefer their privacy.

By Pete WI on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 10:34 am:

By the way, I think that story about Henry Ford being rejected by the HMC is just a fable. From what I know at one time he owned most if not all of the Hurons. There is one 40 acre plot inside club property that is owned by an one of us commoners. The guy had been a cook at the main lodge for many years and was really liked by the members so they gave him the property....forget his name.

By Mike R New Berlin, WI on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 11:26 am:

I believe the somewhat famous and rich person that got rejected by the HMC is Louis Kaufman. He owned banks in Marquette and New York City. After being rejected, he bought 7 sections of land on Lake Superior southeast of HMC. He built a place called Granot Louma Farm, which is another story. The place is unbelievable.

By Patrick, Grand Rapids MI on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 12:01 pm:

The Huron Mountain Club is a very secluded refuge for people who are not only very wealthy but of high statute. Firestone and Ford families, Lillian Jackson Braun (an author), and many others are memebers. But it takes more than big bucks to be a member, you must be 'voted' in also. Meals are prepared by one of only 2 Executive chefs in all the UP (One other, who was a culinary proff at NMU died in a terrible car accident about a year ago), dinner is formal and men must have a jacket on for it. When living in Marquette, I heard stories from people about the HMC. THings like if they were to close to the shoreline in area's being shot at with rifles, people being 'escorted' off the property by very well armed gaurds, one of the NMU Police offers use to be on their security force part time, and quite becuase it was a little to militant for his taste he told me. I have also heard the story about Louis Kaufman being rejected for membership with the club. Another interesting fact is that people in Marquette also take about a Mofia 'get-a-way' up in the Huron Mountains someplace. I had a freind who had a freind (you know how these things go) who use to work ground crew at Marquette Airport, he said on occasion a learjet sytle private jet would land, and the occupants would move quickley from there to a waiting Helicopter which would head north west into the Hurons. There was another hide-out in I belive Phenoix (in the Keweenaw) and I think it was Capone or somebody was actually arrested up there when they tracked him to his hide out one time. I would have to reverify that however.

Lots of interesting things in the UP... And if you think about it, it's not THAT far from Chicago...

By Alex Tiensivu, Georgia on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 12:05 pm:

Does anyone have a photo of the Lift Bridge all the way up?


By dl on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 12:44 pm:

Take a look at the banner at the top of Gemignani's
Restaurant and you'll see the bridge going up and
click this link

By Urs in Kalamazoo, MI on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 02:08 pm:

Regarding the Huron Mt. Club--A few years ago I took a good look at a map of that area and recognized the pristine beauty it must hold (highest waterfall in MI, for one). Determined to see for myself (and not imagining in my wildest dreams that all that beauty could be privately owned and COMPLETELY inaccesible to outsiders), I attempted to meander my way in from the west on logging roads only to be met be a HUGE chain between to stone pillars and very threatening signs. Deterred but not beaten, I skirted along the south edge to arrive in Big Bay (where I had never before been). I was somewhat surprised by suddenly sighting MANY BMWs, Porsches and other vehicles not normally seen in the UP, but continued on without putting 2+2 together--until I was stopped at the guard house, that is! When I realized why I'd been hitting "roadblocks" trying to access this land I was steamed. Just before the guard house a stream crosses the road and I've often wondered if you could put in a small craft there and enter the territory by water. I believe as long as you stay in your craft, navigation of waterways is not a trespassing violation. But don't quote me on that!

By Esq on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 03:05 pm:

To answer the Urs question about navigating waterways: Yes, perfectly legal. But keep in mind that there are constant lawsuits regarding this stuff (mostly in the context of beachfront property). Do you really want to take these guys to court if anything happens? (bring a GPS & a satelite phone, and report your whereabouts every two minutes!) GOOD LUCK! :)

By Mike R New Berlin WI on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 03:12 pm:

Urs, check out this web site.

By Jon, MI on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 03:15 pm:

Perhaps this 'article' can be useful in unraveling the HMC mystery (where's Scooby Doo when you REALLY need him?).

Not sure on how accurate it is, so take it at face value ("it must be true, I read it on the internet").

By Just walking about on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 06:42 pm:

A long time a go I was hunting in the Marquette area and took a walk about in the Huron Mt. area. I was walking along the two track when I rounded a bend there about 100 yards ahead was two fellows comeing my way. Now I heard that it was very private so I was just about to hightail it out of the place when I noticed the two was carrying a spear and two large trout I dont know who made the first move. But I jumped one way and they the other. I sat in the woods watching for about 15 mins. and heard their car start about 1 mile behind me. Dont know how they got to the car so fast but I finished my walk about and It is very lovely and rugged land.

By MEC, Michigan on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 07:33 pm:

Regarding the Huron Mountain Club, "Scooby Doo" is in the form of C. Fred Rydholm, who authored the definitive, twin volume set, "Superior Heartland, A Backwoods History". His books are still in print and can be found on shelves in and around Marquette. Volume I contains an interesting tidbit about Henry Ford and Ford's relationship with the Huron Mountain Club that is more or less consistant with information offered on the American Whitewater website. According to Mr. Rydholm, Ford wanted membership into the Club but couldn't get in. Ford was finally granted his membership the year M35 was stopped and redirected away from Club holdings, apparently due to Ford's influence as an adjoining property owner and an Attorney General's opinion. Ford then hired Albert Kahn to design and supervise construction of the "Ford Cabin", built at Huron Mountain to the tune of about 100,000 in 1929 dollars, and which fussy Mr. Ford didn't like upon examining it's completion.

By Tom Wells in Indiana on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 09:06 pm:

My wife and I have been enjoying books on tape authored by Lillian Jackson Braun while we drive through Michigan. She wrote a murder mystery series titled "The Cat Who ....".

