Letter to the Editor — Protect Lake Superior, oppose Granot Loma rocket launch site


Photo courtesy of Citizens for a Safe & Clean Lake Superior

STOP THE ROCKET — Yard signs and stickers in protest of the proposed Granot Loma rocket launch site were created by Citizens for a Safe & Clean Lake Superior, an organization that works to protect the ecosystems and shorelines surrounding Lake Superior.

Mary Holohan

Dear North Wind Editor:

Living in Marquette, it is easy to become accustomed to the untouched beauty surrounding us, but we can’t forget that this place needs protection. With climate change on our doorstep, we must be wary of industrializing Lake Superior. An eminent issue that we must not become passive about is the proposed rocket launch site on the Granot Loma property.

More than just a stunning natural phenomenon, Lake Superior contains 10% of the world’s available freshwater (“Lake Superior Overview”). Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association’s move to develop waterfront space on Lake Superior into a rocket launch site was sneaky and maneuvered. 

Luckily, our community took issue with the exploitative efforts which resulted in a positive movement to prevent this. However, we must not give up the fight too early, for this issue affects us and our neighbors, humans and others. 

Development is often put on a pedestal of growth and movement in the “right” direction for humankind, but in 2023 we can look at the degradation around us and question if this is really true. The launch site would require 13 homes near Granot Loma to evacuate for each launch. Nearby beloved natural landscapes such as Echo Lake, the North Country Trail, the Hiawatha Water Trail, the Little Garlic River, the Elliott Donnelley Wilderness Tract and the Noquemanon Trail will face negative impacts.

Digging deeper into the true influence of this launch site has yielded disturbing results. On the Granot Loma property, there are eight different documented ecological community types, some of which are imperiled or critically imperiled at the state level. This is an urgent reminder that the earth and especially the land of the proposed launch site needs protection, not development!

Pollution in many forms results from launch sites such as the one proposed. Material pollution could fall into Lake Superior from failed rocket launches and sound pollution will negatively impact wildlife and humans. The development will also result in clear cutting and the destruction of nearby wetlands

The overwhelming amount of damage that the proposed launch site will inflict on the land and community will yield unpredictable consequences. We have the chance to make sure that these horrifying facts don’t come to fruition in this place we call home. 

There are still steps until the launch proposal is solidified, particularly rezoning and licensing. We must put our foot down at every stage. Evil invades when the people get distracted, so we must keep pushing. 

I urge everyone who reads this to take a moment to think about how the actions of today define the trajectory of the future. Show gratitude for the natural beauty that we are so lucky to experience by weaving its protection into your lives and awareness. This can look like a signature on a petition, reading more at Citizens for a Safe & Clean Lake Superior.org and Powell Township.org or simply making sure the conversation and awareness do not fizzle out. 

Don’t let Lake Superior’s beauty and abundance be a temporary gift. Together we shall overcome.

Mary Holohan

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This piece is a letter to the editor, written by a reader of the North Wind in response to North Wind content. It expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the North Wind. The North Wind reserves the right to avoid publishing letters that do not meet the North Wind’s publication standards. To submit a letter to the editor contact the opinion editor at [email protected] with the subject North Wind Letter.