Isle Royale & Keweenaw Parks Association: An Old Organization with a New Name
Contact: Jill Burkland, Executive Director, (906) 482-7860
The Isle Royale Natural History Association is celebrating its 50th birthday with a name change. The Isle Royale Natural History Association (IRNHA) was founded in 1957 by a group of Isle Royale residents and National Park Service staff whose love of Isle Royale prompted them to form an organization with the purpose of sharing with the public the story of one of the country’s newest national parks, Isle Royale National Park.
Now, fifty years later IRNHA is partnering with a second young park – Keweenaw National Historical Park — and changing its name to reflect its new mission. The new organizational name is the Isle Royale & Keweenaw Parks Association.
The revised mission of the Isle Royale & Keweenaw Parks Association (Parks Association) is to work in partnership with the National Park Service to promote the public’s understanding and appreciation of Isle Royale National Park and Keweenaw National Historical Park through education and research. By publishing and selling books and other educational products about Isle Royale and the Keweenaw, the Parks Association educates the public about these special places and raises funds that are re-invested to support research and interpretive programs. By educating the public about our local National Parks the Parks Association helps to preserve and protect them for future generations.
Every year the Isle Royale Keweenaw Parks Association contributes approximately $25,000 in cash and in-kind aid to Isle Royale and Keweenaw to publish park newspapers, provide programs for both children and adults, and support research and preservation efforts. New publications from the Parks Associations include Island Life: An Isle Royale Nature Guide and Downtown Calumet: Guide to the Historic Mining Community.
The Isle Royale Natural History Association, now the Isle Royale & Keweenaw Parks Association has grown over the years from a small group of local residents to a membership of over 1,200 people from every state in the country. Financial aid to the parks has grown many times over, and their publications have changed from mimeographed brochures to professionally produced full color books, but the organization’s mission and reliance on volunteers to fulfill that mission remains unchanged. The Parks Associations remains a grass-roots organization relying on the hard work, vision, and financial support of a volunteer board of directors, several committees, and their members.
Isle Royale Keweenaw Parks Association will celebrate its new name at an open house at Keweenaw National Historic Parks’s newly refurbished Headquarters on Red Jacket Road in Calumet on Friday afternoon, June 27, from 2:00 – 5:00. The public is invited to tour the new facilities, shop in the new bookstore, participate in drawings for park-related gifts, and enjoy refreshments provided by the Parks Association.
Did You Know?
"Keweenaw" (pronounced key-wah-nah) is an Ojibway word that means "the crossing place," or "land crossing between two bodies of water." It refers to the Ojibway's use of Portage Lake as a portage across the Keweenaw Peninsula.