Most of the stories are staged in Moose County 400 miles from anywhere. Is there a town called Pick Axe in the U.P. ?

Thank you-all for the information about the Huron Mountains.

By Matt in Lower MI on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 09:34 pm:

Anybody out there know of an online map of the HMC's land? I've always wondered what was "In" and what was "out." I've done a little searching and can't seem to find anything.

Interstingly, in about 1959, the Govt was considering making a "Huron Mountains National Park," but the HMC effectivly blocked the idea, saying "We know very well, casual visitors or tourists unaccustomed to such conditions (wilderness) would generally speaking, not enjoy these woods"

Yeah, right.....

By PSmith-SC on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 10:01 pm:

I would like to see a map showing the area between Skanee and Big Bay which, I beleive, should include the Huron Mountain Club property. I have been to the mouth of the Huron River but never across to Big Bay.
Keep up the good work, I enjoy the pictures and comments every day.

By mark twin cities on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 10:36 pm:

I know of a guy who lives in Bessemer MI., That is supposed to have mofia ties in NYNY. I know for certian that he had a body gaurd for his daughter when she went NMU years ago.

his place in bessemer is huge with a reported tunnel that a 1/4 to 1/2 mile long to a "garage" so anything is possible in the huron mountains

By ywb/richmond on Thursday, September 5, 2002 - 11:24 pm:

The people who have camps there just like to be left alone. They own the land, so be it. It is beautiful back there. It has been about 8 years since I've been there. My friends parents live there. Her great grandfather bought his property before HMC was existence. Just stop all the nonsence about the mob. They own the land and pay the taxes.

By Alice A., Alaska on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 01:40 am:

Thanks to all of you. I've checked out the links and learned a lot today.

By Mike B, Pittsburgh, wishin I was still in the Yoop on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 10:49 am:

I have to agree with jwb/richmond,

Why would you be upset that you cannot trespass on someone else's property? How would you feel about someone was poking around your house, trying to find a way in even if you have locked your doors? Having the great fortune of owning such a piece of property is not a crime. If that is what they wish to do with it, so be it. It's funny how people get so offended by civilians owning land. Our Govt gobbles up millions of acres of land every year and puts it completely offlimits to the majority of the population, yet not a word is said.

By John Q. Public, Discontent on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 01:45 pm:

Yes, the HMC is very beautiful and just like 390,000 acres to up for sale soon by the Kamehameha Schools Trust of Hawaii, the rest of us are not able to "legally" go there and witness this beauty. People at this level pay tax at lesser percentage then we do, but on the others hand paying of politicians can be expensive. Not to sound bitter, but it is very frustrating to see more and more land in the UP and in fact the US, become unaccessible to the public. Why is it that by wading the Salmon Trout (runs thought HMC) a risk for lawsuit and other rivers in Michigan with private bank holdings are not? Think you know the answer?

By walkabout on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 04:27 pm:

As I was ending my walk about I passed a camp where I was welcome in we sat and had lunch. Talked about life and people. He did not mine my walking by or pokeing along the old logging. We both enjoyed the afternoon. Oh and I do own land and if somebody gos for a walk on it and treats it as thier own I say In joy. As for the pokeing a round a locked house I dont think so.

By Yooper on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 06:58 pm:

Does anyone else have any more info or links on the Huron Mountain Club? I find this topic fascinating and would love to hear of any information anyone out there may have.

By Alex Tiensivu on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 07:18 pm:

Thanks for the Lift Bridge link! That was awesome! (I'm still looking for a still shot of it open, to add to my WebShots!) :)


By MEC, Michigan on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 07:35 pm:


Fred Rydholm's "Superior Heartland" has to be the single, most authoritative source of information on the Huron Mountain Club, as well as the region that contains it, that you will find. The photos alone make this two-volume set worth buying.

By Mary on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 10:41 pm:

Hey Alex,
Right here at the good old site there's a picture of the Joseph E. Block, passing under the bridge with it up nice and high!! :) It was posted on Aug. 20, 2001. Here's a link to that day:

By Alex Tiensivu, Georgia, Unfortunately on Saturday, September 7, 2002 - 02:59 pm:

Mary, Mary, Mary! How can I thank you! I now have my favorite bridge in WebShots... all the way up! Thanks so much! You've made my day.

By Mary on Saturday, September 7, 2002 - 03:39 pm:

Your welcome Alex! Glad to be of help. :)

By A.V. on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 11:07 am:

Here's a bit more about Huron Mountain Club, mentioned in the book "Enviro-Capitalists: Doing Good While Doing Well" by Terry L. Anderson and Donald R. Leal
Roman & Littlefield Publishers, 1997:

"We also visit the Huron Mountain Club in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. As virgin forests became increasingly scarce at the end of the nineteenth century, recreationists began to discover the beauty of the Huron Mountain region, located on the Lake Superior side of the Upper Peninsula near the Pine River.

One of these wilderness enthusiasts, Horatio Seymor of the Marquette-based Michigan Land and Iron Company, envisioned establishing a private club that would offer such amenities as hunting, fishing, and camping. The organization, initially named the Huron Mountain Shooting and Fishing Club, was established in 1897.

Since the continued solvency of the organization was dependent upon the health of the woods and wildlife on its land, preservation was taken seriously. The club limited the amount and types of development on its land and even enlisted the services of Aldo Leopold to make recommendations on how to best manage the Club's environmental assets.

As a result of the organization's foresight and stewardship, the Huron Mountain Club continues to be a wilderness gem, as well as the steward of one of the last tracts of untouched climax maple-hemlock forest in the Midwest."

