Ride the Wave

Ride the Wave by Julie

Julie writes:

Sunday evening the winds picked up and we rode down to the pier and I watched this boat come from the harbor out the channel and head towards Petoskey north. He hit some huge waves coming in and I don’t know how he ever made it.

Here’s hoping he did and that you’re able to overcome the waves of 2020 as well!! See more in Julie’s Coronavirus Times 2020 album on Flickr.

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Leaving Ludington

Badger Departing Ludington by Mark Zacks

Mark got this photo of the SS Badger leaving Ludington last fall. See his latest on his Flickr & enjoy your weekend!

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High water forcing some closures

Buoyant Joy by Mark Smith

Buoyant Joy by Mark Smith

mLive’s Emily Bingham reports that historically high water levels are closing campsites, harbor slips at popular state parks across Michigan:

During a summer recreation season already hampered by pandemic-related delays and restrictions, many of Michigan’s state parks are now wrestling with another force of nature: historically high water along the Great Lakes.

From the east side to the west side and up north, the record-setting water levels are reshaping shorelines, eroding beaches, submerging docks and piers, and rendering roads and trails inaccessible. The unprecedented situation has manifested in high water-related closures statewide at harbors, parks and boating access sites managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

…A number of boating access sites and fishing piers across the state are temporarily closed on account of high water as well; a full list of closures and updates is available at Michigan.gov/DNRclosures.

Leland’s popular Fishtown is one place with critically high water levels. You can see Mark’s photo of the Joybigger on his Facebook & for sure follow him on Flickr @downstreamer!

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Midland waters receding but still very high

Kayaking During The Flood by Charles Bonham

Kayaking During The Flood by Charles Bonham

mLive has some positive news in the catastrophic Midland flood of 2020, reporting that Midland officials say the river will crest 3 feet lower than expected:

Officials stressed that although the water is receding, it will take several days and residents should remain vigilant. It’s possible “we won’t even hit the 24-foot flood stage until the end of the weekend or later during Memorial Day,” Bone said.

“It’s essentially a mess out there and it isn’t safe to drive around barriers or travel on the roads that are deemed closed,” he added. “Everybody please stay safe and do your best out there and we’ll get through this.”

Kaye said things have changed quickly since officials last addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon, when they were predicting the river to crest at 38 feet at about 8 p.m. Soon after, an updated forecast moved the flood peak back by about three feet and about four to five hours.

“At this point in time, by all models, by all indications, at least, we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ve crested…we’ve kind of plateaued right now, but we will start the descent as water starts to recede,” Kaye said. “That’s great news for the county, for the city, certainly for the residents and business owners that are in the affected areas.”

More from mLive & also check out their comprehensive timeline of the flooding. Check yesterday’s Michigan in Pictures post on Facebook for more photos of the devastation in the comments. Stay safe, Midlanders & everyone!

Thanks to Charles for this shot & see more photos including this view down Ashman Street on his Flickr!

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First Day on the Water

First Day on the Waterby John Trapp

First Day on the Water by John Trapp

John took this photo the other day and writes:

After a long, cold winter, that first day on the water is always a special thrill, no matter how many times you’ve experienced it. The maples are just leafing out and there may still be a nip in the air, but it’s time for some fishing!

Indeed! Check out more of John’s photos on his Flickr.

Stay at home order extended … and relaxed

Off Fishing by Julie

Off Fishing by Julie

Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended Michigan’s stay at home order until May 15th. mLive reports that some controversial restrictions have been removed:

Certain restrictions previously included under the state’s stay-at-home order, including bans on motorized boating, golf, and retail operations like garden centers, are lifted under the new order.

Landscapers, lawn-service companies, nurseries and bike repair shops will be allowed to return to work subject to strict social distancing, and big-box stores will be allowed to reopen closed sections of the store. Other retailers will now be allowed to reopen for curbside pick-up or delivery.

And residents will be allowed to travel between their residences again, although such travel is “strongly discouraged,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Public-facing businesses like gyms salons, bars and in-person dining at restaurants will remain off-limits under the order.

In a statement, Whitmer said social distancing remains the “best weapon” to defeat COVID-19, but said some of the restrictions put in place are being lifted because new COVID-19 cases appear to be leveling off.

More in mLive.

Julie took this photo of a boat out at sunrise last summer. See more in her UP of Michigan gallery on Flickr.

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Paddles Only: Power boating not allowed under stay at home order

Paddle Board Dog by Jack

Paddle Board Dog by Jack

Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced an extension of Michigan’s stay at home order to April 30th. The state also released clarifications of the order including that motorboats are not allowed under Michigan’s stay-at-home order:

Motorboats, jet skis and other motorized watercraft are not considered permittable outdoor activity under the revised stay-at-home order in effect through April 30, according to a clarification posted to the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order FAQ page.

