Respect nature, act responsibly

Shaina James

When I first came up to Marquette, there were no signs saying “Do not swim,” no gates blocking off the breakwall and no signs saying “no camping” or “no bonfires.”

Marquette County has so much beauty to offer, but students and residents must show respect for the lake, environment and community. Some individuals ruin privileges for the rest of us.

Students and residents have to appreciate the power of Lake Superior. We have to act responsibly and sensibly when we are in wooded areas that fire can so easily destroy.

Most importantly, there has to be a respect for nature: clean up after yourself when you are enjoying the outdoors. Do not destroy the environment when we are camping. Leave the forest as you found it.

Here is example: three young men were recently rescued from the Marquette Upper Harbor breakwater because they disregarding safety protocols during inclement weather conditions.

They had to be rescued by the Coast Guard and were issued tickets for being in violation of a city ordinance concerning conduct on city beaches and water.

A couple of summers ago I was at the McCarthy Cove’s beach when a memorial was being held for someone who had drowned trying to swim out to Picnic Rocks. While the memorial was being held, a group of people tried swimming out to Picnic Rocks.

The Coast Guard came shortly thereafter and the group was put into police cars. Not only were they not using common sense, but they were also being disrespectful.

Life is not a can of Four Loko. You are responsible for your actions. Remember that the next time you are tempted to swim to Picnic Rocks or walk on the break wall when waves are crashing over.

Remember Toni Copeland, Cass Huckabee and Devante Earl Billups, all of whom drowned near Picnic Rocks.

Remember Kurt Buffington and Shane Kulchyski, both of whom were swept off of the Presque Isle breakwall.

These individuals didn’t have the safety precautions that we enjoy, and their names are a tragic reminder of the power of Lake Superior.

Do not do their memory a disservice by acting foolishly in the face of so many reminders as to why U.P. residents should respect the beautiful environment that they are surrounded by.