By A.V. on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 11:09 am:

One more blurb about the Huron Mtn. Club, this from an environmentalist Web site talking about private efforts in conservation:

...."On a smaller, more private scale is the hundred-year history of the Huron Mountain Club on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The club was established on November 29, 1889 with 7,000 acres and $5,000 capital generated from the sale of member shares and annual dues initially set at $100 and $25, respectively.

John Longyear, the club's first president and a prosperous land dealer, steered the club through its first three years. He was a practical man who recognized that the "serenity of woods and lakes and fish-filled streams" were growing scarce. Therefore, they offered a profit opportunity. It was no coincidence that he owned the only means of transportation to the Huron area, a steamship, and several parcels of land near the Club's boundaries.

Over the last seventy years, the Huron Mountain Club evolved from a hunting and fishing club to a secluded forest retreat complete with member-owned cabins.

In the process, it has also become an important natural preserve for old-growth forests and rare fauna, containing one of a few large tracts (over 5,000 acres) of undisturbed maple-hemlock forests. The club has become an important natural area study for the University of Michigan and other scientific researchers."

By RB on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 10:02 pm:

My folks both worked for the HMC, talked of Henry Ford guesting on one of the ore freighters in his company fleet to Marquette and meeting there with his chauffeur (who had driven up from Detroit with his auto)for the ride to the club. I think I am the only one in my family who didn't work there. As far as I know the guards weren't armed though they were rather insistent that you leave the property and it was all marked with a wire. I've heard stories of various guests throwing rocks into the rivers to scare fish away from fishermen who waded upstream in the rivers. Julie Harris (actress), A. B. Dick, the Dodge family and various others have homes/cabins there. If I remember the story right the Ford cabin is a forty room affair, but stories as to that are coming from 40 to 50 years ago in my memories. I do remember sneaking down a branch of the Salmon Trout River from the Northwest Rd. just past Dodge City and catching trout from below an old dam on the river while keeping an eye and ear open for the rivermen who patrolled the upper reaches. I also remember cleaning partridges for one of the guests the day after they were shot, very ripe, not what we'd put on our table.

By C.C.C., MI on Monday, November 4, 2002 - 02:08 am:

My family has owned property within the huron mountain club for several decades. My great grandfather purchased land from the HMC in the 1920's, several hundred acres. We aren't not members, but we do enjoy the security provided by the infamous "gate". As for the HMC, i have been to the "town" at the center of the preserve. All can say is that it is very very COOL. It's almost like entering a time portal to the past, except for the foreign sports cars and suvs. :)

By John McNally on Monday, November 11, 2002 - 05:05 pm:

I went to Northern Michigan University & enjoyed hiking & fishing a lot of the streams & rivers in North & West of big bay. With a friend I eventually purchased a cabin on Saux Head Lake (1/2 way to Big Bay and also private) across from Granot Louma Farm's property. One summer we took my Int. Scout left from (before) the HMC gate & went to the Salmon Trout falls many of you reference. They were an awesome sight that I recall often. I have no problem with the club's private ownership. I did hear the Evinrude family were also members. I get back that way every few years. You may like the movie Anatomy of a Murder whichs takes place in Big Bay. My friend's dad has a place on the Yellow river that his grandfather from Sweden hiked to with a woodstove he brought on the boat from Sweden & built. He talks about the McCormick flats a lot which I believe has something to do with Cyrus McCormick the inventor of the cotton gin. If you do visit the area I suggest you check out "Black Rocks" at Presque Isle park (Marquette) for great cliff diving, dead river falls for a great swimming hole & the train trestle. Marquette is a great small town especially in the summer!

By Keith Maniac on Saturday, November 30, 2002 - 03:07 pm:

This downstater worked briefly in Marquette about 20 years ago and became friendly with a person who had access to the HMC property. This person was the offspring of a longtime employee of the club and grew up a playmate of the children of the members, and thus knew many of them in adulthood. This person asked me one day if I would like to accompany him for a visit. Knowing somethimg of the club I knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I accepted. We stopped at the gate and after a couple of phone calls by the guards, we were passed thru. The compound itself is made up of turn-of-the-century wooden "cottages" with several community buildings (dining hall, etc.). We proceeded to the "cottage" of the friend and I was bored to tears as they remenisced about the shared childhood memories. The interesting part for me was the awesome beauty of the place. Virgin forests, beautiful mountains and pristene lakes. I would best describe it as a mini-Adirondack region. Sure wish I could go back on my own and poke around, but, of course, they own it and they want their privacy. Be happy to answer any questions about my adventure, just e-mail.

By Jim, Mt. Pleasant, MI on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 01:59 pm:

I've been reading this topic with great interest, and thought I'd pass along a quick link. Microsoft operates a site known as the TerraServer which provides access to aerial photographs of most of the U.S. - including the Huron Mountain Club. Check out the aerial photo of the HMC by going to this link: (cut & paste into your browser address bar), but note that this may take awhile to load over dial-up connections. The photo is a bit old (1981), but at least this gives the opportunity to see an overhead shot.

This focuses on the more developed area, but use the compass rose and resolution slider to adjust your view to pan the area or zoom out.


By Jim, Mt. Pleasant, MI on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 02:26 pm:

Whoops! Looked at the wrong date... the TerraServer Photo is from 1992. Sorry about that.

By MQT, MI on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 09:52 pm:

Who know a little wooded area north of us would create such interest for you people. Huron Mountain club is very nice, but I hate to break it to you. It looks just like the rest of big bays wooded area's. :) Your leer jet that lands at MQT airport is owned by Loma Farms(Granit Loma) owner. A buisness man from chicago. Fred does do great books and is a interesting historian.