When it comes to the water, the order allows self-propelled boats like kayaks, canoes or sailboats, according to the state, although any outdoor activity permitted under the order “must be done in a manner consistent with social distancing, and individuals should use only their own equipment to prevent the transmission of the virus through the touching of shared surfaces.”

People who are not part of a single household are not allowed to boat together under the provision that prevents gatherings, the clarification notes.

Read more at mLive & definitely check out the FAQs.

Jack took this photo of a Pomeranian enjoying a paddle board ride on the Muskegon River near Big Rapids back in June of 2016. Dive into his photos on Flickr.

See more paddleboard pics on Michigan in Pictures. Stay safe & strong.

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Get Outside (virtually) with WMT Cams

Retired Fishing Boats by Andy Farmer

If you’re anything like me, not being able to ramble off to all corners of Michigan is probably grating on you. To help a little with cabin fever, the West Michigan Tourist Association’s live webcam gallery features a great collection of webcams all along the west side of the state. One of these is the Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce’s Harbor webcam, and you can view that one and more at the link!

While this photo isn’t quite the view, I thought it was too beautiful not to share! See it and lots more in Andy’s Beaver Island, MI gallery.

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Pipeline deal reached … but what has changed?

Leaving the Pipeline

Leaving the Island, photo by Robert F. Carter

EDITOR’S NOTE: I agree with the position of Sean McBrearty of Clean Water Action – this “plan” to fix a multi-billion dollar threat to the economic engine of the Great Lakes within seven to ten YEARS is wildly unacceptable. We don’t need the pittance we receive from this pipeline in exchange for the unimaginable risk to the lives & livelihoods of all of us in the Great Lakes State.

In Michigan, company reach oil pipeline deal by Associated Press writer John Flesher writes (in part):

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration and Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge have agreed to replace twin 65-year-old crude oil pipes in a channel linking two of the Great Lakes with another that would run through a tunnel far below the lake bed, officials told The Associated Press.

The plan calls for drilling an opening for the new pipeline through bedrock at depths that could exceed 100 feet (30 meters) beneath the Straits of Mackinac, a more than 4-mile-wide (6.4-kilometer) waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge, officials told the AP prior to an announcement scheduled for Wednesday. The massive engineering project is expected to take seven to 10 years to complete (my emphasis), at a cost of $350 million to $500 million — all of which the company would pay.

In the meantime, about 23 million gallons (87 million liters) of oil and natural gas liquids used to make propane would continue moving daily through the twin lines at the bottom of the straits. They are part of Enbridge’s Line 5, which extends 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, crossing large areas of northern Michigan.

…Environmental groups promised a fight as rumors of the agreement spread in recent days. They contend the only safe course is to reroute Enbridge’s oil away from the straits.

“Michigan gets nothing in this deal except a continued unacceptable risk to our water, while Enbridge continues to rake in massive profits and use our state as a shortcut for Canadian oil,” Sean McBrearty of Clean Water Action said during a Lansing rally this week.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the next administration would have legal authority to undo the agreement. Michigan owns the straits bottomlands and granted Enbridge an easement when the pipes were laid in 1953. Creagh said any effort to revoke it would trigger a lengthy and expensive court battle.

Read on for more and follow John Flesher on Twitter @johnflesher.

View Robert’s photo bigger and see more in his My Neighborhood album.

 

Crazy Times on Torch Lake

Crazy Times on Torch Lake, photo by Drew Shaffer

Here’s another photo from that cool mLive feature on jaw-dropping Michigan locations. Wikipedia’s Torch Lake entry says in part:

Torch Lake at 19 miles (31 km) long is Michigan’s longest inland lake and at approximately 18,770 acres (76 km²) is Michigan’s second largest inland lake.

The name of the lake is not due to its shape, rather, is derived from translation from the Ojibwa name Was-wa-gon-ong meaning “Place of the Torches”, referring to the practice of the local Native American population who once used torches at night to attract fish for harvesting with spears and nets. For a time it was referred to by local European settlers as “Torch Light Lake”, which eventually was shortened to its current name.

Torch Lake is part of a watershed that begins in northern Antrim County with Six Mile Lake, which is connected by the Intermediate River with Lake Bellaire. The Grass River flows from Lake Bellaire into Clam Lake, which in turn drains into Torch Lake via the short Clam River. Torch Lake itself is drained by the Torch River, which flows into Lake Skegemog, which opens into Elk Lake. Elk Lake flows into the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay at Elk Rapids. This watershed is popularly known as the Chain of Lakes.

View the photo bigger and follow Drew on Instagram for more!