- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

ISLE ROYALE, Mich. (AP) - A project to build boardwalks and bridges at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior includes a helicopter shuttling materials to remote areas of the rugged, isolated wilderness and crews lugging supplies to work sites.

Boats, a helicopter and a multi-state work crew are working to bring 64 tons of bridging planks and logs so they can be installed as part of a project called “Heavy Lift,” MLive.com (https://bit.ly/28VLWEt ) reported.

The boardwalks and bridges will be installed to replace aging wooden structures, including some about 30 years old. The new walkways will allow hikers to cross swamps and bogs while protecting plant life. Officials expect work to be completed in 2018.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” park Superintendent Phyllis Green said of the project. She added: “It’s an amazing logistical puzzle.”

For the project, boats delivered planks and logs to three points on the island and they’re repackaged into smaller loads that can be lifted by helicopter. The loads then are taken by air to 30 different sites and carried into forests and wetlands by crews on the ground.

The distance from drop sites to the installation areas could be up to 2 miles. Once at the sites, old structures are ripped out and new ones are installed.

Wolves are a beloved feature of Isle Royale, located roughly 15 miles from the Canadian shoreline, but the wolf population is on the verge of dying out. Wolves have helped keep the island’s moose population from growing too large and damaging trees.

Isle Royale is located about 20 miles from Minnesota and about 55 miles north of the mainland of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “Heavy Lift” was spurred by more than $300,000 in funding from the National Park Service, more than half of which is paying for building materials.

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Online:

https://www.nps.gov/isro

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, https://www.mlive.com

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