By K. Flippin on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 06:18 pm: a yooper who had been transplanted to Chicago, I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to visit the HMC to photograph a wedding. It was wonderfully quaint...a small compound of 20+ log cabins with a main common building. It seemed like a wonderful place where city-goers could get away and enjoy the outdoors. Lots of boats, walkways, trees, and very friendly habitants...I did have to pre-register with the guard at the beginning of the road in and then check in with the "front desk" once I arrived at the compound itself (on which was a letter addressed to Sandra Day O'Connor). Other than that bit, one might not know that the place was anything but a group of family cabins.

After realizing what a fascination many people have with the place, I feel as though I'm a member of the elite club that "got in".

Thanks for the pictures!

By Aaron, Saginaw, Mi on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 04:43 pm:

While attending NMU in Marquette, I had a buddy who worked up at the Huron Mountain Club as a carpenter. I think his job required him to replace outer window moldings, which were made of branches collected around the property. One day he informed me he was allowed to bring a guest up once a year. He knew how much I liked fishing and how interested I was in the HMC so he asked me to come up for a day of fishing up there. I did, and let me tell you it was some of the best flyfishing for bass and pike I've ever seen. As a worker, he was only permitted to fish a few certain lakes, I think they were named Pine Lakes, and were fed by the river Styx. I couldn't believe the beauty up there. But then again, All of Marquette Co. is similar to that area, just not as private. I feel pretty privledged to visit such an exquisit and secretive place. I also feel privledged to attend college in such an awesome area as Marquette. I really miss it up there and hope to live up there again soon. This is a pretty cool site, I found it while researching info on the HMC

By jon lanse, mi. on Monday, January 6, 2003 - 01:52 pm:

the huron mountain club allows scientific study on their property.check the public is not allowed access,but on the other hand the land has been kept in a pristine condition.also the land surrounding the hmc is similar and open to the public although it is less accessible than most wild need a good map or a local to show you the access points.

By Andrea Viar on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 10:38 am:

Does anyone know the "addy" of C Fred Rydhom,Marquette,MI - the author of Superior Heartland? Also, does anyone wish to sell their set of Superior Heartland? I am a native of Negaunee, MI and had the pleasure of working one summer at the Huron Mountain Club as a nanny. Fantastic place.

By Frank, St. Charles IL on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 12:04 pm:

Andrea, there's one available at but it's not cheap.

By HMC Anonymous on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 05:26 pm:

Some of you may be interested in my experiences in the HMC 40 years ago . . .

Although I have not been to the Huron Mountain Club in years and no longer live in the area, I was once a very adventurous young lad growing up in Marquette County. Back then I quite often took stealthy hikes through out the HMC property. I have been to every lake and probably been down every trail in the Club. Once I even walked through the town at 3AM just to see what it was like -- as someone noted in another message it truly is like stepping back to 1900.

Although Mountain Lake is a beauty and the one most of you see in the photos that are available. Rush Lake is my favorite. It is very narrow and deep -- a faultline runs across the bottom of the lake. It is one of the deepest lakes in Michigan and I believe it still contains a rare species of Mackinaw Trout in its depths.

Cedar Creek is very pretty with many waterfalls. I remember seeing schools of large brook trout where the creek enters Mountain Lake. I understand poachers have ruined the creek and the large trout are not there anymore.

The thing I most vividly recall about the Club are the large dense stands of Hemlock. Walking underneath these trees was a real treat -- the fallen needles from years past were so thick that it was like walking on a sponge! In the Spring you would find sections in these groves were the deer had "yarded" the previous winter. The ground would be completely covered with their droppings.

For those of you that have concerns about safety in the backcountry I think I should share the following experiences with some of the large mammals.

Once in the HMC I saw a timber wolf and was happy to see it lope away from me uninterested. I understand there are even more wolves in the Club today as they have made quite a come back in the U.P.

I wasn't so luck with a black bear. I got treed once by a small bear along Mink Run. The bear kept me in the tree for two hours before it lost interest and left.

I also saw a Cougar run across a two-track road. This wasn't in the Club property, but nearby. I also saw another one cross U.S. 41 between Tioga Creek and the Covington turn-off. I understand there has been some debate about the presence of Cougar's in the U.P. A researcher at Michigan Tech has now scientifically settled the debate. She has proven through DNA analysis of cat droppings that there are several different cats roaming around.

Now here's where I may generate some distrust in my credibility, but the following is completely true . . . In October of 1977 I ran across wolverine tracks in the snow in a remote area south of the Club. People doubt me when I share this, but that's OK. I know what their unique tracks look like and am personally convinced that at that time there was still one wolverine around. Some of you will think that I had the tracks confused with a fisher or a small bear -- I was not confused!!

Sometimes I spent days in the HMC alone and would simply sleep under a tree in my clothes and eat whatever berries I could round up or fish I could catch.

I can attest that the property is actively patrolled by guards. I ran across their fresh tracks many times. I have also seen or heard them as I approached them or they approached me. They never did detect me as I quietly hid myself and I quickly learned that I would get caught if I didn't stay alert. I learned to avoid them by bushwacking my way around and staying off of Club trails.

Back then the guards were armed and carried radios to communicate between themselves and their base station. I hear they are still this way today. I know of people that have been aggressively chased down by guards. I have heard stories of people being caught, roughly treated, and escorted to the jail.

Yes, the HMC is a very beautiful and precious place. I am happy that such a place is in private hands and unaccessible to the public. If it where in public hands it would just get ruined like so many of our parks have been.

My advice to any modern day adventurers is to be VERY careful and honestly assess your capabilities in the backcountry. The best advice I can give is to respect the privacy of the HMC and stay off the property. If you do venture into the Club you had better darn sure know how to take care of yourself in the woods -- a person could really get into trouble in the HMC.

