Thanks for the wilderness, Congressman Dale Kildee!

Sturgeon River Gorge I by David Mayer

Sturgeon River Gorge I by David Mayer

This week longtime Congressman Dale Kildee passed away. Kildee, uncle of current Flint Representative Dan Kildee, represented Flint for over 30 years earning the nickname “the Cal Ripken of Congress.” He was involved in many efforts including some vital early childhood bills and (of course) auto industry support, but one interesting thing that I learned from writer David Dempsey is that Dale was the sponsor of the 1987 Michigan Wilderness Act which created 10 State Wilderness Areas protecting nearly 100,000 acres of old growth forest, dunes, lakes, and rivers including Sturgeon River Gorge.

Thank you Dale for your work on the behalf of Michigan’s wild places! Click for a map of all 18 of Michigan’s Wilderness Areas.

David took this back in October of 2012 in the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness. See more in his Porcupine Mountains gallery on Flickr.

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The Weather & Fall Color

Mirror Lake in Autumn by Julie Chapa

Mirror Lake in Autumn by Julie Chapa

In their excellent article on The Science of Fall Color, the US Forest Service explains the role of the weather in the annual seasonal show:

The amount and brilliance of the colors that develop in any particular autumn season are related to weather conditions that occur before and during the time the chlorophyll in the leaves is dwindling. Temperature and moisture are the main influences.

A succession of warm, sunny days and cool, crisp but not freezing nights seems to bring about the most spectacular color displays. During these days, lots of sugars are produced in the leaf but the cool nights and the gradual closing of veins going into the leaf prevent these sugars from moving out. These conditions – lots of sugar and light – spur production of the brilliant anthocyanin pigments, which tint reds, purples, and crimson. Because carotenoids are always present in leaves, the yellow and gold colors remain fairly constant from year to year.

The amount of moisture in the soil also affects autumn colors. Like the weather, soil moisture varies greatly from year to year. The countless combinations of these two highly variable factors assure that no two autumns can be exactly alike. A late spring, or a severe summer drought, can delay the onset of fall color by a few weeks. A warm period during fall will also lower the intensity of autumn colors. A warm wet spring, favorable summer weather, and warm sunny fall days with cool nights should produce the most brilliant autumn colors.

Julie took this photo at a small lake near Fife Lake back in 2014. See more in her Michigan gallery & follow Julie Chapa Photography on Facebook.

TONS more fall color on Michigan in Pictures!

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Waterfall Wednesday: Houghton Douglass Falls

Houghton Douglass Falls by Michigan Nut Photography

Houghton Douglass Falls by Michigan Nut Photography

Waterfalls of the Keweenaw says that Houghton Douglass Falls on Hammell Creek is:

A wildly tall and impressive waterfall, Douglass Houghton Falls was once a popular destination for locals and Michigan Tech students alike. Crumbling cliff walls and numerous accidents, many of them fatal, pushed the land owner to cut off access. While the falls are still reachable by following Hammell Creek upstream from Lake Linden, the danger of a careless visit cannot be understated.

This waterfall is well over a hundred feet with several plunges bouncing off the sharp, volcanic rock. Steep walls make it difficult to reach the small drops in the meadow above, but a great view down towards Torch Lake can be made down the green creek valley. A small exploratory shaft is drilled into the side of the falls only a few feet above the creek. While it’s hard to reach and dangerous to explore, this waterfall is one of the highlights of the Copper Country.

More about how to visit at Waterfalls of the Keweenaw.

John took this pic back in October and notes that at 100′ feet, Houghton Douglass is Michigan’s tallest waterfalls. You can read the comments on the pic right here, follow the Michigan Nut Photography Facebook page for more, and view & purchase photos at michigannutphotography.com!

More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

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Back into the Woods Day 2020!

Sandstone Creek Ravine by Joel Dinda

Sandstone Creek Ravine by Joel Dinda

If you’re like me & love to hike, the two weeks of deer season put a little damper on your outdoor fun. Years ago, I proposed December 1st be designated a holiday so a very happy “Back into the Woods Day” to you all!

Joel took this photo at Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge back in 2012, and since you can see more in his Into the Woods gallery, it’s clear he deserves a lot of the holiday naming credit!

