November 11, 2013
Last week’s Leelanau Enterprise is reporting that October 2013 had the lowest number of Sleeping Bear Dunes visitors in a decade - an impressive testimony to the impact of our recent government shutdown. You’ll be able to read the article in a month … when it’s no longer news I guess.
More dunes on Michigan in Pictures.
November 6, 2013
During a hike late this summer I noticed the oddly bent trees shown above in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan. It’s likely that snow loading or extreme icing from big storms during a previous winter caused this bowing. These trees were perhaps big enough to bend but not yet so inelastic as to break beneath heavy the snow/ice load. In subsequent years, with less damaging weather conditions, their crooked trunks may begin to straighten. Photo taken on September 21, 2013.
If you have photos of interesting natural phenomena, consider submitting them to the EPOD!
October 10, 2013
About this gorgeous shot of the sunrise & fall color in the Porcupine Mountains, Jiqing Fan writes:
Weather.com forecasted that the sky would clear 2 hours before Monday’s sunrise after 3 days rain, so I decided to camp at the Porcupine Mountain to wait for it. Sunday afternoon, dense fog completely obscured the valley and the rain didn’t stop until midnight. My headlamp became completely useless because of the moisture/fog, I nearly got lost from the toilet to my car 100 feet away. I set up my tent at the parking lot in pitch dark and light rain. Apparently, I am not the only one trying to catch the break and photograph the peak color here. People started to show up, at 2am, 4am, 5am and 6am. Needless to say, I could not get a good sleep. I got up before 7am and found out that there were at least 20 cars already.
My miserable night finally paid off and the light was really amazing that morning.
He adds that color is surprisingly late this year with the Porkies likely peaking this week and says that most of Houghton hasn’t turn red a full week later than usual.
More sunrises on Michigan in Pictures.
October 9, 2013
James took this photo four years ago today at Spray Falls in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
More about Spray Falls on Michigan in Pictures.
October 3, 2013
The Detroit News reports that Governor Rick Snyder has made a deal with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr for the State of Michigan to lease Belle Isle for 30-60 years:
Under the deal, Detroit will not receive any direct monetary payment for the lease, but state operation of Belle Isle is expected to save the cash-strapped city $4 million to $6 million annually, officials said. The state also plans to apply for grants to invest $10 million to $20 million in the park’s aging infrastructure.
The deal also gives the council, which was largely sidelined when Orr took over City Hall in March, the chance to approve the lease or offer an alternative plan that would save the same amount of money.
Starting Jan. 1, Detroiters and other state residents would be required to have Michigan’s $11-a-year Recreation Passport on their vehicles to enter the park. Pedestrians, bicyclists and individuals using public transportation could get onto the island for free.
The president of the Belle Isle Conservancy said the lease agreement is “a very important step” toward keeping the park in the public’s hands at a time when city assets are being targeted for liquidation in Detroit’s historic bankruptcy.
Under Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law, the Detroit City Council has 10 days to approve the lease or propose an alternative that would save the same amount of money or more. Read on for more.
About his photo Derek writes:
Taken from a few miles away ( 3.4 miles I believe ) on the 63rd floor of the Rencen, Detroit’s Belle Isle Park is one of the most popular summer destinations in the city. The land was purchased in 1879 and opened to the public 10 years later – the park itself was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of New York City’s Central Park. Admission is free but on a hot summer day get there early or all the best spots on this 982 acre island will be taken. It is America’s largest City-Owned Island Park.
PS: Go back in time at Belle Isle on Michigan in Pictures.
October 1, 2013
A taste of the Shutdown’s impact on Michigan via Leelanau.com…
The TC Ticker reports that the federal government shutdown that began at midnight has closed portions of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore:
A park representative said gates will be closed on the park’s campgrounds, bathrooms and popular Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive until the shutdown ends, though visitors may still access the park’s hiking trails and lakeshore. (our emphasis)
Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of five national parks in Michigan affected by the shutdown, a move that comes at an unfortunate time for tourism-dependent parks nearing the end of their operating seasons. The Leelanau County attraction, which will operate with a skeleton crew of emergency-only personnel until the shutdown has ceased, normally averages 2,300 visitors a day during the fall season, according to park reports.
The Freep reports that a similar scenario will unfold at other Michigan National Parks with Isle Royale & River Raisin Battlefield Park closing early for the season. Let me stress that you can still enjoy the majority of our parks and trails. In other Michigan-specific news, about 900 Michigan National Guard members are bracing for a furlough notice and training for another 12,000 will be put on hold. More details on the shutdown’s impact on Michigan at mLive.
