Getting Outside in Sault Ste Marie with Ken and Wilda Hopper
Episode 1177th July 2023 • Total Michigan • Cliff Duvernois
00:00:00 00:34:33

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There is so much more to Sault Ste Marie than just big boats. And Ken and Wilda want you to experience it. Birds Eye Outfitters was created to get people outside and enjoy the beautiful nature that permeates every inch of Sault Ste Marie. From hiking to lantern snow-shoeing, from Kayaking to Paddle Boarding, Ken and Wilda created some amazing experiences that will expand your love for all things Sault.

Links:

Birds Eye Outfitters Website: https://www.birdseyeoutfitters.com/

OUTHouse Consortium: https://www.outhouseconsortium.org/

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Transcripts

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We're always trying to celebrate the uniqueness

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

of this town What we want them to understand is that we've got freighters.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

But we are way more than big boats.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We've got a playground up here.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And the great thing about bringing groups of people

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

together like hiking groups or, paddle groups, whatever the case may be, is

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

that you bring people from different areas that bring different experiences

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

and educate others to create new experiences with what we have locally.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So you can celebrate what we have.

Cliff Duvernois:

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Total Michigan.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm your host, Cliff DuVernois.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm continuing my series up in Sault Ste Marie.

Cliff Duvernois:

And with it being summertime and it's Michigan and all we can think about

Cliff Duvernois:

is getting outdoors and enjoying nature, and there's two people that

Cliff Duvernois:

if you come to Sault Ste Marie, that you absolutely have to meet and

Cliff Duvernois:

put on your list of places to go.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today we're talking with Ken and Wilda Hopper from Bird's Eye

Cliff Duvernois:

Outfitters in Sault Ste Marie.

Cliff Duvernois:

Ken Wila, how are you?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

wonderful.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Thank you.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Feeling great.

Cliff Duvernois:

Excellent.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah, doing great.

Cliff Duvernois:

Ken, tell us a little bit about where you're from and where you grew up.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I am native to Sault Ste Marie.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I grew up here, born and raised here, moved away, went to college,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

traveled a little bit, traveled a lot.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

got a, where'd you go to college?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

11 miles.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I went to Central Michigan University.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Oh, okay.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And they would expect me at that point in time to say, fire up.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So fire up.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Nice.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

What did you study?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Oh God, I think I walked away with, a couple of undergrad degrees and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

master's degree in, field biology, outdoor recreation, oh, okay.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It works out

Cliff Duvernois:

well.

Cliff Duvernois:

I know you got a love for nature and we're definitely gonna explore that.

Cliff Duvernois:

Wilda, why don't you tell us where you're from, where you grew up.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Okay, so well, born in New York City, Long Island,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

and moved to Fort Myers, Florida.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Okay.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then moved up to Michigan.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So through my college, I guess in my high school years, I was a nanny up here, would

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

come up for the summers, fell in love with this area, and, came to college up here.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So it was awesome.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Loved it.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

nice.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

So when you said did, do you got a nanny position up here, were you looking to

Cliff Duvernois:

come to the up or were you just no, I want the exact opposite of Long Island?

Cliff Duvernois:

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye: No, actually no, actually.

Cliff Duvernois:

Okay.

Cliff Duvernois:

So the nanny position came about because, I went to church with a couple

Cliff Duvernois:

who had kids and they had a cabin up here and needed someone to help out

Cliff Duvernois:

with kids in the summer, so I was absolutely ready to adventure up north.

Cliff Duvernois:

So

Cliff Duvernois:

beautiful.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

And then of course, I'm gonna assume that you guys met here.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yep, we did.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

How did you guys meet?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Not at Birdseye.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We created that.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah, we, we both worked for the same organization, Bay Mills Indian Community.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Okay.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

which is 20 miles west of here.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I was running a Boys and Girls Club and she was working in human resources.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And I don't know, somebody probably reported me to human

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

resources and No, I'm kidding.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I think we had an interaction about, gymnastics program that

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

we wanted to start out there.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Okay.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So that was the first initial one.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then I asked her if she wanted to buy my car.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then, oh, there's a first date.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

I worked with the legal department Risk manager management out there.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

yeah, it was an interesting meetup and we just started chatting.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

There you go.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

She's very influential.

