Line 5 Pipeline Shut Down … for How Long?

Straits of Mackinac by Mark Swanson

Straits of Mackinac by Mark Swanson

EDITOR’S NOTE: I believe that the Line 5 pipeline is a ridiculous threat to Michigan’s economy & environment, am quite pleased with it being shut down, and strongly hope that it is shut down for good. Sorry if that makes you sad or upsets you. 😉

Ed White of the Associated Press writes that a judge shut down Enbridge’s controversial Line 5 energy pipeline that travels under the Straits of Mackinac on Thursday after Enbridge reported problems with a support piece far below the surface:

Enbridge Inc. has not provided enough information to Michigan officials to show that continued operation of the west leg of the Line 5 twin pipeline is safe, Ingham County Judge James Jamo said.

Without the temporary order, “the risk of harm to the Great Lakes and various communities and businesses that rely on the Great Lakes would be not only substantial but also in some respects irreparable,” the judge said.

…Enbridge’s Line 5 carries oil and natural gas liquids from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. A four-mile (6.4-kilometer) segment divides into two pipes that lie on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

Enbridge last week said an anchor support on the east leg of the pipeline had shifted. The company said Line 5 itself was not ruptured and that no oil spilled into the water, but it still hasn’t explained how the incident occurred.

The east leg was shut down. But Enbridge said it resumed the flow through the west line Saturday after consulting with federal regulators at the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The judge said he’ll hold a hearing Tuesday on the state’s request for a preliminary injunction that, if granted, could keep Line 5 closed indefinitely.

“With the continued operation of this pipeline, the risk of severe and lasting environmental damage to Michigan’s most important natural resource continues to grow every day,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Read on for lots more. Nessel is not kidding about the potential damage to Michigan’s water from the company that devastated the Kalamazoo River back in 2010 with the largest oil spill in Michigan history. A University of Michigan researcher modeled Line 5 spill scenarios and found that more than 700 miles of shoreline in Lakes Michigan and Huron and on their islands are potentially vulnerable to an oil release in the Straits.

You can also dig into Enbridge’s take on their pipeline that carries Canadian oil through Michigan mainly to Sarnia, Ontario & the case against the LIne 5 at For Love of Water.

Mark took this photo three years ago of the Mighty Mac looking north from the Lower Peninsula across the Straits. See lots more in his Mackinac, Michigan album on Flickr.

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Shoreline Trek

Lake Michigan Pyramid Point

Lake Michigan … points along the bay, photo by Ken Scott

My friend Ken Scott has been walking the shore of the Leelanau Peninsula for the past year and a half. He writes that the point to the left is Pyramid Point in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore but he doesn’t know what name (if any) the other point is. Anyone know?

View Ken’t photo bigger, follow him at Ken Scott Photography on Facebook and definitely check out his Shoreline Trek slideshow.

Lots more Lake Michigan on Michigan in Pictures.

Michigan Meltdown

Michigan Meltdown, photos courtesy Great Lakes Coastwatch

Usually when I want to blog about something in particular, the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr has what I need. In this case, however, I think that everyone may have been out enjoying the amazing thaw that happened across the state yesterday as Mother Nature dropped the hammer on Old Man Winter, shattering record highs all across the state. From Marquette (48.5) to Detroit (59), the state of Michigan basked in springlike weather. Even Pellston aka “The Icebox of the North” managed to set a new record high (54).

Fortunately, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had their eyes in the sky on the job and dramatically captured what happened in just a few days. You can check these pictures out at Great Lakes Coastwatch and also right here in my Flickr where it should be big enough for some nice wallpaper. I used Lake Michigan because there seemed to be clouds everywhere else (and I’m a total homer). You can click the pic at the right to see the statewide view yesterday and also the Coastwatch link above for live satellite views!

Kirk Park

Thanksgiving Sunset

Thanksgiving Sunset, photo by wizardkitten.

It’s been 2 weeks since the last Michigan shoreline tour stop at Holland (feels like 2 weeks since I last got on the Michigan shoreline myself!).

While I didn’t find much about the history of Kirk Park at the page Google thinks is best, I did stumble onto this review of the Dune Ridge Trail at Kirk Park from Jim DuFresne’s Best Hikes with Children in Michigan Guide Book (there’s 80 hikes on that page – check it out):

There is a tendency at Kirk Park for children to head straight to the beach. They jump out of the car and hightail it down a paved path to Lake Michigan where they jump into the surf, roll in the sand, or get scorched by the sun. Then their parents take them home, usually waterlogged, sunburnt, and with half a dune in their bathing suits. Should have taken them hiking. At 66 acres and with 2000 feet of lakefront, this Ottawa County park is not large. In fact, it’s basically one dune. But it’s a large dune, and major renovations in the mid-1990s resulted in an intriguing 2-mile trail system over and around this towering hill of sand. The heart of the system is Dune Ridge Trail, a mile-long loop that climbs the hill and then circles the top to reward hikers with excellent views of Lake Michigan.