September 24, 2013
Located just off the mainland coast of Lake Michigan’s east coast, a group of islands known as the Beaver Archipelago form a chain which marked the western edge of a tight passage along the coast. Known as the “Manitou Passage,” vessel masters taking this narrow passage were able to reduce the travel distance between the ports of Lake Michigan’s southern shore and the Straits of Mackinac by sixty miles, as opposed to taking the more circuitous route through open water to the west of the islands. As the most southerly of this chain of islands, South Manitou also featured one of the areas safest natural harbors, and with 5,260-acres of fine timber growth covering the island, it is not surprising that a few enterprising settlers arrived during the mid 1830’s to sell firewood to steamers taking shelter in the harbor when things turned sour out in the lake. By the late 1830’s it was commonplace to find upward of fifty vessels crowded into the harbor seeking refuge and taking-on supplies when things turned sour out in the lake.
Lying a scant few miles west of Sleeping Bear Point, mariners were hard pressed to locate the southern entrance to the busy passage at night or in times of thick weather, and a cry arose throughout the maritime community to light the southern entrance to the passage. Taking up their call on February 19, 1838, Michigan State Representative Isaac Crary entered a motion before the House of Representatives to erect a lighthouse on South Manitou, and fully cognizant of the vital role played by maritime commerce in the area, Congress responded quickly with an appropriation of $5,000 for the station’s construction on July 7 of that same year.
You can read on at Seeing the Light for the troubled saga of this light which saw high keeper turnover and some tragedy in its long tenure before being decommissioned in 1958. There’s also historical photos like this one showing the structure in full operation.
Many more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!
September 14, 2013
Every once and a while I come across something about Michigan that I can’t believe I haven’t featured. Here’s the latest…
Wikipedia’s comprehensive entry on Fort Mackinac explains that the first fort on the Straits of Mackinac was Fort Du Buade. Built by the French around 1690 near the St. Ignace Mission, Du Bade was closed in 1697. In 1715 the French constructed Fort Michilimackinac on the south side of the Straits where Mackinaw City is today. Michilimackinac became the hub of the upper Great Lakes fur trade and a French outpost until 1761 when British soldiers took control after the French and Indian War.
The Mackinac State Historic Parks history of Fort Mackinac continues:
By 1776 the American Revolution was underway. With the successes of George Rogers Clark in capturing British posts in the south, and American forces moving northward, the British grew anxious that Fort Michilimackinac , a wooden fort built on the beach, was vulnerable. Consequently, British Commandant Patrick Sinclair chose to relocate the fort to Mackinac Island where the high limestone cliffs and good harbor provided a more defensible location. Between 1779 and 1781 many buildings were taken apart on the mainland and reassembled on the island. What was not moved was burned. The civilian community was built around the bay below the fort. One of the first new buildings to be built on the island was the Officers’ Stone Quarters, the oldest building in the State of Michigan today.
The fort and island became United States territory as a result of the American victory in the Revolution. However, it took thirteen years for American troops to arrive and finally take control of the fort from the British. The latter were reluctant to leave the island, as British merchants continued to dominate fur trading, even in American territory. After leaving Fort Mackinac in 1796, the British went to St. Joseph’s Island, at the mouth of the St. Mary’s River and established Fort St. Joseph .
War broke out between the United States and Great Britain in the summer of 1812. Under the cover of darkness, a 300-man force of British soldiers and Native American allies embarked from Fort St. Joseph and landed on the north shore of Mackinac Island . They dragged their cannon to the high ground behind the fort, took positions in the woods and prepared to attack. American soldiers, about 30, were completely surprised and outnumbered by the British invasion. They quickly surrendered without a fight following a single warning shot by the British. This was the first land engagement of the War of 1812 in the United States .
You can read on to learn how the Americans ultimately got the fort back and how became a center of the Great Lakes fishing industry, its time as a Civil War prison, and the hub of the second national park in the U.S., Mackinac National Park. If you want to visit – bear in mind they close for the season October 13th!
Bill took this shot October 1, 1982 on Plustek OpticFilm 7600. Check it out background big, see more in his slideshow and definitely click to view his photo of the Mackinac Bridge taken on the same day.
September 13, 2013
John McCormick comments that it won’t be long and we will be seeing scenes like this one again. With a north wind blowing and highs not expected to reach 60 today in Michigan’s northern half, it’s pretty clear that fall and fall color is right around the corner! I hope you get the time to plan a color tour or two to enjoy places like the Lake of the Clouds. Michigan is especially amazing when the hardwoods catch fire, and the show only comes once a year
John is one of my favorite photographers, and his Michigan Nut Facebook page is on fire right now with new photos every day!
September 7, 2013
Today’s photo is the latest cover for the Michigan in Pictures Facebook. It was taken at a beach known as The Coves in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and is one of those photos to show your friends who don’t know Michigan.
More great beaches on Michigan in Pictures!