Cliff Duvernois:

And the rest is history.

Cliff Duvernois:

The rest is history.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Cliff Duvernois:

So let's talk a little bit about the creation of Bird's Eye.

Cliff Duvernois:

What was your initial thought like coming into it?

Cliff Duvernois:

What is Bird's Eye?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Wow.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

That's a great question.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

okay, here's something interesting.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So Ken did a lot of, west Coast adventuring before I met him,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

and I did a lot of East coast adventuring before I met him.

Cliff Duvernois:

so when you're talking about adventuring, what does that mean?

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So he, I think, I guess he can speak to his

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

experiences, but he went to Colorado, California, like hiking, I think

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

and all kinds of, fun outdoorsy adventures and was very, avid kayaker.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

I've a lot of backpacking.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And I'm more of like paddle boarding and being on the beach and, the

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Adirondacks like hiking the Adirondacks.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So I did a lot of east coast adventures through my, experiences

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

with college friends and Right family.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And so when we came together In Sault Ste Marie, like one of the

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

things I know I noticed when I first came here is like there aren't a

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

lot of people like getting outside.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So a lot of people would talk about Marquette and Petoskey and all the

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

other places that they could go.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Or even like Sault Ontario, like in Canada cuz they're space is

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

incredible over there as well.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

The realization was that people weren't comfortable getting outside on their

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

own and they didn't know what to do.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

What to pack, how to experience an outdoor adventure.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

What do I, what kind of backpack?

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

What type of, gear do I have?

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

What type of, it would seem apparel.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It would seem so simple to some people like,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

you just go Just pair tennis shoes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And what we learn through observation as well as research is people as a whole are

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

apprehensive, to participate in something they are not familiar with, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So you've gotta find a way to bridge that, that chasm.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

do you gotta educate, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So that's one piece.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then another one would be in order for them to have a good experience,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

you have to make 'em comfortable, So we wanted to provide good gear for people.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We wanted to provide those one-on-one opportunities and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

also the guided experiences.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So there is some handholding, we wanna see people take it upon themselves

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

to get the initiative to go.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And one thing that we found out that we'll probably delve into later is you

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

need the infrastructure in a community.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

In order to have these outdoor opportunities, not a lot of people

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

are into bush whacking, which is going in just, uncharted areas

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

of the woods where they have to fight through branches and whatnot.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

They want, recreational facilities provided for them to get them

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

outside and get them Start off close.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Start off small.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

You start off small like in, yes.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye: And we, we started seeing.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

that in the area, that there was this lack of infrastructure for these

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

specific recreational opportunities.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And so in combination with the store, how were we gonna get there?

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And so that's when we decided to develop a non-for-profit.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

That was to develop, maintain, and promote non-motorized trails in our

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

area, whether they be water trails or cross country ski trails, or snowshoe

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

or hiking or biking or whatever it is.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So you're doing all those sports, right?

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And bring bringing groups of people together that are like-minded to to

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

feed off of each other, to educate each other, to help each other out.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

You

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

sure's strength and that's what we see.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we started forming clubs too.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Like we've got a running club that comes outta here, hiking club.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We're gonna get another biking, a paddling club.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Cause we're not all the same.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

There are people that are more comfortable doing these activities on their own.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

But I think a majority of us like to have a shared experience.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Let's go for a paddle.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then afterwards, let's not just split off, let's go to Bird's Eye and have a

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

beer and talk about, today's activities or what we saw, look at our selfies.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Debrief,

Cliff Duvernois:

right?

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Debrief.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And the great thing about bringing groups of people together or bringing, like

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

sending it out there, that we're gonna have hiking groups or running groups

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

or, Paddle groups, whatever the case may be, is that you bring people from

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

different competencies, from different areas that bring different experiences

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

and educate others to create new experiences with what we have locally.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So you can celebrate what we have.

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh, this is beautiful.

Cliff Duvernois:

So let's run down the list of outdoor activities that you

Cliff Duvernois:

guys are currently involved in.

Cliff Duvernois:

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye: Let's see, mowing the lawn.

Cliff Duvernois:

I did that last night.

Cliff Duvernois:

All right.

Cliff Duvernois:

I walked into that one.

Cliff Duvernois:

I totally admitted 11:00 PM no.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we, we participate in whatever avenue we can.

Cliff Duvernois:

Like we work with the university.

Cliff Duvernois:

I teach backpacking right up there.

Cliff Duvernois:

I teach, we teach paddle sports.

Cliff Duvernois:

Cross country skiing, snowshoeing.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we have that involvement with the local university.

Cliff Duvernois:

And you actually have that gear here available?

Cliff Duvernois:

Available, yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

At Bird's Eye.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and we've, we've really, people have come out of the woodwork, like-minded

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

people that want, they see our passion and they wanna be involved in it and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

share their knowledge with people too.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Organically, a couple people we know just said, Hey, we're going to, promote

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

women hiking, women backpacking, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And we wanna do a class here and do a progressive, hiking

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

series or something like that.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I know I'm going away from your original question, but when these

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

things come up, I think it's important to talk about it, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Cuz it isn't just Wilda and I, there's a show here, but it

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

takes a lot more people to have a paradigm shift within a community.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And I think we're, just in the midst of it right now.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye: so definitely like hiking.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So hiking and then in the wintertime organically that

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

transforms into snowshoeing.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we, we've actually been doing for the past like three years,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

lantern lit, snowshoe hikes, which are, that brings families out.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

That would be cool.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Oh yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It brings, it's beautiful, brings family, it brings families out, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It brings, it, it creates a night for an adventure with kids and people

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

are getting outdoors, they're moving.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

All the snow hung up in the trees is like a great

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

insulator, which, if you probably couldn't even hear a blender in the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

background in the woods in the winter.

Cliff Duvernois:

Speaking of which, yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

So let me ask you this question here.

Cliff Duvernois:

I get that, that you wanna get people out and get them to experience nature

Cliff Duvernois:

and that there was this, this void in Sault Ste marie to make that happen.

Cliff Duvernois:

But why is that important to you?

Cliff Duvernois:

Why not just sit there and say, you know what, let's just enjoy this ourselves.

Cliff Duvernois:

Why is it important for you to get people out health to enjoy it?

Cliff Duvernois:

Health.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Health there.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Health in every aspect.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Mental health.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Spiritual emotional health?

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

physical health.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah, physical health because we, so aside from just, bringing people

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

out on adventures and we actually also, are certified to do standup

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

paddleboard lessons, kayak lessons.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Like we, we bring, we do hiking 1 0 1.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Aside from that, we also are unique in our area that we, offer

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

a lot of cleaner food options.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And by cleaner we mean like non-dairy, non-gluten options,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

things that people are looking for.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Things foods that are highly nutrient dense, right?

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

That give you energy and, that are just all around healthy for you.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

we have that love, that passion for health and wellness.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Ultimately, it's for, it has to be about other people.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Mm-hmm.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Like.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Why would we do it?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Like we all know McDon.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Can I say that there's a certain fast food restaurant, other fast

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

food that shall remain nameless?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

All of them.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

like they're in the business of making money, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

They don't really care about you and what you put in your system.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Your health.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And your health, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And there's different mindsets, yeah, it's your choice whether you go there or not.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

But a lot of it's budget based.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we could be delving into other waters here, but we want people to care

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

about themselves and their physical and mental and spiritual health and it

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

isn't through just experimentation in our experiences like we we researched

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

these things like she is a volume of knowledge when it comes to gut health

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and how what goes into your body affects all of everything that's connected.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And I,

Cliff Duvernois:

which I imagine impacts your menu.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It does.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

That's here.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

A hundred percent.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And I'm concerned about, Wilda and I have six kids together, We're watching them,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

we're gonna have a lot of grandkids.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes, you are.

Cliff Duvernois:

Be fruitful and multiply.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

watching them grow up and thinking about yourself and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

you're younger and the struggles they go through and watching them try to handle

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

life and everything that's thrown at 'em.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

If you have a safe place that you can go to.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

there, there are research papers showing that we're losing our connection with

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

nature and it's having some mental health effects to us as a community

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

and physical, like physical and mental.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We need to get people back in touch with something

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

that we need to be in touch with, like we, I'm an ecologist at heart.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It's all, everything working together.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

there's a symbiosis that has to happen and we're trying to

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

separate ourselves from that.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Why?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

To make things convenient.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

we don't, it, it's watching a sunset or hiking to the woods and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

not hearing the noise of a city is, it's, it's a spiritual experience,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

it's disconnecting from the things

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

that you don't have to always stay connected to or be connected to.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We're disconnecting from mode, airplane mode,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

disconnecting from the wrong things.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Airplane mode.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Airplane mode.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

This is what we need.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Airplane mode.

Cliff Duvernois:

yes.

Cliff Duvernois:

I love that.

Cliff Duvernois:

I was just thinking, disconnect from your phone.

Cliff Duvernois:

Connect with nature.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We're disconnecting with the wrong things.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

That's my opinion, but, Awesome.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I think it's backed up with some research,

Cliff Duvernois:

Certainly.

Cliff Duvernois:

For our audience, we're gonna take a quick break to thank our sponsors, and

Cliff Duvernois:

when we come back we're gonna talk to Ken and Wila about how you can make the

Cliff Duvernois:

most out of your experience with BirdEye.

Cliff Duvernois:

We'll see you after the break.

Cliff Duvernois:

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Cliff Duvernois:

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Cliff Duvernois:

Hello everyone and welcome back to Total Michigan.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm your host Cliff DuVernois.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today I'm sitting with Ken and Wila Hopper from Bird's Eye

Cliff Duvernois:

Outfitters in Sault Ste Marie.

Cliff Duvernois:

And we are talking about all kinds of activities outdoors that they do.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, before you were mentioning about kayaking and snowshoeing

Cliff Duvernois:

and hiking and stuff.

Cliff Duvernois:

One of the events that we did today before we filmed this, is we went

Cliff Duvernois:

kayaking through the Soo locks, which I didn't even know you could do.

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

So kudos to that.

Cliff Duvernois:

So talk to us, where did that idea come from?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

When I worked in Bay Mills, I would take

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

teenagers out that, on adventures.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So these are teenagers that were needing something to do.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

we, I'd bring 'em backpacking and I'd bring 'em on all these

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

different opportunities that they wouldn't normally have.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we had the equipment and then from that we started a Boys and Girls Club.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And it's still running operation couple sites today, And one of the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

trips, I found out that the Canadian lock took pleasure craft through,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and I just called over there and said, can I bring a canoe through?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And so we had a fleet of canoes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And where At the club, or We called it Adventure camp at

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

that time, I think, wasn't it?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Okay.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So then, we left from the airport on the Canadian side and paddled

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

our canoes all along the coastline.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

All the way to Bellevue Park on the Canadian side.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And we started on the Canadian side, went through the lock, and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

then it was a great experience.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Like kids talked about it, the other chaperones talked about it,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

said, oh my God, what a great thing.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and so we started looking at maps and how we could leave from American

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

side and end up on the American side.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then we brought some professionals that teach kayaking all over the world.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And they happen to be in Lansing, Michigan.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

They're called the Power of Water.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Trey, shout out to Trey, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

They came up trained guides and went through the trip with us to,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

to, see how it would work out.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And they brought some really trained people and just really went through the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

whole trip with a fine tooth comb and came back with their recommendations and,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

deemed it as a trip that would be doable.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And it ended up, you went on it today, it was a, and it was pretty incredible.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I love kayaking, so that was really great.

Cliff Duvernois:

For our audience, why don't you walk us through what the kayak trip would entail?

Cliff Duvernois:

Like how do we go into the locks?