Cathleen says she likes this park and goes there quite a lot. After seeing her pictures and those from Thomas, Craig (who apparently heeded that “take the trails” advice), Katie, Holly and others, I can see why.

Here’s a Flickr map and also the entry for Kirk Park on our Absolute Michigan map of Michigan.

Holland, Michigan: flippin’ sweet.

flippin' sweet.

flippin’ sweet., photo by jill d.

Of this very wallpaper-friendly photo, Jill writes:

i took this one of my friend phil last spring. we were at this place called the bowl, which is basically a huge sand dune on the coast of lake michigan in holland, michigan. phil was a diver in high school — the combo of his back flip and the amazing sunset combined to make one of my favorite photos i’ve ever taken.

The Holland CVB’s history page tells the story of religious opression and economic depression in the Netherlands leading Dr. Albertus Christiaan & Christine Van Raalte, their family and congregation to take ship to America. At Detroit:

Dr. Van Raalte left his flock to survey the area and determine the best location for his Dutch Kolonie. Of all the sites that he studied, the one that was made to order for his colonizing plans was at the mouth of the Black River where it flowed into Black Lake (now Lake Macatawa) which, in turn, led to Lake Michigan. As soon as Van Raalte had satisfied himself that he had found the most desirable location for his colony, he lost no time in leading his group to the spot. They reached their destination on February 9, 1847.

There’s a ton more information about the early trials of the city and modern day Holland at the excellent Holland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau web site. Every May the city hosts Tulip Time, a celebration of all things Dutch and Dutch Village is a major Michigan tourist attraction. I think that this photo was taken at Holland State Park (also known as Ottawa Beach).

Wikipedia’s entry for Holland, Michigan says that as of the 2000 census, there were 35,048 people residing in the city (112,000 people in the metro area). Wikipedia also notes that Holland is home to the world’s largest pickle factory, that it is the birthplace of Slashdot, one of the first (the first?) blogs created by Hope College student Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda & company and that L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, while summering in the resort community of Macatawa.

We’ve added Holland to our Absolute Michigan map of Michigan. Someday we’ll figure out how to let other people add stuff too. You can find more pictures of Holland from Michigan in Pictures (including a nice bit of history and a Tulip Time extravaganza) and get business info and stories at Absolute Michigan keyword Holland.

Bracing Against The Wind at Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Bracing Against The Wind

Bracing Against The Wind, photo by josiah.keen.

2 months and only 60 miles? Looks like this Michigan shoreline tour might take more than just a summer (or a year) since I insist on pulling the car over at every state park along the way.

Josiah says the park is near his hometown of Holland and a frequent retreat. These pics are part of his great set of photos of Saugatuck Dunes State Park (view slideshow).

With the exception of a link to the interesting looking Felt Mansion (of which I suspect there will be more heard about here in the future), Wikipedia’s entry for Saugatuck Dunes State Park is pretty sparse, so we turn to the official Saugatuck Dunes State Park site which explains:

View Josiah's Saugatuck Dunes slideshow

A day-use park along a secluded strip of Lake Michigan shoreline, Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers 1,000 acres of land with 2.5 miles of shore line. The Lake Michigan beach is a 0.6 mile hike from the picnic parking area. In addition, the park has fresh water coastal dunes that are over 200 feet tall. The park’s terrain varies from steep slopes to rolling hills. The park, located in Allegan County, is relatively undeveloped. The land for Saugatuck Dunes was acquired in 1971 from the Augustinian Order, who used the buildings as a seminary. When the state took ownership, the structures were used as a prison and state police offices.The park’s major attractions are the long sandy beaches and the 300-acre natural area, which contains a coastal dune system, as well as three endangered plant species. Nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers and hikers are the predominant day users.

The park has also been a site of tension between preservation and development. In 2001, Concerned Citizens for Saugatuck Dunes State Park was founded in response to proposals to use the park for a water treatment plant. Recently, they and other groups formed the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. Check them both out for background and also this video slideshow.

Check out the Flickr photo map and also explore the area at Saugatuck Dunes State Park on our Absolute Michigan map.

Reflections :: Saugatuck, Michigan


Reflections, photo by chatursunil.

We get about 100 people a day who are searching for backgrounds for their computer. To them I say: this photo makes a great background!

Saugatuck (pop. 1065 in 2000) is the sister city to Douglas. This Saugatuck/Douglas history page says that unlike most Midwest frontier towns, neither town suffered the devastating fires nor the modernizing railroad. As a result, the villages provide a rare chance to see pre- and post-Civil Ware Greek Revival and Italianate architecture alongside later structures in the Arts & Crafts and Colonial Revival manner.

Like Douglas and many communities along Michigan’s western shore, Saugatuck was timbered out after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Still…

…Saugatuck and Douglas thrived, turning to shipping and fruit growing as a source of income in the latter part of the 1800s. Peaches from the area were called “Michigan Gold” and were shipped by large steamships to the Chicago market. Hundreds of ships of various types were built in Saugatuck shipyards and the town was a haven for ship captains.

