Sunday, January 16, 2011

Marguerite and Glen Sheppard

Last week Glen Sheppard died. Glen was the publisher of the North Woods Call, the conservation newspaper that Marguerite founded in 1953. Glen continued her legacy of digging up the scoop about environmental matters in Michigan. It is a natural time to reflect on their contributions to our state.
During their time at the Call, they were the thorn that helped keep natural resource management in Michigan on nature's side. The Call never had millions of readers but it did get read by important people. The leaders of the Department of Natural Resources, political aides to our law makers and dedicated conservationists all read it. Other news organizations used it to find otherwise uncovered news. All of this had a way of keeping governors, bureaucrats, polluters and developers a little more under the control of Mother Nature.
Marguerite began the newspaper at Douglas Lake near Lewiston more than sixty years ago. She was a newspaper veteran from Detroit who dared to do something different. After a few years, she moved to Roscommon to be closer to her printer and the then Department of Conservation's northern lower headquarters. She wrote from her cabin nestled in the woods by Tank Creek. Today it is the Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve.
In 1969, Marguerite sold the Call to Glen Sheppard. Glen moved the operations to his home near Charlevoix but continued to hound those who would mismanage the state's natural resources. He understood history well. He knew that many are interested in using the world for their profit and that nature does not have a way to fight back without our help. Glen continued to publish the Call until his death. We are not sure of the Call's future. We can be sure that the paper, which really means Marguerite and Glen, has been the best of environmental impacts. Not many in this world can say that!

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