International Dark Sky Week – 2023 Proclamation by the Governor

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) holds the International Dark Sky Week each year to put focus on minimizing light pollution, and for people to understand the beauty and the benefit of the dark skies. This year International Dark Sky Week is April 15-22, 2023.

In the state of Michigan, the governor has made a proclamation this year that April 15-22, 2023 is DARK SKY WEEK in Michigan.

And the resolution SR-30 offered by Senators Lindsey and Bayer and adopted on April 13, 2023.  [ pdf ]

As part of International Dark Sky Week, we will be holding the 2023 Upper Peninsula Dark Sky Festival, April 21st and 22nd, 2023.


Interview with Amy Bory: Participating in the Great Bear Chase

This year, one of the KML team members, Amy Bory, participated in the 2023 Great Bear Chase. Amy was interviewed afterwards to provide how she enjoyed participating in the event — an event that the Lodge is a supporting sponsor of, along with multiple other organizations in the Keweenaw.


Why did you decide to participate in the Great Bear Chase this year?

I love skiing, and it was a mental and physical challenge. I wanted to know that I can do it.  I had participated in the Great Bear Chase 26 years ago (in 1997), when I was in high school. Now that I am older, I wanted to see if I could do the longer distance. It was an accomplishment. My goal was to make it to the finish line, and I was able to do that.

The event has multiple races. Which race did you participate in?

I participated in the 25km (16 miles) free style race. The free style race has skis that are longer, thinner, and have a blade edge. It is comparable to skate ski — a Nordic classic.

There were around 200 skiers, coming from different states (as there were cars in the parking lot from multiple states). At the start line, there were 3 corrals and 3 lines — very similar to a running marathon start. It made the start like a zoo. So I once I made it to the top of the first hill, I pulled to the side and let the other participants pass. Then I followed up behind to enjoy the 25km at my own pace.

Did you have a support team to cheer you on?

Yes, my family joined me to see at starting and to see me finish. They held signs with decorations that were encouraging. A beautiful day on skis.



14th Copper Dog 150 is this weekend

This weekend the 14th Copper Dog 150 is being held.

The race starts in downtown Calumet on the evening of Friday, March 3, 2023. The dog sled teams will get to Eagle Harbor in the evening. Then on Saturday, March 4, 2023, the teams will race from Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor. And on Sunday, March 5, 2023, from Copper Harbor to Eagle Harbor. This is for the 150- race. The event also has 3 other races this year, the 80, 30, and new this year, the 15.

Dates: March 3-5, 2023

You can watch the CopperDog starts and finishes live using Zoom (new this year) or Facebook Live.

We are one of the supporting partners of the event, as we believe in what the event stands for, and that it supports outdoor activities in the Kewenaw.

New Donation Application Process Implemented

We receive a number of donation requests from organizations and individuals throughout the year. And we are very intentional in who we partner with, which is based upon our values and what we stand for at the Lodge. Thus, we have recently implemented a donation application process, where we ask organizations / individuals to complete a basic form that outlines the request and the reason for the request.

When we evaluate a donation request, this helps us first focus on how the requesting organization and the purpose of the donation fits our value system at the Lodge. Secondly, it helps us focus on how the event relates to what the Lodge is focused on. which is outdoor activities, rustic worldly food, and education. From there we ask more specific questions to better understand the event. 

We have contributed to various organizations and causes over the past several years, We are reevaluating them to make sure they fit our values and that our donation process will be beneficial to help us follow those values with those organizations that we support.

Staying with Private Dinners in the Dining Room, and Offering Winter Take-out Dinners in the Little Cabin Cafe

As we embark on 2023, we would like to share with our guests two important things in regards to our dining services at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.

  • Continuing to focus on private dinners in the dining room
  • Providing winter take out meal for lodging guests

Private Dinners in the Dining Room

Starting June 2022, and going strong into 2023, the Lodge initiated a unique dinner experience and switched completely to only “Private Dinners at a Prix Fixe” in the dining room. This is a European-style private dining experience offered exclusively in the historic dining room of the Lodge. The June decision had us operate the dining room fully as a private dinner location. This decision has been a wonderful decision.

For this unique private dining experience, the entire lodge building closes at 6pm, and transforms into a private enclave for the private diners. This provides a quiet atmosphere on the resort property (learn more about our quiet park initiative), where a maximum of 12 people per night can have dinner can experience the limited menu and slow food concepts. No where else can you have an entire WPA-era Lodge to yourself.

