A Blaze of Green at Pictured Rocks

Untitled, photo by Steve Nowakowski

It’s hard to convey the unique beauty of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in a single photo, but the stunning green of this picture really triggered memories for me of some of my best and brightest days in one of Michigan’s crown jewels.

Steve took this on a boat tour in August of 2016 with nearly perfect conditions, likely with Pictured Rocks Cruises. View the photo background big and see more in his 2016 Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore slideshow.

There’s a whole lot more goodness from the Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures.

Breaking Fall at Gerlach Point

Breaking Fall – Gerlach Point, photo by Aaron C. Jors

Gerlach Point is located east of Miner’s Beach in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

View Aaron’s photo from fall of 2015 bigger, see more in his Michigan slideshow, and view & purchase more photos at Aaron C. Joors Photography.

Lots more from Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures!

March 3, 1875: Mackinac National Park & Fort Mackinac

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Old Fort [Mackinac] from pasture field, Macinac [sic] Island, Mich., courtesy Library of Congress

“Mackinac is a place largely visited by people from all parts of our country, and I take it from many foreign lands. A National Park is established on the island and I think the military post should be made not only comfortable but attractive.”
-Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs

It’s a birthday of sorts for Mackinac State Historic Parks which is a treasure trove of our colonial history. The page from Mackinac Parks on Fort Mackinac and the Mackinac National Park explains the birth of the park and how one forward thinking officer may very well have created the model for historical preservation in the park that holds so much of Michigan and the nation’s cultural history:

After Congress created Yellowstone in 1872, Senator Thomas Ferry introduced legislation to create a second park on Mackinac Island. In addition to the island’s attractive history and natural features, the U.S. government already owned much of the island as part of the Fort Mackinac military reservation and the soldiers stationed at Fort Mackinac could act as caretakers. As a result, the park would cost almost nothing, which Ferry knew appealed to the tight-fisted Congressmen of the 1870s. After two years of campaigning, President Ulysses Grant created the Mackinac National Park, the second park in the country, on March 3, 1875.

The park made Mackinac Island even more attractive to Midwestern visitors, and brought changes to Fort Mackinac, where the commanding officer became the park superintendent and a second company of soldiers joined the garrison. The Army finally performed some long-overdue repairs at the fort … Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs believed that “the fort itself is to the public one of the greatest curiosities within the lands of the park,” and required the fort’s commanding officer, Major Alfred Hough, to repair the post’s aging blockhouses. Although the blockhouses served no military purpose, Meigs knew that they were “among the few relics of the older time which exist in this country,” and believed that “there would be a cry from tourists” if they were destroyed. Fort Mackinac thus became as much a part of the national park as the island’s natural curiosities.

…On September 16, 1895, the last soldiers formally transferred Fort Mackinac and the Mackinac National Park to the state. Although the national park ceased to exist with this transfer, the state immediately created the Mackinac Island State Park, which continues to welcome thousands of Mackinac Island visitors every year.

You can view the photo taken somewhere between between 1880 and 1899 bigger and see more great old Mackinac Island photos in this Mackinac Island slideshow from the Library of Congress.

Lots more from Mackinac on Michigan in Pictures!

Words escape me: Grand Island Ice Caves, 2015

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Words escape me, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Words escape ME on the beauty of the video that Shawn of Lake Superior Photo shared. The ice caves on Grand Island near Munising didn’t happen this year, a very unfortunate thing for everyone in Michigan who makes their livelihood from winter recreation. However, thanks to the magic of the video below, we can travel back to 2015.

You can view Shawn’s photo from winter of 2015  bigger on Facebook and purchase the photo right here. I can’t stress enough that you should follow Shawn and Lake Superior Photo on Facebook. Please do it.

Now here’s that video. Be sure to turn your volume up and watch in HD – there’s a “boom” from the ice sheet at 4 seconds that’s incredible!

Sturgeon Bay Outhouse & Winter Cabin Camping at Wilderness State Park

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Sturgeon Bay Outhouse, photo by David Clark

We’re going to let David Clark of one of my favorite blogs, Cliffs and Ruins, take over today’s post. He writes:

The most scenic walk to an outhouse award goes to Sturgeon Bay Cabin at Wilderness State Park, where this line of wind-blown cedars escorts you to the potty.

I took this photo on the 2nd day of my snowshoe adventure at Wilderness State Park in December 2016, after a heavy snowfall the night before. I enjoyed 3 days of spectacularly good snowshoeing and utter solitude. Read more at my blog: Winter Cabin Camping at Wilderness State Park.

I really encourage you to check out David’s post for photos and a great account of his visit to Wilderness State Park which is located on the northwest shore of the lower peninsula, to the west of the Mackinac Bridge. This is an adventure I really hope to take!!

View David’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his Wilderness State Park 2016 slideshow.

Trouble in a corner of paradise

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Porcupine Mountain State Park, photo by Jim Sorbie

I’m sure that some people will see this as a “political” post, but it’s very much in line with Michigan in Pictures’ 11 year focus on the promotion AND protection of Michigan’s natural beauty. In other words, I will never stop speaking up when I believe decisions are being made that jeopardize this state that I love. Mineral mining, particularly the sulfide mineral mining that is sweeping the UP, is among the most polluting activities, and in my opinion, is totally out of bounds within a state park. If you are interested in opposition to this and in learning about acid mine drainage and its impact on groundwater, streams, rivers and lakes, including Lake Superior, I encourage you to visit the Mining Action Group.

On Monday, the Michigan DNR released this troubling story about exploratory drilling at Porcupine Mountains State Park:

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has issued a use permit to Orvana Resources U.S. Corp. – a subsidiary of Highland Copper – to conduct exploratory drilling on a 1-mile-square piece of property situated along the westernmost edge of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Gogebic County.

The exploratory drilling began Sunday and is scheduled to continue into early March, depending on weather conditions.

“This drilling project will affect a very small portion of DNR-managed land,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “The vast majority of the park, including the Presque Isle River, will remain unaffected by this exploration activity.”

If the exploration results indicate the potential for copper in suitable quality and minable quantities, Highland Copper would conduct a feasibility study, designed to mine the deposit entirely by underground methods, allowing the company to gain access to the copper ore body from land it owns outside the park.

You can view Jim’s photo from October of 2013 background bigilicious and see more in his Autumn in Michigan slideshow.

Winter at Tahquamenon Falls

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Winter at Tahquamenon Falls, photo by Ali Majdfar

Beautiful shot from Michigan’s largest waterfall, Tahquamenon Falls. Click that link for more – the next photo down is the same angle without ice & snow!

View Ali’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow. (warning – there’s a couple of AMAZING bug closeups in there too!)