MARQUETTE - The Nature Conservancy was given 480 acres surrounding Echo Lake late last year, ensuring that the land and the lake will remain available for passive recreation and those who want to get out to experience the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula.
Thanks to a group from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Marquette, it's now easier to experience the beauty of Echo Lake.
Recently, the church's youth group, along with volunteers from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and adult members of the congregation, worked to establish a trail to the top of a rocky outcropping overlooking the lake.
"There was a lot of talk about how discouraged people were with environmental issues that you don't have control over," said Kayla West, one of the project's coordinators.
Echo Lake is located about 8 miles northwest of Marquette, off of County Road 550. The property was given to The Nature Conservancy by the J.A. Woolham Foundation.
The 25-acre lake is surrounded by granite bedrock cliffs and is the headwater for Harlow Creek. The watershed provides habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.
On the first weekend of this month, members of St. Paul's went out to the lake to put the half-mile walking trail in.
"It's from the lake to the top of a hill," West said.
The youths, with the help of the adult volunteers, cleared the trail and lined it with rocks, splitting the stretch of the trail into thirds. In addition, the group also put up a sign marking the trailhead.
While helping with the construction of the trail, the kids were also encouraged learn more about the environment and the importance of caring for it as part of their youth group activities.
"St. Paul's is an exciting little community of progressive Christianity with ancient roots," West said. "We celebrate spirituality as part of our daily lives. What better way to experience our oneness with nature, with each other and with that which is holy than by working side by side, helping to preserve and share this environmental gem?"
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.