Pictured Rocks marks 50 years as landmark

We’d like to add our voice to a well-deserving chorus of “Happy Birthdays” being directed toward the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The site, a part of the U.S. National Park System, turns 50 this year.

If you’re a history buff, the 73,000-acre Pictured Rocks offers a varied and diverse history. The general location was frequented by Ojibwa Indians but in 1820, white explorers initially visited the area. In the coming decades, they were followed by other federal and state explorers.

Some years after that business concerns, including Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. and logging interests, bought land in and around what is now the park.

According to park histories cited in a recent Mining Journal story, then-CCI President William G. Mather purchased Grand Island where several lodges and other structures were built.

That opened the way for developing the tourism base, which does much to sustain the area to this day. In 1972, Pictured Rocks was officially added to the National Park System after a 1966 law established the site. The rest, as the saying goes, is a matter of history.

According to NPS records, nearly 750,000 people visited the location last year, in search of natural beauty and solitude.

Pictured Rocks has an abundant supply of both. From the very beginning, Pictured Rocks has been an outstanding tourist destination, an economic engine that does much to sustain Alger County and the central Upper Peninsula.

We look for that to continue well into the future.

-Marquette Mining Journal