Cliff Duvernois:

what are some things that you can expect when you get in there?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Sure.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I like to, we'll get a booking and I'll personally reach out and say,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

weather looks good, weather looks bad.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We err to the side of safety, dimension.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

She was a risk manager in the past and, we wanna keep people safe, yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So definitely.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

As you increase your skills in the kayaking community, it becomes

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

a pretty small group of people that talk about the industry.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And there are groups of, there's kayaking organizations that,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

businesses that like to pump people through and they get criticized.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And we're not one of those, we look out for your safety.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So you know from, and we appreciate that at the start.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I'm saying, this is why we use these boats.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

This is why you have to wear this.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

This is what this is for.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And we go through a little one-on-one before we take anybody out.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And when I reach out, I ask if anybody has any kayaking experience, usually via text.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And they'll feedback.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So this feedback for all

Cliff Duvernois:

levels.

Cliff Duvernois:

You don't even have to be an experience guy.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah, we, I think we prefer that you have some experience.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Some experience.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Okay.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

you can see, so we're talking about, five miles, of paddling.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we could be out for three hours depending on the speed of.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

the paddler, you only go as fast as your slowest paddler in any right group.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

there's been situations where I've not gone on a trip and, we had talked

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

today about like, when do you not try?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And I look at wind speed and direction and the current of the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

water and how much the dams that control the rapids are open, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So there's a lot into our decision making.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And ultimately, if we cancel a trip, you should be disappointed you didn't

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

get to go on the trip, but least some flexibility in your schedule.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Because from day to day in the Upper Peninsula or any Michigander knows

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

the weather can change on the weather.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes, definitely.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and it has.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And so we've, people have been disappointed and I brought 'em out to like

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

the launch point, and we've looked out at the water and they've felt the wind away

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

from the city and the buildings and stuff, and they're like, okay, you're right.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah, because you wanna have a good experience, not an experience where,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

you're skydiving basically, and worried about what might happen and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

trying to correct yourself and just not focus on points of interest,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

but on your own wellbeing, right?

Cliff Duvernois:

So the.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we launch off the kayaks, we're out into the water.

Cliff Duvernois:

Then when we come up to the locks, what happens next?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we, the first part of the tour is the launch

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

point, and we talk about some, local highlights, historical aspects,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and there's usually some bird life.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And I'm a bird nerd.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So when we first start out, I like to talk about what's there and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

history of the place, and then get a feel for the customer and how

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

comfortable they are in their kayak.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I'm not gonna take 'em out if they're not 100% ready to go and comfortable.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Sure.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So then c, because the first part of the trip could end up being the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

most treacherous because we're going out, a across the river that you've

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

got a flow of water coming from, a lake that's 31,000 square miles.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So there's a lot of water there.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And you gotta cut across that.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So you're cutting across the current and the current feeds, the canal, the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

manmade canal that runs through the middle of our downtown and makes our

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

downtown an island, which is very unique.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And we got a, 5k, 10 k coming up to celebrate that aspect of our downtown.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then you're right after that, you're cutting across the face

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

of the locks, the American locks.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Sure.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And there's hazards.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

There's boat traffic.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

There's you gotta keep your eyes peeled.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

You, we don't play chicken with thousand foot freighters, cuz Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Let's not, you're not gonna win that one.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and their braking systems aren't as good and their turning

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

radius is really large also.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we watch out for them.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then you make your way across all that and you're in what was formerly

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

the rapids area, and historically, if the locks weren't there on either

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

side, the rapids would stretch from the Canadian shore to the American shore.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We saw what's the remains of the rapids and it's just awesome to look at.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we're on the upper end of the of that.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then we approach the Canadian lock.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We call ahead, let 'em know that we're coming.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and their lock system is not so much for commerce where

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

the American lock system is.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

The Canadian lock system is for recreational craft and people that

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

wanna travel from the upper river to the lower river or vice versa.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So then we enter the canal, we let 'em know we're coming.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

They give us feedback, say, okay, it'll be whatever, 15 minutes to fill the lock.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then we enter it.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then we deck our boats together, tie off, and we lower 21 feet.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

What did it take today, lake?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Eight minutes or something.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah, it was super fast.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Cuz both

Cliff Duvernois:

you talking about have both valves are working.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

You're talking about going into the actual lock, right?

