Presque-Isle-in-the-Porkies

Quiet water of the Presque Isle River. Porcupine Wilderness State Park, photo by Linda Carter

The Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park is the area of Michigan where I haven’t yet visited that I’m most fascinated with. One of the cool things for me about putting Michigan in Pictures together is learning new things about places, and Linda’s photo showed me something new about the Park! She writes:

The Presque Isle River (French explorers named it for the little island at the mouth of the river) is the largest and most dangerous flow through the Porcupine Mountains. The 3 waterfalls near its mouth are some of the most scenic in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The river forks at the end as it flows to Lake Superior. This picture is the right side, which is quiet and peaceful.

View her photo bigger and see more (including some of those waterfalls) in her Porkies slideshow.

The Golden Hour on the Rouge

The Golden Hour on the Rouge, photo by pkHyperFocal

The Rouge River Gateway Project relates that the Potawatami referred to the river as Minosa Goink which means “Singeing Skin River” – the place where game animals were dressed. The history continues (with my links to other fun stuff):

The French first settled on the banks of the Rouge River in the 1780s. They named the river “Rouge”, or red. Settlers would claim a few hundred feet of river frontage and extend their farms deep into the forest. Remnants of these “ribbon farms” still exist today in land ownership patterns along the river. Europeans continued to immigrate into the region to take advantage of its resources. They used the reddish clay for brick, mined the area’s salt deposits, and built farming communities along the riverbanks. The native prairie oak savannah and hardwood forests were cleared to make room for agriculture and industry.

Rapid growth and industrial development characterized the late nineteenth century. Henry Ford purchased extensive land holdings along the river. He built a factory in Dearborn to manufacture farm tractors, but kept a good portion of his land in agricultural production, partially for testing equipment. In 1914, he started construction of a permanent residence on the banks of the Rouge River.

A defining moment in the history of the river transpired with the construction of the Ford Rouge Plant during World War I. The development of the plant was motivated by Henry Ford’s desire to supply submarine chasers to the US military. The Ford Rouge Manufacturing Complex grew into a massive self –contained industrial complex that daily employed over ninety thousand men in the early 20th century. Raw materials including coke, iron ore, and rubber were brought in and transformed into cars in less than thirty hours, a process that set a new global standard for industry. The Rouge Manufacturing Complex became the largest manufacturing site in the world.

In his book Burning Rivers, Allen Park native John Hartig relates how heavy manufacturing and population growth seriously impacted the river to the point where the river became one of the most polluted waterways in the nation, catching fire in 1969 shortly after the famous Lake Erie/Cuyahoga River fire.

In 1986, in a Sunday feature on a new organization seeking to restore the Rouge, the Detroit Free Press called it the “sewer for a metropolis, discharge drain for industry, dumping ground for junk and garbage”. They went on to say that “the Rouge River has become so polluted that a cleanup seems unthinkable.”

While the Rouge is certainly far from restored, the organization the Freep was talking about, Friends of the Rouge, has been dedicated along with other public and private efforts to the preservation & restoration of the river. I encourage you to check them out for more information and to learn about their good work on the behalf of the river. Lots more at the Rouge River Project and Wayne County’s Rouge Project.

View pkHyperFocal’s photo big as a boat and see more in their Man Made slideshow.

More industry on Michigan in Pictures.

Sunny skies at Pine Bend

December 8, 2014

Pine Bend Natural Area

Winding River, photo by paisleyrainboots

Sarah took this last week at Pine Bend County Park and says that it was a beautiful day despite the 30 degree temperatures.

View her photo bigger and follow her on Instagram. You can also tune into her blog.

bakers-falls-wakefield-mi

Bakers Falls, Wakefield, MI, photo by Josh Ringsmuth

Yesterday Michigan in Pictures joined Twitter @michpics. In addition to tweeting out the daily photo, I’m planning to dig out gems from the huge archive of pics & posts here, and also to share some of the many photos that I can never get around to featuring in the one-a-day format of Michigan in Pictures. I hope that you’ll follow me and tweet pictures at me there as well.

