MOWA historical marker to celebrate Hemingway's U.P. fishing experience

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Press Release

Aug. 1, 2013

Contact: Dave Graham (MOWA), 810-281-6910 or Ed Golder (DNR), 517-335-3014

MOWA historical marker to celebrate Hemingway’s
Upper Peninsula fishing experience


Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh will attend the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association’s (MOWA) Aug. 14 dedication of a historical marker celebrating a fishing trip that writer Ernest Hemingway turned into one of his most famous short stories.


The 4 p.m. dedication ceremony at the East Branch of the Fox River State Forest Campground in Schoolcraft County, 7 miles north of Seney on M-77, is near the site where Hemingway camped in 1919 and later wrote “Big Two-Hearted River.”


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.


The marker reads:


Hemingway Fished Here


Author Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), then 20 years old, and two friends camped and fished for trout near here on the East Branch of the Fox River in August 1919. They arrived at Seney by rail and then walked north to their campsite. Hemingway still favored his right leg as a result of being one of the first Americans wounded in Italy in World War I. The fishing trip allowed him to take his mind off the horrors of war and formed the basis of his famous short story, “Big Two-Hearted River.” He said he borrowed the name of another Upper Peninsula river for the title because it had more poetry.


The public is invited to attend the ceremony.


“MOWA’s members think it’s pretty special that a story about fishing on the Fox River 94 years ago is still one of Hemingway’s best-loved stories,” said MOWA President David Graham. “Placing this marker here has been in the works a long time.”


Creagh said the marker is an example of how DNR partnerships pay dividends for the citizens of Michigan.


“We were delighted when MOWA approached us about placing this marker at a DNR state forest campground,” Creagh said. “It’s just another reminder that we all need to work together to promote conservation and outdoor recreation in Michigan.”


Other MOWA historical markers memorialize:

  • MOWA’s founding in 1944 at Blaney Park in the Upper Peninsula;
  • The Adams fishing fly’s birthplace next to a Boardman River pond in Mayfield (south of Traverse City);
  • The starting point in Lansing on the Grand River of the late Verlen Kruger’s longest-distance canoe expedition;
  • Great Lakes shipwrecks (at a park/access site in St. Ignace);
  • The place of origin of the Au Sable river-fishing boat (in Grayling);
  • The “Operation Mooselift” reintroduction of moose to the western Upper Peninsula (at Van Riper State Park, west of Ishpeming); and
  • The reintroduction of elk to the Pigeon River Country State Forest (near Atlanta). 

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


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to