I would love to hear from others that may have had similar HMC adventures in their past. I am not providing my name or e-mail address as I feel it is best to protect my identity. Please share your experiences by posting a message. Anyone that has a question they would like to address to me can post a message directed to "HMC Anonymous". I occasionally check in on this site and review the postings.


HMC Anonymous

By SB, Chicago, Il on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 11:23 am:

I lived up in the UP of Michigan for almost 10 years, and spent a lot of time hunting, fishing, and camping up in the Marquette area, but it wasn't until my husband and I moved to Chicagoland that we got the opportunity to visit the Huron Mountain Club one weekend with friends who are members.

We were actually visiting the area because I was doing some work for Loma Farms (Granot Loma) at the time for the owner, Tom Baldwin, who is very well-known here in Chicago as the largest T-Bill trader on the exchange.

While the Huron Mountain Club is very nice, Loma Farms is nothing short of spectacular! I find it amazing that more people have not heard of it. It is located on its very own penninsula, consisting of 5,100 acres of land. Mary Pickford, George Gershwin, and Fred Astair are just a few of the celebrities who have been guests of this grandiose, lakefront, estate, which is actually the largest log cabin in the world, consisting of 20,000 square feet and 26 bedrooms. The estate was originally a working farm and also consists of 13 additional log structures, including a 2 story servant's quarters with 14 bedrooms, and an adjacent guest house with an additional 8 bedrooms. Oh, it is available for rental, at a cost starting at $10 grand per day! With that, you get all meals, and full use of all the property's vehicles, including 4 wheelers, kyaks, wind surfers, jet skis, snowmobiles, etc.

By JR, Mich on Sunday, June 8, 2003 - 02:58 pm:

My brother and I have recently became interested in gold prospecting. We live just south of the Mac Bridge but take trips in the summer up to the UP. We like to find small mountain streams for gold panning. I also love to fish for Brook Trout. It looks to me that the streams and lakes in the HMC would be ideal for both. Has anyone had experience with gold prospecting in that area?

By Matt M. Michigan on Saturday, July 19, 2003 - 02:37 am:

I've enjoyed reading everyone's stories about the HMC. For those interested in Fred Rydholm's Books, Superior Heartland, a paperback printing is in the works. Check this site, (under construction) for info on the books. A 2 CD collection of Fred telling stories about the early history of Marquette is available now. Email me for more info

By Anonymous, Michigan on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 08:33 pm:

Deer Friends,
Unfortunately you have all been fooled by the people who claim have been to the Huron Mountain Club. For many years now I have been working up there and have observed many things about this mystical place. The club is privately owned and is suppost to be unnaccessable to outsiders, but if you know someone who works there you can be invited up as a guest for the day. It is also true that the club is owned by rich people from around the country. But lets get real, the road to Big Bay and the Club is horrible, no one ever brings SUVS or BMWs to the club, in fact they drive cars that date back to the mid 1900's. NO JOKE!!!! The only need for transportation is to get to the clubhouse and back if you do not want to walk there.
The members are also very nice and not stuckup at all. Later

By C from Colorado on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 02:51 pm:

Coming from an individual who spent many of his best years growing up summer vacationing at HMC, many of the wild thories about the club are very humerous to read. Fred is a wonderful person, and I am glad to see his stories are in print. As for the club itself, it is a beautiful, pristine place that deserves to be left just the way it is. The last listing by Annonymous, Michigan said some very truthful remarks about the club, all of which were true. Guests are allowed, on Sundays if memory serves me correctly, so approach someone who works there and see it for yourself in a legal manner. The members are not mafia, but yes, many derived from familes of large wealth, but it takes a lot of financial backing to keep the club just the way it is.

By anonymous, MI on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 04:18 pm:

Well this is a bit of an interesting forum, I
am actually a member at the club, and quite
frankly the stories about the club are, if not
true, very entertaining. The stupid comment
about "very well armed guards" was amoung the
funniest. Each guard is issued a single handgun
for personal protection, and not a single bullet
has ever been fired at a person in the clubs
more than 100 years of existance. If you don't
like that, look at real cops who have shotguns
and clubs and pistols. Maybe you think guards
of officers should attempt to use harsh
language. Point of fact, the guards are
actually required to be very responsible. One
will actually be fired for misplacing his
weapon. Are the people of the club rich? Well
many are. Many are also NOT very wealthy. Take
that comment from my personal circumstances.
Most of the people there are quite friendly,
with an interest for preservation of land. The
reason the club is off limits is mostly to
restrict modern day technology. Four-wheelers,
dirt bikes, motor boats, and the like are all
quite enjoyable, but destroy the environment at
an astonishing rate of speed. Take Lake
Mitchell in downstate Michigan. The lake is
literally dead from the pollutants released by
motor boats. The lakes at the club are
non-motor lakes and, surprise, surprise, the are
in wonderful condition.

The air of superiority is without a doubt
present. It is undoubtably an attitude
instilled by much older generations, and is
actually withering more and more each year I
return. Do not be to quick to judge what you do
not know and do not understand. The speculation
and rumors set in place by locals up in the UP
are pure bullshit, to be specific.

On another note, I personally disagree with many
of the traditions set in place by the by-laws of
the club. Perhaps with the newly elected
president, new management, and dismissal of
stupid rumors surrounding the existance of the
club, people will realize that the special and
untouched beauty of the Huron Mountain Club is a
mirror of what once was, and with a little care,
what could be again.

By C-CO on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 05:03 pm:

To Anonymous:
Are you a River Rat or Beach Bum on Pine River Day? Here here on your remarks about the club. I miss it alot.

By anonymous, MI on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 11:11 pm:

Beach bums huh? I take it you're a rat. You got something against the bugs??? We kick your sorry butts every year! Just kidding, Pine river day's a great time. I won't be up for it this year, but who knows, maybe next year. I hear you on missing the property. It's only been about a month since my stay there this summer, but I'm missing it already....

By Mark O'Brien, MI on Saturday, August 2, 2003 - 09:31 am:

I'm a researcher at UM who has been to the
HMC almost every summer since 1984.
Usually a week's stay, which is never enough.
I published one of my recent studies on
dragonflies of the HMC this year, which wraps
up my research there, and I will miss my brief
visits there. The HMC members I have met
are deeply committed to the preservation of
the beauty of the property, and are nice
people. There are a lot of myths floating
around about the HMC, but it IS a private
reserve, and the owners are entitled to their
privacy. It is refreshing to be somewhere
without the whine of jet-skis, motorboats,
RV's, ORV's, etc. No trash, either. It truly is a
gem, and were it open to the public, it would
lose that special quality.
The waterfalls - especially on Mountain
Stream are fantastic.

By Dan on Saturday, August 2, 2003 - 12:16 pm:

Very interesting site!
I also have an interest in the HMC. Have never been there ,except to the guardshack for a very short discussion with the guard.(No revealing statements)
The tie to the U of MI makes the HMC very dedicated to keeping the area a pristine wilderness.

By AnonymousFL on Friday, August 8, 2003 - 02:48 pm:

Stumbled across this site and was quite interested as I spent every summer of my youth at HMC. It was wonderful.

As to the Ford story, it is quite true. In those days new members were voted on by the entire membership. My great-Grandfather cordially loathed Ford and blackballed his membershp. Subsequently, members were admitted by the executive committee and Ford was accepted.

He built a huge cabin with shaved logs of over 60 foot lengths. His wife, however, thought it would be a small cabin in the woods and was not happy there. His membership was shortlived.

In the old Ford cabin, I spent many pleasent evenings playing pool, drinking beer and salivating over the 2 beautiful daughters of the owner of that time and occasionally glimpsing the aurora borealis to the north over the Keweenaw penisula.

About 30 years ago, the plumbers at HMC removed a leadlined oak toilet from our cabin which I claimed. Thinking me crazy, they offered me another -- one removed from the old Ford cabin's master bath. It is today installed in my house with a small brass plaque stating that "Henry Ford shat here".

As to my Fred Rydholm stories -- he is/was a legend. And I was a beach bum.

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Saturday, August 9, 2003 - 08:29 am:

Dear Anonymous,

Fascinating story... do you have any photos from your early days at HMC? I'm sure our regular visitors would love to have a peek.

By Liz MI on Saturday, August 9, 2003 - 11:41 pm:

Well i got this e-mail from my sisters and i have to say it was quite a laugh. I grew up at the Huron Mtn. Club for nine years. My dad was the Head Chef and my mother the dining room supervisor. I do miss the club greatly though i get up there every so often but i do not miss the rumors such as some of these. It is a beautiful place and i hope it stays that way.

By AnonymousFL on Thursday, August 14, 2003 - 03:07 pm:

Fred Rydholm was an institution, not only at the HMC, but also in Marquette. He and his wife, June, ran the children's program at HMC for many years and both were well loved and respected.

He was a gifted story teller. One trained, I suppose, by growing up in the UP with the oral tradition.

When young, he would lead us on camping trips, and after dinner, by the fire he would tell ghost stories. I frequently would be so scared that I slept little. Years later I discovered that I was not awake alone -- most of my fellow campers were equally awake terrified by the snap and crackle of the squirrels which were in our minds the escaped mental patient or the rampaging bear which could not be killed.

It was only at about 20 years of age that I realized Fred's gift. He dropped by a party -- in fact in at the old Ford cabin. Begged to tell some stories he started. Two hours later, I realized that he had over 20 adults silent and as captivated as small children by his stories.

As an aside, I love the rumour but poachers have never been shot. And, at least in our minds, there were two types of poachers. Locals, who have always poached and the outsiders who scared us. Fire was and is a tremendous danger. The property is probably overgrown. Being that protected, it has had few fires. Conversely, this has allowed the forest to reach climax stage in areas and is useful as a tool to biologists and other researchers.

Locals, who know and understand the deep woods, respected that danger and were, if not welcomed, tolerated. I meet quite a few poaching and even shared a few dinners with them. They always left the woods undisturbed.

However, it was outsiders who do not understand the dangers who were feared and why there were patrols. All too many would not extinguish their campfires properly and also left trash, cigarette butts etc.

A final Fred story. I was about 12, around 1965, and I was driving with Fred in his truck. He stopped and took two pieces of board from the back of his truck and walked around and placed it in front. He drove about 20 feet, stopped and picked them up and placed them back in the truck.

Baffled, I asked Fred, what he was doing. Well, he said, we got together up here (in Big Bay) and decided we don't want a new state road. Brings tourists in you know. So we are all carrying boards so that we can drive over the cable on the road counting cars. Keep the count down.

I believe it worked too.

By teri, michigan on Friday, August 15, 2003 - 09:04 pm:

I just love reading the stories about Big Bay and the HMC. I have had the pleasure of meeting folks from HMC....every one of them was very pleasant....including the teenagers. As for the road and vehicles....I sort of agree, most of the vehicles I have seen driven by residents of the HMC are wrecks! I drive a nicer vehicle. But I will debate the condition of Mountain Club Road....I own land on that road and it isn't that least, not compaired to the Northwest Rd.!! Seriously, I don't know why folks are so hell bent on gaining access to the club. Get yourself a plat map and you will see thousands of acres of CFA land. This land is privately owned but open to the public (the land owner gets a tax break). There is plenty up there to keep you busy for many lifetimes. And then we can leave the folks at the club in peace. They have long protected that land from over-hunting, over-fishing, mining, etc and I thank them heartily for it. As for my isn't in the CFA program and I hesitate to enroll as I have seen how some people treat the land.....I have wetlands I protect with a passion but I have no problem sharing them with someone who can "take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints."