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Harvest Sunset

Harvest Sunset by fotoman91

Harvest Sunset by fotoman91

Here’s a shot of a barn near Webberville near sunset last weekend. See more in fotoman’s Barns & Old Abandoned Buildings gallery on Flickr.

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High above the St. Joseph River

St Joseph River by Bill Dolak

St Joseph River by Bill Dolak

Encyclopedia Britannica says that the 210-mile-long Saint Joseph River rises near Hillsdale in south-central Michigan, flowing generally west with a swing south into northern Indiana through Elkhart and South Bend before reentering Michigan to empty into Lake Michigan at Saint Joseph and Benton Harbor. Check out places to access the St. Joseph on Michigan Water Trails.

Bill took this photo of the St Joseph River near the Langley Covered Bridge with his drone a couple of weeks ago. See more of the river & the bridge in his Michigan: St. Joseph County gallery on Flickr!

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Waterfall Wednesday: Manebezho Falls

Manabezho Falls by malderink

Manabezho Falls by malderink

GoWaterfalling’s page on Manebezho Falls says:

The Manabezho Falls are part of the Presque Isle River’s spectacular final dash to Lake Superior. The entire 1 mile stretch is very beautiful, with lots of bare rock and rapids. It is easily accessible from the Presque Isle entrance off of CR-519 on the western end of the park…

Manido Falls are just short distance upstream. Nawadaha Falls is a bit farther upstream. Downstream of Manabezho the river plunges into a narrow gorge. The “falls” there have no name, but they are quite interesting.

The falls are located in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

This photo is from a couple of weeks ago. Head over to malderink’s Flickr for more!

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Autumn Corn

Autumn Corn by Laurent Fady

Laurent caught a beautiful Michigan fall scene last week. See more in his Fall in Northern Michigan gallery.

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Eastside Pumpkins

Pumpkins by Glenn Susko

Pumpkins by Glenn Susko

Welcome to October!

Glen took this last month on an Eastside Camera Club outing. See more on his Flickr.

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Monarchs, Milkweed & Michigan

Monarch with Red Mulch Background by Charles Bonham

Monarch with Red Mulch Background by Charles Bonham

The GT Pulse has an in-depth interview with Cyndie Roach if the GT Butterfly House and Zoo in Williamsburg outlining the generation spanning migration of the monarch butterfly from the Oyamel fir forests of Mexico to Michigan:

…They fly over the Gulf with their first stop being in the Texas panhandle area.

“They land there, take a break, and breed by the millions, lay eggs, and then they die. That super generation has lived all winter and is now ready to make that trip to Texas. So that first generation born in the United States will know to start flying north when they’re born.”

The entire butterfly birthing process takes 30 days. Part of the inherent will to go north has to do with milkweed. It’s the plant that signals them home.

“It’s the single host plant, meaning the caterpillar needs to eat it to become a butterfly. They’re looking for milkweed to lay their eggs on. We don’t even have Milkweed growing yet in the early parts of spring. It doesn’t come up until May and June, so what’s great is that as our spring comes on and things start to get warmer, that’s what’s welcoming the monarch to the area.”

The second generation of monarchs that were born in Texas makes it to the midline of the States, roughly around the Rocky Mountains where their babies will be born, and like their parents and grandparents before them – they’ll know to keep flying north.

“By the time they reach us we’re looking at the third generation typically. So it’s their grandchildren we’re now seeing arrive in Michigan.”

Remember that milkweed Cyndie was talking about? Northern Michigan provides milkweed that some of those third-generation monarchs will use to lay their own eggs. So the butterflies that are going back down to Mexico are the fourth generation of those first butterflies coming from the Oyamel fir forests.

“That’s why it’s so important that we as Michiganders, specifically up here in Northern Michigan, provide as much milkweed habitat as we can for these amazing creatures. We play such an important role, because not only are we the ones who see them come in in the spring, but we help them create a lifecycle.”

Milkweed plays an important role in aiding the monarchs in their generational journey, but also, being cautious with fertilizer and lawn care products. The monarch butterfly population has declined 90 percent over the past two decades, which is directly related to the milkweed population being destroyed.

Read on for lots more, check out the Michigan DNR page on Monarch butterflies & for sure plant milkweed if you can!

Charles took this last week. Head over to his Flickr for lots more!

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