A resort, tourist, and “cottage” culture emerged in the 1880s and took a propitious turn in 1910 when a group of Chicago artists established the Summer School of Paintings on Ox-Bow Lagoon, and when a huge dance hall, called the Big Pavilion, was built on the waterfront. The resulting influx of well-known artists and big name Chicago architects resulted in a wave of building in the Arts & Crafts and Colonial Revival manner. The seed planted at Ox-Bow has continued to flourish over the years, with the area is now known as the Art Coast of Michigan. Today, Ox-Bow continues to be affiliated with the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Saugatuck/Douglas Visitors Bureau has a huge pile of information and photos and links, including a link to a pretty informative video tour of Saugatuck/Douglas. There’s also the Saugatuck/Douglas Area Business Association with more events, news & listings. Wikipedia’s entry on Saugatuck says that attractions today include art galleries, the harbor, marinas, scenery, unusual stores, the view from atop Mount Baldhead, tourist attractions, the famous Oval Beach on Lake Michigan, Saugatuck Dunes State Park and Allegan State Game Area.

Cool new feature alert!

Here’s the Google Map for Saugatuck in our newly created Absolute Michigan map of Michigan. I’ll try and loop back and add maps for the other entries in our Michigan shoreline tour.

Sunset from Douglas beach


IMGP1498h, photo by norjam8.

The Wikipedia entry for Douglas, Michigan says Douglas (in Allegan County, pop. 1214 in 2000) and adjacent to Saugatuck, was originally known as Dudleyville and settled in 1851 as a lumber town. In 1861, residents changed the name to Douglas, maybe to honor Stephen A. Douglas or maybe because an early settler came name because he came from the Isle of Man (with a capital named Douglas). After the lumber went to rebuild Chicago, Douglas turned to fruit (especially peaches) and tourism.

Check out the Douglas Michigan history page for some cool old photos (and for Douglas business, events and city information. Here’s a Google map for Douglas to you can go there for the day or weekend. Douglas is also home to the Douglas Dutchers vintage baseball club who play a remarkably full schedule.

Norm has a ton more photos of West Michigan dunes and beaches and sunsets and sunrises.

Michigan Shoreline Tour: South Haven … and the Friends Good Will

Friends Good Will

Friends Good Will, photo by Doug Langham

Doug writes that the Michigan Maritime Museum’s historical replica of the famous sailing sloop Friends Good Will sails daily from the South Haven harbor. Follow that link for the tale of the original Friends Good Will and the building of this replica. (also check out Doug’s daytime photo of the sloop)

The Wikipedia entry for South Haven has all your facts and demographics and says that most of the city is in Van Buren County, with a the very north portion in Allegan County. Probably the best resource for South Haven history is the city of South Haven’s history page. It notes that the city was originally founded by J.R. Monroe, who was granted a land patent from the U. S. government in 1833 for 65 acres of land along Lake Michigan’s shore. The city didn’t get going until the 1850s when sawmills at the mouth of the Black River were established and fed the growth of the town (and the timber-hungry city of Chicago). South Haven’s “glory days” were probably when:

The resort business had its beginning in the mid-1800’s at the home of Mrs. H. M. Avery. It was to experience phenomenal growth and became South Haven’s most colorful era. By the turn of the century, thousands of visitors were arriving by steamer and train to enjoy a memorable vacation. Lodging was available in magnificent hotels, farm resorts, family homes, or picturesque little cottages along the river. Entertainment was unlimited. Choices included pavilions, several theaters, a casino, an opera house, an amusement park with a roller coaster, and much more.

Tourism remains the main business of South Haven and the South Haven Visitors Bureau and Great South Haven Chamber of Commerce can help you plan a visit. You can look in on the town with the South Haven web cam, view the Flickr photo map for South Haven and the Google map for South Haven.
Coincidentally, yesterday’s post was from South Haven too. View more South Haven area photos on Michigan in Pictures and also explore South Haven on Absolute Michigan.

Michigan Shoreline Tour: Van Buren State Park

Van Buren State Park

Van Buren State Park, photo by Paladin27.

A little over a year ago, I blogged another photo from Paladin27’s Flying to South Haven set.

It might be cheating to go to the well twice, but it’s hard to find a way to convey the awesome scope of Michigan’s shoreline dunes without getting above them (and moving along them). Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of his video on YouTube of the flight.

The official page on Van Buren State Park (which makes the park look like it recently escaped from prison) says:

Van Buren State Park offers approximately 400 acres of land located along the Lake Michigan shoreline in northern Van Buren County. The focal points of the park are its high dune formations and one mile of sandy beach. Van Buren became a state park in May of 1965 when the original 167-acre plot was purchased from the Harry LaBar Drake family. Since then two other land purchases have been made to make up the current park.

The Wikipedia entry for Van Buren State Park needs some help as well. Anyone have some knowledge about the park and a little time?

The park has camping on over 200 sites, hiking on miles of trails and great sandy beaches. Here’s a Flickr photo map and also the Google Map for Van Buren State Park (looks like they caught a boat on the satellite flyover!)