On Wednesday August 14, the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association’s (MOWA) will be holding a dedication of an historical marker which commemorates a 1919 fishing trip which later served as the inspiration for one of Ernest Hemingway’s most famous short stories, “Big Two-Hearted River.”
According to the DNR Press release, “The marker is the latest in a series of Michigan Heritage Memorials provided by MOWA to recognize key events in the state’s rich natural resources and outdoor recreation history. MOWA worked with the DNR members in the design and location of the monument, which is an anodized aluminum plate bearing a photo of the young Hemingway in his Red Cross ambulance driver’s uniform from World War I, affixed to a 24-inch by 32-inch limestone slab.”
Even the most casual Michigan angler is probably aware of Hemingway’s connection to our north country, and especially several of its lakes and streams. In addition to his time spent on the Fox River, Hemingway made numerous references to both the Black River (eastern Pigeon River Country) and Horton Creek. Horton Creek was mentioned in several of Hemingway’s short stories, as well as his memoirs. Hemingway’s Horton Creek has also been memorialized as a part of a Little Traverse Conservancy Nature Preserve.
If you choose to take a trip to see the memorial marker, it may be worth rereading the“Big Two-Hearted River” in advance of the stop (the State Forest Campground is on the East Branch of the Fox River 7 miles north of Seney on M-77). Beyond Hemingway’s descriptions of the trip and fishing are his references to the landscape of the area as it was in 1919. As one turns his words into images, its journey from being “the land that no one wanted” to the rich forest complex which exists today can be even more greatly appreciated.
The Michigan Outdoor Writers Association is a non-profit organization comprised of outdoor communicators, including writers, photographers, editors, cartoonists for print and Internet, as well as video, lecturers and public relations specialists, radio and television broadcast journalists, with passions for communicating about the outdoors. To learn more about MOWA’s Michigan Heritage Memorial program, visit http://www.miowa.org/mowa-heritage-memorial-sites.