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

So they open up the doors, you go inside.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

They open up the gates, and at one point in time,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

this was the longest lock in the world.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So it's not like your clamshell locks you'll see in smaller river systems.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It's, and to even say we're on the St.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Mary's River and once you get out in the open water, It's a lake.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

it seems like a lake.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes, it's a very large river.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we get into the Canadian lock.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then we get lowered down and then, it's a great experience.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

You, at one minute you're talking to the guy on the edge of the lock

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

wall, and then the next minute you, because you're up high.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

So you can, then you can see them and then within, like you

Cliff Duvernois:

said, it's, it felt like 10 minutes.

Cliff Duvernois:

It, you could feel the level.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

going down inside the kayak

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

they had pulled, they pulled the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

plug out of the bathtub Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So to speak.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So then you're, you dropped down and, the 21 feet, it's 21 feet.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yep.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It, so you're talking about two different lake levels.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Lake Superior is 21 feet higher than Lake here on Lake Michigan.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then you've got the whole St.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Mary's river to make that up.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

But 21 feet gets made up right here at Sault Ste Marie.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So then when we're on the lower river, you see the gates open up in front

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

of you and then everybody makes the universal sound that angels make, or we

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

assume they do cuz it happens on every trip and it remained the case today.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

so then we exit the lock and we're still in, what would

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

be known as Canadian waters.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And we skirt the Canadian shoreline and then we cut across the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

base of the rapids and you can.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Feel the force of the water when you're cutting across it and it's just you.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

You know how small you are.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then we cut across there over to, the American side, going across

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

the lower part of the locks and we go by the, museum ship Valley Camp.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And we'll get some snapshots on the rudder of that.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

this is how close we got to a freighter on our trip.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then, at that today it was cool cuz you were over there and then.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

In the backdrop, you had a freighter going upbound, and then a thousand foot

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

freighter that was moving at a pretty good pace right behind you going down river.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And so after the valley camp, we go in front of what would be the end of the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

manmade canal that cuts through the city.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And so you've got a confluence of waters there, the current that goes downstream

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and the current that cuts in there.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And you've got swirling waters.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

But this, hydroelectric plant that we have in town is very impressive.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It's a quarter mile long, hand cut sandstone.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

At one point in time, the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

in the backdrop you've got Canada, Sugar Islands and it's a great backdrop.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It ends up being a really nice trip.

Cliff Duvernois:

One of the things that I would like to explore with you,

Cliff Duvernois:

you mentioned before about nonprofit.

Cliff Duvernois:

And you were actually talking a little bit about it too during the break.

Cliff Duvernois:

Why don't you talk to us about this nonprofit, what it is, what

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

do you hope to do with it?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I'm gonna let Wilda do that cuz I'm tired of talking right now.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Our nonprofit is called, outhouse Consortium.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So OUT is an acronym for Outdoor Use of Trails.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And the reason why we put it together is because we wanted to create trail systems.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Like we looked at the Sault and we're like, we're lacking

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

a little bit of infrastructure.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we wanted to get people outdoors and hiking and doing all kinds of fun things.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

But we didn't have the infrastructure.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So I think, so initially we have to like, help develop the infrastructure

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

so that we can really promote the activities that we're wanting to

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

have, like right in the Sault system.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we did create a trail behind, buff, a local trail, behind Buffalo

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Wild Wings in our Ashman Creek area, which is about 300 acres of land.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Wow.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

City owned property.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And we've, we partnered with Little Traverses Conservancy to help us

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

secure some land within that area so we can create trail systems.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Now the trail systems that we are gonna create, there are, are, we actually

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

have already created a couple of, hiking trails and we're looking to

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

create biking, a biking trail system.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then we're also looking to create bike trails like within the city.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then water trail systems within our, or own our shores so that we

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

have, people can get out in safely in different areas of the St.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Mary's river.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

We already do guided trips like, around road, rotary.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So Rotary Island Park.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

There's a little cluster of islands that are fantastic.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And one of the islands is called Voyager Island.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And we actually created, helped to create a trail system on Voyager Island.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

