To the Journal editor:
I read with interest John Hongisto's letter to the editor in the July 1 issue of The Mining Journal, where he portrayed the Huron Mounttain Club as a poor neighbor to the local community.
He mentioned the club's opposition to the Eagle Mine and public fishing on the Salmon Trout River and criticized the club for trying to lesson its property taxes.
I disagree with his conclusions. A more balanced point of view could have provided many examples of how Huron Mountain Club has benefited this entire region.
As residents of Conway Lake, which is completely surrounded by club land, my family and I find the club to be a good neighbor. It provides security and fire protection and opens some of its lands to families within its boundaries for recreation.
On a broader level, the club benefits the entire Big Bay community. It provides a lot of local employment, supports the local school and Bay Cliff Health Camp, keeps Marquette County Road KK free of litter and has provided materials and a number of labor volunteers during construction of the pavilion at Draver Park in Big Bay.
In addition, the club's private fire department responds to all fires in Powell Township, helping the local volunteer fire department at its own expense. The club also provides all the food for the fire department's annual community picnic.
On an county wide level, the Huron Mountain Club has donated generously to local projects and organizations. According to The Mining Journal, over $600,000 was donated in 2011 alone.
The club also has a wildlife foundation (website: Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation), that promotes world class research on the local lakes, forests and Lake Superior. It provides a research center and open its lands to scientists and students from around the country.
There are many other examples where the club is a good community neighbor. Perhaps Mr. Hongisto's view is related to his numerous conflicts with the club.
In writing this letter I am only defending a good neighbor that is being unfairly criticized.
Stuart M. Bennett