Calvin Kangas - Doing What He Loved

Calvin was a very passionate and dedicated volunteer who always had a smile on his face. He took over the role of president of the Ni-Miikanaake Chapter of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) a couple of years ago and has accomplished a lot of great work and built strong relationships within the local and surrounding communities.

by American Trails Staff

July 22, 2019

The Forest Service is part of the communities we live and work in and with our shared stewardship objectives, we have opportunities to work with a lot of volunteers and partners.

I am sad to share the news of the unexpected passing of one of our main trail volunteers with the North Country Trail Association. Calvin Kangas, President of the Ni-Miikanaake Chapter of the North Country Trail Association (based in Ironwood), suffered a heart attack and passed away yesterday while working with the Great Lakes Conservation Crew on the trail reroute in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. The Ottawa has been working with the NCTA and the DNR on this reroute for several years and it’s finally moving forward. Calvin was instrumental in securing funding and support from public and private landowners to get the NCT rerouted through the heart of the Porkies and back onto the Ottawa, making a much better experience for all visitors hiking the NCT. The Ottawa has 110 miles of NCT within our boundaries and the Ni-Miikanaake chapter maintains the trail in Gogebic and western Ontonagon counties. Calvin was a great leader for this volunteer group.

Calvin was a very passionate and dedicated volunteer who always had a smile on his face. He took over the role of president of the club a couple of years ago and has accomplished a lot of great work and built strong relationships within the local and surrounding communities. In addition to working on the reroute in the Porkies and the Ottawa near South Boundary Road, here are some examples of the great work he has done on the Ottawa:

  • Worked with area school wood shop classes to construct trail signs, several of which can be found on the stretch of NCT from Black River Harbor to CR519
  • Constructed the boardwalk south of Conglomerate Falls
  • Disassembled and removed a boardwalk north of Conglomerate falls that was destroyed in flooding events
  • Cleared the NCT between Black River Harbor and CR519, working alongside the Amish crew and took them to the top of Copper Peak as a thank you
  • Assisted with installing 5 interpretive signs placed along several key NCT trailheads on the Forest
  • Completed our chainsaw certification training and encouraged several club members to become certified
  • Cleared, brushed, mowed, and maintained trail segments over and over each year.
  • Recruited and trained new volunteers
  • Lead field trips and meetings within the community
  • Calvin and his wife also volunteered with HistoriCorps last fall on our window replacement project at Camp Nesbit

 

His wife, Susan, told the chapter members "I’m just happy that he died doing what he loved – being in the woods."

Please keep Cal’s family, our NCT volunteers, and our partners at Superior Watershed Partnership in your thoughts during this difficult time.

--Melissa Simpson
Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist
Recreation and Wilderness
Forest Service
Ottawa National Forest