About U.P. Tracks and Trails

Stephen King  --  Trish Sanders

Well, here we go. Another U.P. magazine. Over the years, many have tried to do this. And, at the moment, there is no real U.P. outdoors type magazine. So, the first big question is why I would want to do something like this. First, it is something like Edmund Hillary. He climbed mountains because he had to. For me, as someone that has made a living in media for over 25 years now, this is something I had to try.

Why? Because this is what I do.

So, just who am I? First, I am a real Yooper. I was born in L’Anse, on the Keweenwaw Bay Indian Community Reservation. Shortly after, I was taken away and raised over in Naubinway, a Native Commercial Fishing village.  There, I grew up the son of a commercial fisherman, in a fishing family.

Also, this was a hunting culture as well. While he worked on the boats, he also loved to hunt and fish (with a hook and line). My mom was a traditional stay at home mom. And, my grandmother lived right next door. A good portion of what we ate came from the Lake, off the boats, or was something Dad caught or killed. Also, in the warm weather, mom and Gram loved to pick berries and other such things. It was good. Could not have asked for a better childhood.

Also, way back then, instead of sitting on the couch playing on the Internet, we were on the beaches, in the woods, and along the streams. Hunting, fishing, and just exploring. It was a great childhood.

After growing up, I tried a bunch of different things. Fished commercially, got into logging (on the end of a chain saw), owned a roadside café. And, did a bunch of other things.  Then, in my early 30’s, I went back to school. There, a teacher, Tom Hoogterp, noticed I had a knack for writing and encouraged me to pursue it. That really got my attention. Especially the part about being able to make money doing this.

The next semester, I proclaimed Journalism as a Major. That term, with the help and encouragement of another teacher, John Bertucci (Who I had actually had in High School in Engadine), I entered and placed 2nd in a State Collegiate Competition. The Liberal Arts Network for Development contest.

With that, I sent out queries to a few magazines. Three picked me up. The Porky, Michigan Woods & Water News, and Michigan Snowmobiler. That led to a career that has lasted for over 25 years. In that time, I have been lucky enough to have written for a wide variety of Local, Regional, and even National publications.

Now, in that time, I have written a lot of stories. About a lot of things. But, most of my work has been in Outdoor Writing. I grew up in a hunting and fishing culture. Spent a ridiculous amount of time “out in the bush”, and still love pretty much everything about the outdoors in the U.P.



Also, I have pretty much worked for myself for a long time. Bought that café when I was only 23. And, actually-sold worms out of the house when I was about 8. So, I have always enjoyed working for myself.

As for U.P. Tracks and Trails, I have noticed that there is no real U.P. outdoor type magazine. Also, in my work, I travel a lot. And, in doing that, have put this idea to quite a lot of people. And, the feedback has been great. Most everyone thinks this is a good idea.

Now, something else I have been doing for a while is an “Outdoor” column for St. Ignace News. In that, I write mostly about hunting and fishing. But, include motorsports, like snowmobiles and ORV. Then, add in things like bird watching, berry picking, canoeing, and other things.  Most of the feedback I have gotten from readers is that it is not just “hunting and fishing”. People keep telling me that they like hunting and fishing. But, they also like all of the other things I add.

Then, as anybody that knows me knows, I have a pretty big ego. But, I am also a realist. I do not want this just to be me. So, I am in the process of recruiting a few of my friends to help me with this.

As I noted, I have been doing this for a while now. In that time, I have been lucky enough to meet and get to know quite a few top-notch writers and media types. Like, it’s the U.P., and there aren’t a whole lot of writers up here. And, most of us know each other. Also, over the years, I have been able to develop a good working relationship with our U.P. Legislators. I am lucky enough to be on a first-name basis with most. And, have known many for quite a few years.

Now, while I am mentioning the people that I hope will be writing here, I also have to mention my partner. Trish Sanders. She is a very talented “Tech” person. A gifted artist. And, a person that has over 15 years of doing things such as layout and design. We are hoping that with my experience and connections in journalism and her talents in the actual production end of this business, we have a good shot at success.

So, we’re going to give it a try. Tell us what you think. Tell us about any stories you may want to see. And, be sure to tell us all of your fish stories and deer tails.

One last thing, hunting and fishing, and outdoor stuff are supposed to be fun. Now, while we will take on all of the hard issues. I really want this to be about having fun outdoors in our U.P.