By teri, michigan on Friday, August 15, 2003 - 09:08 pm:

Oh..and, if anyone is interested, the Club is currently hiring guards for the front gate. The ad has been running in the Mining Journal for a week or so. I tried to get my husband to apply (he currently works for the Parish Family- Mrs. is the granddaughter of WE UpJohn and owns the Kalamazoo Air Zoo) but he thinks the job would be boring....


By I.J. on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - 12:59 pm:

I heard they have their own government and army

By Jake on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 05:45 pm:

HMC has no army. It's a vacation area filled with rich and powerful families. It's not a hunting club and the reason the security is so tightis because they don't want any poachers. I know ths becuase i have grown up in HMC and i do not at all enjoy the nasty rumors.

By CF on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 05:56 pm:

I am disturbed by some of the rumors going around about the HMC. I have grown up at HMC and it is a beautiful that I would hate to see destroyed be todays public. I would also like to thank the people who feel this is our business and people should stay out of it.

By fisherman, MI on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 01:21 pm:

HMC intrigues me because I am an avid trout fisherman. I understand that there are some rare trout species in the HMC lakes and streams. I am also very disappointed in the quality of most of Michigans streams (from a trouts perspective). Michigan used to be a trout fisherman haven. Not that long ago. I am only 42 and I can remember fishing in streams and catching my limit nearly everytime I went out. Now however, am am excited when I catch two or three small fish. It would be refreshing to again see a stream teaming with trout, even if I couldn't fish for them.

I do believe that the club is a good thing to have around, however, I have also seen topographical photos of the area and am somewhat concerned at the description of the motivations for the club as beeing strictly to keep the prestine nature of the property. The photos tell a different story. While there are vast areas that seem untouched, there are also vast areas that have been clear cut. One of the largest lakes looks to be completely cleared for 200 yards or more around most of the southern and eastern shores. It also appears that there has been recent logging through large parts of the property. The topo photos show large rectangular sand patches with roads/trails leading away which is exactly what logging compay activity looks like. The topo photos are of course some years old, but not decades. Also, along the Superior shore where most of the cabins are, it is far from untouched. While I admit, left in public hands, it would be much worse, the high road that most of the stories take as to the high ideals of all the clubs owners does not seem to be the whole truth. Like I said though, I do believe the land is better off in the clubs hands than it would be in public hands or even a limited use lands.

I would still much like to see the lakes and streams to see what my rivers and streams would look like if we hadn't destroyed them with overuse.

By Matt in mi on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 12:22 pm:

For those of you who have enjoyed Fred Rydholm's storytelling or books there is a web site with audio clips of his stories at There is a new printing of his books Superior Heartland, a back woods history, with accurate stories about the HMC, they should be out in a month or two. Here Here! to leaving the club in the vary capable hands of the club members.

By Dr. Tom, Wisconsin on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 01:30 am:

In response to Fisherman, Mi., your analysis of the topo maps of HMC contain some errors. There are no clear cut areas around the shores of any lake on HMC property. There are other lakes and properties in the surrounding area owned by three different lumber companies, and, yes, lumber companies have been known to clear-cut. All of the tracts of virgin timber on HMC property are protected from any type of cutting: clear-cut, selective, or otherwise. Why would scientists (like myself) from around the country be applying for the opportunity to conduct research on the property unless most of the property has been kept in "pristene" condition?

By dp, mi on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 12:48 am:

Hi there, i would like to add some comments on the HMC. First, not all the land inside the club is owned by the club, there are many private land owners there, my family has owned land inside the club for over 100 years. Second, as far as the guards go yes they are armed most of them are local police officers and we enjoy having them there, they often check on our camp for us and it gives us a piece of mind that they are there to keep people from breaking in stealing things. Third, as far as the members go, the few I have met over the years have been nice, when I was younger we where invited down to the club compound several times and it is very beutiful there. It is a well know fact that the club wishes there were no private camps there and over the years they have bought out several properties. As for all the people who want to trespass on the HMC land remember its against the law, the club guards are very good and know the land alot better than you and don't cry when you get caught and have to go to court. We as private owners are limited as to where we can go on club property, sometimes they relax the rules and give us more access, but Iam glad they are there to help preserve the land. Its also nice to be able to hunt somewhere without a ton of people walking around shooting at anything they hear. So if you want to go there, find someone who owns land there or works there so wont get in trouble or LOST.

By Beach bug, MI on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 08:25 am:

Fisherman, MI is correct about clear-cutting near
one of the Club's lakes - namely, Ives Lake;
however, that occurred before the Club acquired
the Ives Lake property in the late 1950's.
Originally, it was owned by J.M. Longyear, who
operated it as a farm, principally a dairy farm.
The barn and a couple of silos still
stand, and Longyear's handsome residence, the
Stone House, is currently used in the summertime
to house visiting scientists working on research
projects funded by the Huron Mountain Wildlife
Longyear's farm and dairy were named Emblagaard,
which I believe means Elm Garden in one of the
Scandinavian languages. There were magnificent
elm trees there, almost all of which fell to the
elm bark beetle.
Except for Ives Lake, there has been no clear
cutting near the shores of any of the Club's
lakes. In fact, the only clear-cutting ever done
by the Club was in a group of small aspen stands,
which were cut more than 20 years ago for the
purpose of grouse and deer habitat improvement,
pursuant to a recommendation by Dr. Gordon
Gullion. Ever since, this has been a
controversial subject among the members, except
for the grouse hunters.
I have only recently become aware of
It is gratifying to read so many comments which
understand and support the Club members' wish to
keep the property private.