For those who experienced this dining style at the Lodge, they have understood the concept of the change and have embraced the experience it brought them. They have come as guests, and left as friends. This is due to the food being genuine and authentic cuisines from different cultures — rustic worldly food. As well, having a maximum of 12 people per evening in the dining room, the chef having a keen interest and attention to every guest, and the chef being creative and passionate about food (she creates a new menu each week, providing uniqueness and quality) has led to positive experiences.

[ see more food photos ]

The staff has also been able to enjoy the operations much more, as we have customers that appreciate life, respect other — leading to a fun.joyous.adventuresome experience for both the guests and the KML team.

Winter Take-out Meals

Starting December 15th, 2022, we saw the need to offer cabin guests with hot dinners considering limited dining options during the winter time at the top of the Keweenaw. We launched our complimentary take-out dinners for our cabin guests with the goal to provide a nice, rotating hot dinner that will be enjoyed in the cabins by a warm fireplace, creating memories and sharing stories, while also simply breathing in all that nature has to offer. The take-out dinners are being provided by the Little Cabin Cafe.

Learn more about the winter take-out meals that we are offering during the 2022-2023 winter season.

The Little Cabin Cafe continues to be open every day of the week to the general public from 8am to 5pm, offering breakfast burritos in the morning, and one food lunch item based upon what the chef has created that day. In addition, the cafe continues to offer specialty coffee, snacks, and beverages — juices, sodas, craft beer, and wine.



John Mueller, now full time at the Lodge and looking at the 2023 operations

After being the interim general manager at the Lodge since January 2019, John Mueller has now decided to focus full time on the Lodge. He has resigned from his professorship position at St. Edward’s University (in Austin, Texas) to be able to devote his full attention on the Lodge. As a result the “interim” tag is removed.

Below are John’s words about the decision to focus full-time on the Lodge at this time:

I want to wish everyone a happy new year, and may 2023 be a prosperous year for all.

2022 was a good year for us at the Lodge, as we continued to build upon what we have done the previous couple of years to be a four-season (year-round) resort at the top of the Keweenaw focused on outdoor activities, rustic worldly food, and education. In 2022, we continued to be tight on staff. However, we adjusted our services accordingly to make sure that we are all still enjoying and appreciating life (which is one of our secondary values), while still offering quality services and products based upon our brand/image.

As we continued this past year to adjust our services based upon the ideal level of team members, my role in the organization has evolved to fill multiple gaps. We had several untimely departures of staff during 2022, with most of them going onto opportunities that offered growth in their career — which is wonderful to see. We had several members join the team in 2022 that provide a joyous attitude, and contribute greatly to the roles and responsibilities at the Lodge. And the core team at the Lodge continues to be a stable ground for the Lodge operation, and provide leadership and results.

Even with the core team at the Lodge, we still have gaps to fill. As such, more and more of my time was being required at the Lodge. Thus, I made the decision to resign my faculty position at St. Edward’s University (Austin) and to focus full time on the Lodge operations in 2023. My last day at the university was yesterday, December 31st.

With me focusing full time on the Lodge operations, I will be working over the next several months with team members on some organizational structure changes. Thus, there will be some changes with operations in terms of roles and responsibilities as we look to how we are going to operate in 2023. For example, the first change is that the “interim” tag on my role has been removed….and now it is just “Chief Lead” [ that is, if we were using titles; however, we focus more on what our roles and responsibilities are as team members, not titles ].

Thank you all for the support this past year, and may 2023 be a fun, joyous, and adventuresome year. We know how to do that, so let’s continue to focus on our core values, our desired brand/image, and being sustainable financially. This will give us the best opportunity to be proud in what we do at the Lodge, and continue to do fun and exciting things at the resort. Being a member of the Lodge team is special and none of us take that for granted. Go Team KML!!!

About the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge: The Lodge is a four-season historic resort at the top of the Keweenaw, focused on outdoor activities, rustic worldly food, and education. The year-round resort consists of log cabins, a lodge, dining services, access to mountain biking, running, and hiking trails, and a 9-hole golf course. The resort has been a fixture in the Keweenaw since breaking ground on the project in 1934 as part of a WPA program, providing guests with the opportunity to enjoy a fun, joyous, and adventuresome experience among the pristine natural beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — with the Lodge being on the National Register of Historic Places. Guests can play a round of golf, ride the mountain biking trails, hike through the woods, and take a leisurely stroll to/from the cabins and the Lodge. At the end of the day, one can relax in the Lodge by enjoying quality food and drink.

November 3, 2022: Dark Sky Light Management Workshop Recap

We held a workshop on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022 that covered the dark sky park designation process and light management, which led to a discussion about what the Lodge is doing to foster dark-skies in the Keweenaw.

