Duck Lake rebuilds

NEWBERRY (AP) – Fragrant piles of yellow sawdust cover the floor around Bruce Marshall’s gleaming new band saw, while freshly cut boards lie in neat stacks around the shed that shelters his one-man sawmill operation.

A year after the Duck Lake fire burned more than 21,000 acres in his part of the Upper Peninsula – a path from north of Newberry to the south shore of Lake Superior – Marshall has replaced both the saw and the shed he lost in the fire with the help of insurance money.

But no amount of money can replace the majestic trees that made his family’s 12 acres on Little Pike Lake a cool green haven.

“It’s so weird when you go up around the lake. It’s burned, then green,” Sandy Marshall, Bruce’s wife, told the Lansing State Journal. The St. Johns couple built their vacation home on Little Pike Lake themselves, beginning in 2000.

Throughout the forest fire area, the past year has been one of adjusting, decision-making, salvaging, rebuilding and replanting.

Although the Marshalls lost several outbuildings on their property, a firefighter checking the area extinguished an ember that ignited the door frame of their home, saving it.

Richard and Kathy Robinson weren’t that lucky. The fire ravaged their home and business, the Rainbow Lodge, leaving the rusted hulk of an ice machine and burned-out vans used to ferry canoeists to and from the Big Two-Hearted River sitting on a blackened landscape near concrete foundations of the buildings.

Only two cabins on their property escaped the fire. The Robinsons plan to first rebuild a popular chapel on their land.