Election Day 2001 the Duluth News Tribune released an article entitled “No Rare Species Found On Spirit Mountain”. The article and a news report on local TV station KBJR referenced a recent study done by local botanist Gary Walton and about 70 local volunteers concerned about the future of this local natural treasure. The study was funded by a generous grant from the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund to the John McCabe (Duluth) Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America.
Unfortunately, it seems neither reporter actually bothered to read the Spirit Mountain Plant Survey Report, which clearly says in the introduction that 4 different rare species were discovered on the proposed golf course/hotel lodge site. In addition, 2 locations of endangered species were discovered bordering the site. The report also states that this plant survey only covered a sample portion of the proposed construction area, and even these partial findings clearly indicate the incredible biological diversity of this local old growth forest.
A Letter to the Editor discussing these gross inaccuracies was submitted to the News Tribune by the Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education. Although the letter was printed, no retraction was made.
Duluth media has been notorious for publishing slanted stories in regard to the proposed development in this critical area of the St. Louis River Watershed (the largest U.S. tributary to Lake Superior). The Duluth City Council will be voting in December on whether to approve work permits for the project.