The Lodge has been working to reduce it’s light pollution on the dark sky for the past several years. KML’s John Mueller has been responsible for the international dark sky park designation, and working with team members on light management and inventorying the lighting at the Lodge. As part of that activity, he has been able to see where the Lodge has been able to achieve designation and continuing to improve both lighting and energy efficiency. This has helped move the Lodge forward with the International Dark Sky Park designation application that is currently being reviewed by the International Dark-Sky Association.

In this workshop, John went through the process of achieving the designation to give the attendees a perspective of where the Lodge has come from with the designation, as well was what makes the Keweenaw and the Lodge so special — including for stargazing. He went through the effects that artificial light has on one’s environment, and then what the Lodge team has been doing to decrease light trespassing and pollution in the park and at the top of the Keweenaw. 

Here is a bullet point of the topics covered:

  • Brief Lodge/Keweenaw history and background
  • International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) background info
  • Process that the Lodge followed to achieve the international dark sky park designation
  • Defined Light Pollution, its varieties (glare, cluster, light trespass, and skyglow), and explained the effects of light pollution on the environment (fireflies, sea turtles, birds and insects specifically), as well as the negative effects on humans.
  • IDAs various requirements for outdoor lighting
  • The Lodge’s strategy for choosing our dark sky lighting and our lighting management plan
  • Q&A

The recording of the workshop can be viewed via the link below. 

The slide deck used during the workshop can be viewed by clicking on the image below.

[ Download the the slide deck ]

About the Instructor: John Mueller

John is the interim General Manager at the Lodge, and spearheaded the Lodge’s International Dark Sky Park application. He is intimately involved with implementing dark sky park initiatives at the Lodge, including the light management. 

Transition to Winter Outdoor Activities for the 2022-2023 Winter Season

At the Lodge, we are now transitioning to the 2022-2023 winter season. The leaves have all fallen from the trees (as we pick them up around the Lodge), the first snow has fallen (albeit, melted away), and the Outdoor Activities Center has transitioned to it’s winter location (in the Banquet room).

This means we are focusing on making sure the cross-country ski trails and snowshoe trails are cleaned up (doing some stump grinding and removing of downed limbs), the rental equipment is in good order (snowshoes and Alta Skis), and the crew rejuvenated after a strong summer/fall season. In addition, we are working on fixing and upgrading our grooming equipment (Gator groomer, Ginzu repairs). We are going to be ready for the winter season at the Lodge.

Here is a video produced by Visit Keweenaw by Aaron Peterson Studios to highlight the winter outdoor activities in the Keweenaw.

Adventure North!!

….and experience the snow activities: downhill skiing (at Mt. Bohemia and Mont Ripley), cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow biking, ice climbing, and snowmobiling at multiple areas around the Keweenaw.

In addition, there is stargazing — which happens year-round.

Showing the Photos from the 2022 Keweenaw Photo Contest

This past spring we held the a 2022 Keweenaw Photo Contest, with the photos selected to be hung in the cabins, printed on wood from Unrefined Art in Niles, Michigan.

We listed the winners in an earlier post, but we did not show the photos. Here are the photos, and where we currently having the photos being printed and will hang them in the cabins once we receive them from Unrefined Art.

  • Nathan Frazier: Quincy Dredge No. 2

  • Nathan Frazier:  Rainbow Over Bare Bluff [ Cabin 10 ]

  • Chris Guibert: Eagle River Falls [ Cabin 1 ]

  • Chris Guibert: Lac La Belle [ Cabin 11 ]

  • Joe Hall: Milky Way over Eagle Harbor Marina [ Cabin 12 ]

  •  Joe Hall: Northern Lights seen from Brockway Mountain [ Cabin 7 & 17 ]

  • Jim Hay: Eaglet at Gratiot Lake [ Cabin 3 ]

  • Nicholas Jensen: Copper Harbor Lighthouse [ Cabin 17 & 22 ]

  • Margret Keats: Ice Wave [ Cabin 24 & 25 ]

  • Nathan Miller: Ice Walk at McClain State Park [ Cabin 4 ]

  • Frank Mittelstadt: Boreal Owl at Mount Bohemia

  • Rob Mohn: Fall Colors from the top of Brockway Mountain [ Cabin 5 & 14 ]

  • Chelsea Murawski: US 41 in Mandan [ Cabin 9B & 16 ]

  • Bill Parthun: Horseshoe Bay Waves [ Cabin 2 & 19 ]

  • Jeremey Rodriguez: Hunter’s Point [ Cabin 15 & 20 ]

