The woods of Michigan can be dangerous, and not just to the uninitiated.

For at least the third time this summer season, a hiker has fallen to their death in Northern Michigan.

The latest incident occurred in the remote Sturgeon River Gorge area near US 41 southwest of Baraga in the Upper Peninsula.

Sadly, the latest incident involved a man from the area, 75 year old Douglas Welker of nearby Pelkie. Welker fell 20 feet off a cliff near the Sturgeon Falls. He struck his head, causing the fatal injury.

The Sturgeon River Gorge has been called Michigan's Grand Canyon. It stretches from the Canyon Falls Roadside Park near L'Anse to the Sturgeon Falls, which is tucked back in a remote region of what is called the Sturgeon River Wilderness. The area features dramatic drops of upwards of 350 feet to the river below, most of it covered with dense trees and other vegetation, which makes footing difficult, and cliff edges hard to see.

I have hiked in the Sturgeon River Wilderness, and its a place you have to respect, no matter what your experience level. The fact that the man was from around there tells me he probably knew of the danger, which shows you how difficult the terrain can be.

The death is the third in Michigan involving falls since June.

A man took his own life by jumping off Arch Rock on Mackinac Island in July. And a few days later, a Detroit area man ignored a roped off area, and fell to his death at Miner's Castle near Munising.

Jojo Girard TSM
Jojo Girard TSM

MORE TO EXPLORE: Michigan's Grand Canyon



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