In honor of the occasion, I thought it would be good to share the first picture tweeted at me, even though it means back-to-back waterfalls. It’s of Baker’s Falls in the western U.P. aka Gabbro Falls about which GoWaterfalling says (in part):

Gabbro Falls is on the Black River and is as impressive, if not more impressive, than its more celebrated neighbors downstream along the Black River Scenic Byway. This is a largely wild waterfall with no fences or barriers of any kind. It consists of three separate drops. When the water is high there is a fourth drop that is the height of the other three combined. The main drop falls into a narrow crevice between two large rock formations.

Gabbro Falls is relatively easy to find but there is some confusing information out there. The waterfall is also known as Baker’s Falls, and it is often mistakenly called Garbo Falls (gabbro is a type of rock).

Read more & get directions at GoWaterfalling.com. Michigan in Pictures has more of those Black River waterfalls, and if you’re curious about gabbro, Wikipedia has your answers.

View the photo on Josh’s Twitter and follow him at @DaRealOtisJosh.

Laughing Whitefish Falls

Laughing Whitefish Falls, photo by James Marvin Phelps

GoWaterfalling’s page on the Laughing Whitefish Falls says (in part):

Laughing Whitefish Falls is in the Laughing Whitefish State Park. This is one of the most impressive of Michigan’s waterfalls. I believe it is the highest waterfall in Michigan that is readily visitable.

The falls can be found off of M-94, about 30 miles from Munising or Marquette, and just outside of Chatham…

The waterfall is named for the river. The river is so named because the mouth of the river resembled a laughing fish when viewed by the Ojibwe from Lake Superior.

Get detailed directions at GoWaterfalling.com. They add that later in the year the water flow can get thin enough to be hardly visible!

To answer the question of the height, I found a very cool list of Michigan waterfalls by height at the World Waterfall Database. At 100 feet tall, Laughing Whitefish Falls check in fourth behind:

  • Spray Falls – 140′ (towering and incredible – view by Pictured Rocks boat tour or long hike)
  • Jasper Falls (125′, midway between Miners Beach & Sand Point along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore shoreline – they say it’s basically a trickle most of the time)
  • Houghton Falls (110′, private property/no trespassing! You can click that link for a Michigan in Pictures photo from someone who got permission from the landowner to visit)

View James’ photo on Flickr and see more in his massive Michigan Waterfalls slideshow including a few nice shots of Spray Falls and some waterfall videos!

PS: Just realized that this photo was from way back in 2005! Amazing that I’ve been doing Michigan in Pictures for so long, and that people like James have been supporting me with their photography for so long!

More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures.

Fall at Bond Falls

November 14, 2014

Bond Falls

Bond Falls, photo by Yanbing Shi

Some mornings you just want to look out the window at what Michigan weather is up to, stick your fingers in your ears and say “I’M NOT LISTENING TO YOU.”

View Yanbing Shi’s photo background bigtacular and see more of his fall photos.

Lots more from Bond Falls on Michigan in Pictures!

A Stream of Ice and Fire

October 11, 2014

A Stream of Ice and Fire

A Stream of Ice and Fire, photo by posthumus_cake (www.pinnaclephotography.net)

Fall color is everywhere this weekend in Michigan – get out and get some before the ice gets louder than the fire!!

About this photo of the Carp River in Porcupine Mountains State Park from five years and one day ago, Matthew writes:

Autumn in the Porcupine Mountains, from a few years ago…arguably one of the most bizarre weather experiences I’ve encountered. When I arrived, it was full-on blizzard conditions. The snow only lasted a few hours, but for that time, the forest was utterly surreal.

View the photo bigger, see more more in his Porcupine Mountains slideshow and also at his website, Pinnacle Photography.

More from the Porcupines on Michigan in Pictures including this photo that Matthew took from the Lake of the Clouds overlook in 2009!!

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