  • Jeremey Rodriguez: Swedetown [ Cabin 4 & 23 ]

  • Jeremy Rowe: Northern Lights at Agate Harbor [ Cabin 6A ]

  • Christopher Schmidt: Lightning Storm over Lake Superior [ Cabin 9A ]

  • Mark Upton: Pancake Ice at 5 Mile Point [ Cabin 8B & 18 ]

  • Cassandra Wagner: Fall at the top of Mount Ripley [ Cabin 6B & 18 ]


Thank you to all the photographers that submitted their photos in the 2022 Keweenaw Photo Contest. It was wonderful reviewing them, and being able to have quality photos from so many. We look forward to hanging this year’s woodprints in the cabins before the end of the year.

We also had a Keweenaw Photo Contest in 2019. You can view those woodprints here.

Woodprints by Unrefined Art

Golf 2022 Season Recap

Saturday, October 15th was the last day of the 2022 golf season. We had a wonderful golf season, with outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the fun. joyous. adventuresome atmosphere of a resort course in the wilderness. A dry summer with little rain had our team working the irrigation system to keep the course in great shape. The golf course approximately 3 inches of rain from June 1st to September 15. We finally had some late seasonal rains brought the whole course back to lush green in October. The Outdoor Activity Center (OAC) and golf course maintenance crews did an excellent job providing a unique experience for people playing this historic course.

As with 2021. there were multiple reports that “the course is in the best condition they I’ve ever seen” have been common all season.

The Outdoor Activity Center (OAC), was staffed every day of the season, utilizing the historic cabin structure next to hole 1 tee box. Our rounds were down from previous years; however, our revenue was around the same as previous years for golf — while providing 15-minute tee-time intervals so that individuals do not feel rushed. Our goal is not to increase the number of rounds, but to provide a fun, joyous, and adventuresome experience for golfers. Thus, we are happy when we are seeing that one of our biggest compliments from golfers is that they are able to enjoy a quality wilderness experience at the top of the Keweenaw. Wonderful! We are trying to get people closer to nature, including when they are walking and playing the golf course. 

The golf course opened on June 1st, with the OAC operating 9am – 5pm for the entire season. We scaled back the hours (previous year was 8am – 6pm), and this change had a positive result with maintaining the golf course and providing golfers with a quality experience. Golfers were still able to check in for their tee times at the OAC and make tee times via our online tee time system (provided by Lightspeed Golf).

We managed the operations throughout the season so we could provide optimum customer service. With our first tee time each day being 9am, and our last tee time 5pm, we were able to staff the activity center with team members that could answer questions about the golf activities, as well other activities (e.g., biking and hiking).

The OAC staff catered to our qualities in being a historic wilderness resort that focuses on providing an outdoor experience. We have incorporated being fun, joyous, and adventuresome by introducing alternative forms of golf to the Keweenaw (e.g. FlingGolf and Disc Golf), we have freshened up our merchandise offerings, and enhanced the experience for our customers overall.

Starting in the 2020 season, we made the decision to be a resort-oriented golf course. This meant no longer holding tournaments, having memberships available, or golf cart storage. This decision was made so we did not have resources being diverted from our primary reason of operations — being a resort (as opposed to a country club). This allowed us to focus on our primary target market – the guests that stay at the resort.

As with the previous two years (2020 and 2021), this year we continued to see people stay in cabins, and have both their golf clubs and their bikes with them. They would ride in the morning, and play 9-holes in the afternoon. Or they would play golf one day, and ride and/or hike the next day. Having biking and hiking trail access from the property, and a golf course out their cabin door, allows Lodge guests to easily take advantage of what the Keweenaw and the Lodge have to offer without having to use their cars.

The E-Z-GO RXV ELiTE carts continue to be a strong addition to the quietness at the resort, and providing golfers a new experience for getting around the course at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. These carts are powered with Samsung SDI Lithium Technology batteries, providing golfers excellent mobility without sacrificing the wilderness golfing experience. Each EZ-GO ELiTE was also equipped with GPS technology which allowed us to prevent the carts from driving on greens, tee boxes, or through the rough, which helped us maintain the condition of those sensitive areas, as well as the carts themselves. [read more about our fleet, here]

Last season, we brought in a new technology to focus on how the sport was started – walking a round of golf. However, this year we had technical difficulties with the Tempo Walks (Club Car’s robotic caddie), and they did not go out on the golf course (we are working with Club Car on getting this back on the golf course in 2023 so that golfers can enjoy the Lodge golf course while walking the wilderness of the Keweenaw. [ read more about our Tempo Walks, here ]

Even though the Tempo Walks did not work for us this season, we did see an increase in people walking the golf course and using the CaddyTek EZ-Fold Pushcarts.

