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Iron County holding off Harvest Camp eviction

ASHLAND, Wis. (WXPR) -- The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp in Iron County won't be going anywhere for the time being. The Iron County Board has taken the camp's eviction off its Tuesday agenda.

Harvest camp residents have been staying on county forest land since the spring in response to Gogebic Taconite's mine proposal. But the Iron County Forestry Committee voted last week to evict them.Iron County Clerk Mike Saari says this week's delay doesn't mean the issue is gone for good.  "It was a request from our insurance company. They wanted to look at the issue for up to 30 days before we acted on it." This marks the second time the county board has decided not to tackle the gray legality of the Harvest Camp. Spokesman Paul DeMain says the camp is doing valuable research, and tribal members have a right to hunt and gather food on ceded territory. But the Forestry Committee voted for an eviction in July, citing a lack of proper permits. At the time the board opted to negotiate with the Lac Courte Oreilles tribe instead.

Saari says the latest move didn't have anything to do with the board's opinion. But the county's insurance agent requested a delay on Friday.  "He asked us to table it - and we decided it would be easier to just remove it from the agenda, than have a lot of people show up here." The Harvest Camp was organizing supporters and hoping for a big turnout in support of the project. Saari says the issue could resurface on next month's agenda.