But you can only get there by Kayak.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Oh, wonderful.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

it makes it really, yeah.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Awesome and unique.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And yeah, that's, the, getting people moving

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye: The 300 acre project.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

I think we're dancing around it a little bit because it's not there.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

It's just in creation.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

But if we could paint a picture, we have, a company out of

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Houghton called Rock Solid.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And Rock Solid.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

We come to find out works all over the nation, He was talking about

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

jobs he was doing in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and all, and we

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

walked this property last week, so everything's really fresh right now.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

But they're gonna be doing our conceptual drawings so that we can better communicate

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

to the public the potential of this piece of property that is gonna serve as a hub.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So it's not only gonna be recreation, it's gonna be transit.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So you talk about benefits of trail systems, and you're going back to talking

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

about mental health and physical health and keeping people safe so they're not

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

on the shoulder of the road and they can still get from point A to point B.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Beyond that, the recreational aspect is, walking with a guy, John from Rock Solid.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

He is thinking that we'll probably end up with, over 10 miles of mountain bike

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

trail within our city limits Oh, wow.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

With our university, as one of the trail heads.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So it's wild to know that you have that topography here

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

within the city, I would've never known,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

but it's fantastic.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

we love, our situation.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We're always trying to celebrate the uniqueness of this town and

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

what we're, what we want people that come visit to, what we want them to

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

understand is that we've got freighters.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

But we are way more than big boats.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We've got a playground up here.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We've got a national forest with thousands of acres.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We've got, sister Cities, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

population of around 80,000 people.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then you drive an hour north there and you're in such a different environment

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

because the Canadian Shields, some of the oldest exposed rock formations

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

on the planet are right there and they've got these beautiful vistas

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

overlooking Lake Superior and sunsets.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And I know I explained the mentality before people are gonna be mad at me

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

for telling everybody how beautiful and great this place is, because that means

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

we're gonna get flooded with people.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And some of the mentality around here, which I may share is you, we like it.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We like the space.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

We like having, not crowded roads and being able to jump off into the woods

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

or get away from people in five minutes,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

We are surrounded in Chippewa County.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

We are surrounded by fantastic trail systems.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So it's not just like within the our city limit.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

We've got like Round Island Point, which is just west of us.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

that's like a short, like 10, 15 minute drive.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Bay Mills you've got to overlook for, yep.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Monaco, you're overlooking two inland lakes.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

The, basically the funnel of where the east end of Lake Superior is and the St.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Mary's river starts and you're looking at, cliffsides of grow cap

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

over in Ontario from this overlook that not many people know about.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So there's hidden gems all over here and,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then, and right beyond that is

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

the North Country Trail system.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So you can connect so many different trail systems just from Sault Ste Marie.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

The longest.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So it's the longest trail in the United States.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

cuts right through here.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

The North Country Trail is longer than the Appalachian.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It's longer than the Pacific Crest.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So it's the longest one.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It goes from, Maine to Montana or New York to North Dakota.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It's one of those two.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So when we were talking about the,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

lantern lit snowshoe hikes Yes.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Earlier.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we started those to get people, to see the trail systems

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

within the Ashman Creek area.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So to promote that right area.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So we actually, we created our own trail system.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

We blazed it.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

this summer we'll have a trailhead up so that people can access it

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

or, A little more readily than just pointing at Yes, go it that way.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

But that in and of itself, like the, the land snowshoe hikes are what helped

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

create awareness for what we have here.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So that gained a lot of momentum to the point where, the city actually

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

started paying attention and now they are huge advocates and partners with

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

our organization to help make the Ashman Creek project come to fruition.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

I think, it's just a special group of people.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Our board is very involved, very dynamic, and they understand the

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

value of their volunteer time.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

They know that it's going towards a project that is A, feasible,

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and B, pretty awesome, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So in our mantra, over the last few months because a lot of things are, we're moving

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

forward and we're seeing that progress in a shorter timeframe than we expected.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So the mantra we've had over the last few months has been, our purpose of this

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

whole trail system and this effort at Ashman Creek is to connect the community.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So connecting the community, in different aspects.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

So physically we're connecting the community through the trail systems.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And if I want to get from one part of town to the other, eventually

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

that's gonna be the case, right?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

You're gonna have, all the parks will be connected.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

You can make a loop around the whole city, eventually via hiking.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then hop in a kayak and complete the loop on the St.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Mary's river.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Nice.