And our Callaway club rentals continued to be a solid addition to providing golfers the ability to play quality clubs.

Our golf course maintenance crew did an exceptional job this season keeping the course in great shape, especially since we had staff members leave before and during the season, and we had a limited amount of rain during most of our playing season (approximately 3 inches of rain from June 1st fo September 15th). The core crew worked exceptionally hard to irrigate and mow the turf keep the turf in good shape.

Long-time golf course superintendent, Bill Alband, retired at the end of the 2021 season. However, he was willing to help out in 2022 on a part-time basis this season (marking his 27th year working at the Lodge). This was very important for the golf course maintenance crew as the person that was hired to fill Bill’s shoes left before the golf course opened for the season. This meant that Bill spent the summer teaching John Mueller the ins-and-outs of nuances for maintaining the Lodge course (i.e. co-superintendents). Long-time Lodge team member, Ron Koski, did a wonderful job keeping the grass mowed, with the help of seasonal help (Aidan and Mason).

We strive to have the greens in excellent shape, good tee boxes, and decent fairways. We were able to accomplish that with the golf course maintenance crew. This is evident in the positive responses we received from golfers.

Now that the season has come to a close, the grounds crew is preparing for the upcoming winter in order to prevent snow mold and other casualties that could possibly harm the course in the future.


Fling Golf

This season we continued to offer guests the opportunity to play FlingGolf – think golf, but using a Lacrosse stick to throw the ball instead of hitting it with a club.  We had an array of FlingSticks available for rent a t the OAC. Not only was FlingGolf fun and family friendly, it allowed for a unique alternative to golf, broadening our options to guests. We received regular, positive feedback from guests as well as staff on how much fun FlingGolf is at the Lodge. 

Wildlife and Nature on the Golf Course

An aspect of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge’s golf course that is regularly commented on by guests is the likelihood of seeing wildlife on and around the course. Whether it be crows sounding a “wake-up alarm” around the cabins, painted lady butterflies feeding on nectar from the viburnum planted in front of the lodge, deer eating apples from the apple tree along the Hole 4 fairway, or the occasional black bear that strolls through our campus, one-on-one encounters with wildlife really emphasize for people the surrounding wilderness landscape and connect them personally with our environment. These are just a couple of the many examples of wildlife encounters around and on the golf course this past season. 

A pair of Sandhill Cranes nested on the course again this year. Their nest was not successful; however, they remained on the course throughout the season until they migrated south. They became very accustomed to the golfers and golf carts and provided some great opportunities for photos. 

A pair of Merlins (a type of small falcon), nested in a pine tree between Holes 8 and 9 this season. They successfully fledged three young. A windstorm in early September forced them out of their nest because a large branch fell through it. Fortunately, the young were developed enough to fly and all survived.

As usual, there continues to be a healthy population of squirrels and chipmunks on the property. Near the end of the summer, an immature red-tailed hawk discovered this fact and took up temporary residence near the OAC. It was, on multiple occasions, seen gliding low among the trees, then snagging an unsuspecting chipmunk or squirrel for its meal.

We recognize the value of maintaining healthy ecosystems and getting the chance to encounter wildlife in such ways. To help protect our environment while preserving the natural heritage of the game of golf, the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge has joined the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf (ASCP-Golf). ASCP-Golf is an education and certification program developed by Audubon International to help enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency, and minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations. The ASCP-Golf program takes stock of and then develops a plan for improvement around six key environmental components: Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management, and Outreach and Education.

While much of our effort to gain this certification will occur without much notice by guests. When you visit us over the next year there are some aspects you might see. For instance, we have already started an effort to convert some of the areas of rough to help local pollinators and aid in Monarch butterfly migration by planting native wildflowers and grasses. If you see work being done on the course and are not sure what it is, please ask. We are very excited to talk about the future of the ASCP-Golf at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.

Looking Forward: The 2023 Season

Looking forward to the next season, here are several items we will be focusing on in 2023:

  • Continue to promote exercise / walking, by carrying one’s bag, using a pull cart, or using a Tempo Walk 
  • Increase the awareness and activity of Speed golf on our golf course
  • Evaluate, design, and implement a Foot Golf course
  • Increase the awareness of the wildlife and nature associated with the golf course
  • Moving through the process of becoming a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Golf Course

Until June 1st next year, the golf course is now closed and being put to sleep for the winter.