By anonymous, on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 10:23 pm:

Wow I have heard some of the stories of the Club but to be honest I thought they were jokes. I am so please that a Member has stumbles across this Forum and straitened out some fact from all the fiction. I grew up on the Club from the time I was 2. I then worked there myself until last year when I moved on. I am now 28. My Father is one the few caretakers that live there year round. I am going to say that if you want facts the letter from anonymous,MI on July the 24th 2003 is one of the very few that is truth. The Members are really amazing people that I looked forward to seeing again year after year. The one thing besides the land that I admire so much is the history of families that only they know. Memories that hang on there cabin walls so far back that to just see them is a priceless gem. They are people just like everyone else I just think of them as really lucky to be where they are. They know this and thats why it remains a mystery to so many. There are days of great sadness for me I know one day I will not go back to the one place that has shaped my life so much. When that time comes I will always be happy knowing that the good old club is still ticking as it has for many years. Just the children I took care of for years are now the ones having children and caring for it as many of there forefathers have.

By SuperYooper on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 07:49 pm:

one good way to see the entire hmc property is get a summer job there. i worked there for 5 seasons and was able to fish all the lakes on the property. great fishing and hunting and last but not least ... great people

By curious, AL on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 07:37 pm:

Who knows about the mining proposal for the Yellow Dog Plains?

By anonymous on Friday, February 27, 2004 - 10:14 am:

curious, Al go to the web site and you will find out all the information on sulfide mining on the Yellow Dog Plains.

By curious on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 05:27 pm:

Does anyone really know what "stars" or famous folks that still belong to the HMC or spend time there?

By Anon Y. Mous, US on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 12:52 pm:

Armed guards, politics, wealth, stars and fancy cars...
oh, my! The origin of HMC dates back well before any
of us living were born. If you seek a complete history,
locate one of Fred's books for an accurate account.
HMC, founded as a sportsmans club, has since
become a haven for naturalists, members and scientists
alike. Members who preferred the country club taste of
life were phased out by the ecologically concious long
ago. The percentage of members and associates who
are actively involved in local, national and international
envoronmental protection probably exceeds two thirds
while much of the remainder still have pacifiers in their
mouths. Some families are large spanning several
living generations while others are quite small. Some
are wealthy. Others can barely afford to stay. No stars,
sorry, but there are lawyers, artists, writers, carpenters,
professors, doctors, business people... The folks care
deeply about the land and preserving it as well as the
life it sustains. They have volunteered their property to
reintoduce endagered species many times. They are
patient and even tolerant in some cases when the
inevitability of poaching becomes an issue, and it is
also true they know the law and will protect the land
appropriately when it is seriously threatened - no one
has been buried up to their neck in an ant hill for at
least five years. Contrary to rumor, most guards who've
walked the pines for decades have yet to unholster a
firearm. In general, most have demonstrated respect
and there are few complaints. No clear cutting. Minimal
thinning of jack pine (a few acres on a test basis) near
the compound to reduce threat of wildfires, which has
not been repeated. Microbursts along the coast do
flatten the pines in large swaths from time to time. HMC
has tried valiantly to acquire the land being logged and
will very likely until the day the loggers pack up and
move to our neck of the woods. Their pockets are not
bottemless, Hoffa is not hiding out there and there is no
political payroll. Ford was interested in the Mt.
Bennison hardwood for his automobiles. Subsequent
attempts to harvest by others were unsuccessful. That
was a long time ago and the land was recently
acquired by HMC and is protected from logging forever.
The current and quite serious threat is Sulfide Mining,
particularly at the head waters of the Salmon Trout by
the Kennecott mining company which will destroy one
of the UP's most prestine rivers. This will devastate the
river and have profoundly negative affects on every
adjacent cummunity especially those along the SE
coast of Superior. ( HMC's
noteworthy involvement to block this effort and many
similar, successful actions spanning more than a
century have benefitted more than its members. The
picture is bigger than what most appear to understand
in the absense of fact which admittedly is hard to come
by. So perhaps it's time to stop criticising our neighbors
and acknowledge the positive contribution they have
and will likely continue to make. Native Americans
regarded the Huron Mountain range a sacred place. It's
rumored local tribal Elders expressed deep
appreciation for the manner in which HMC members
have treated and preserved it. Everyone's got their own
spin but that's good enough for me.

By Fred on Thursday, March 25, 2004 - 11:20 am:

Hear! Hear!

By Marilyn, Michigan on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 12:33 pm:

Hi I am so thrilled to find this site. I have been searching for years of photos of the Loma Farms. When I was a little girl, my Grandparents were the caretakers of the Loma Farms and upkept it up for what seemed a long period of time. I & my Grandparents are natives to the U.P. I remember the grand size of the buildings and the beauty of the view off the porches as we rocked in rockers and snapped green beans for dinner. I also remember the hounds they had that was at at one time was used for fox hunting.The lighting rods they had on each of the buildings were taller than I. At that time I was only 10 or 11 years of age. I was there back in the early 70's. I also found out recently with talking to relatives that both my Grandparents grew up there. If anybody has any pictures of the Loma Farms or knows a way that I may reach the owners to get a chance to walk down memory lane. Please contact me. my email address is I am disabled now and would like to share a important piece of my past with my children. I would like to get a picture of the home my Grandparents stayed so that I may woodburn it on a plaque for my children so they pass it on . So I would again be grateful for any help. Thank you. And thank you, for all the wonderful stories you all have shared.

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