Cliff Duvernois:

That's wonderful.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I do wanna circle back cuz you, this caught my attention

Cliff Duvernois:

when you said it, the biking part.

Cliff Duvernois:

So is this something that you're currently doing or is it something that's like in

Cliff Duvernois:

the works you're getting ready to release?

Cliff Duvernois:

When is that?

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Okay, so we part, we actually, we in our business, yeah,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

we we brought in, Box Hole bike and ski.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So they are another business within our business.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

God bless you.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Thank you.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Within our business.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And they are, they have the same mindset as us.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So they actually jumped on our outhouse board, and we're, they're gonna have bike

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

bikes that are gonna be available to rent.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

They obviously, right now, as you look around our store,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

they're selling their bikes.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yes, they are.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

We have bat bikes.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

We have gravel grinders, mountain bikes, road bikes, kid chi, like kid.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Kid bikes.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

family friendly.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Everything family friend friendly.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

We are gonna start a, a biking club.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

So that we can, families can bring their kids out, like every, like maybe on a

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Saturday morning or a Sunday morning.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then actually once a week as well, to also create awareness for the safety of

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

cycling because many people, especially young kids, don't know the safety aspects

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

of cycling, especially in the city.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And then we're also going, we're, they're actually in partnership

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

with us to help create these bike lanes and these bike routes.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Wonderful.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And on top of that, we have this Sault area Arts Center who is looking at

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

getting these, this funding, these grant fundings for like asphalt art where we can

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

highlight the bicycle lanes and routes, locally so that it keeps people safe.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

Because what we're seeing is as you're driving down the road, you'll see,

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

vehicles like, like driving in bicycle lane areas and it's just, that's not safe.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

we wanted, we thought, how could we highlight that these

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

are biking, bicycle lanes.

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

And so Sault Area Art Center is partnering with us and we will have

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

like asphalt art that will highlight our bicycle lanes to keep people

Cliff Duvernois:

safe.

Cliff Duvernois:

Ken Wila, I, we could talk about this all afternoon.

Cliff Duvernois:

So the question now I got for you is that if somebody's listening to this

Cliff Duvernois:

interview, they want to check out what it is that you're doing, check

Cliff Duvernois:

out more about your business, maybe they're planning to trip up here to the

Cliff Duvernois:

S and they want to connect with you, what's the best place to send them to?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Oh, we've got, you mean via web?

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Sure.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

birds Eye Outfitters.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Do com.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Birds happy.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

and then we've, there's a website for the nonprofit as well.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

It's outhouse consortium.org.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Consortium is spelled.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Outhouses everybody.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Most people got that.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Consortium is C O N S O R T I U M.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Outhouse Consortium.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

That's why.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

That's why there's Google out there.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Yeah.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Otherwise, send 'em to 1 0 7 East Portage Birdseye Outfitters.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Nice.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Nice.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

You can't

Cliff Duvernois:

miss it.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

Downtown.

Cliff Duvernois:

Perfect.

Cliff Duvernois:

Ken Wila, thank you so much for taking time to be with us today and talking

Cliff Duvernois:

about the great things you're doing.

Cliff Duvernois:

I love that kayak experience.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Great.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

That is awesome.

Ken Hopper, Birds Eye:

Next time

Wilda Hopper, Birds Eye:

we're gonna do it on a paddle board.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes, paddle board.

Cliff Duvernois:

Definitely have to do that.

Cliff Duvernois:

For our audience, you can always roll on over to total michigan.com.

Cliff Duvernois:

Click on Ken and Wilder's interview and you'll get all the

Cliff Duvernois:

links that they mentioned above.

Cliff Duvernois:

We'll see you next week when we have another story of a, ordinary Michiganders

Cliff Duvernois:

doing some pretty extraordinary things.

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