MICHIGAMME — The benefits and concerns about the Eagle Mine in Marquette County were discussed Saturday.

The Concerned Clergy of Marquette held an event for mine opponents to discuss how the Yellow Dog Plains have changed in the past decade.  County Road AAA was once one of the most remote, popular and scenic dirt roads in Marquette County.

Locals say it now resembles a superhighway.

Another issue is the uncovered huge slag pile with rock from the mine tunnel.  The pile is as tall as the centuries old Native American religious site named Eagle Rock.  The site was blasted to create the portal to the mine.

“It’s just like, whew, whew, I can’t live like this,” said longtime mine opponent and Yellow Dog Plains resident Cynthia Pryor.  “I can’t do this anymore.  It is because they had just opened the highway and all I could hear (was the trucks going) wheem–ba, wheem–ba, wheem–ba [Pryor gestures her hand back and forth to simulate passing mine trucks].  The raging grief about what has happened to this place (Yellow Dog Plains).”

“Don’t forget about this place,” Pryor said about the plains.  “This place calls for our feet dancing and the sound of our voices singing.  When you sing and you dance, when you beat a drum (claps to simulate drum).  You don’t hear that [referring the mine noises].”

Chauncey Moran, who has walked thousands of miles of Upper Peninsula streams, said the mine debate and saving the environment still leaves opportunity and hope.  “There is a lot of vacant land out there. where the trees were cut down,” he said.  “I have lived long enough to have never seen anything so tragic, so egregious, and yet so hopeful.”

At the same time, the interfaith group sponsored the planting of $21,000 native plant seedlings to help repair copper mining damage at the Sand Point Brownfield Cleanup Site along Lake Superior.  Planting volunteers included KBIC residents, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute and interfaith EarthKeepers II (2) Student Team from Northern Michigan University.

The mine event continued Saturday night with a candlelight service at Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette.