North and South Manitou Island are part of an island chain that extends north to the Straits of Mackinac and includes the Fox Islands and Beaver Island. South Manitou Island is just over 8 square miles in land area and is about 7 miles from Glen Arbor while North Manitou Island is about 22 square miles and a little over 10 miles from Glen Arbor. More about the Manitou Islands from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
“To pass time, the men watched television, read books and magazines, played board games, and chatted with passing ship captains by radio. One coastguardsman perfected his rappelling skills by using ropes to descend from the gallery outside the lantern room to the concrete deck below.”
~Life on North Manitou Shoal
The last Coast Guard crew left the North Manitou Shoal Light in 1980. It’s located 8 miles off the the Lake Michigan shore from Leland, and growing up I could hear the station’s fog horn from my bedroom. When I was a kid, my parents and their friends would take steaks and beer out to the light and have dinner with the guardsmen.
Now mLive reports that the light is one of four Michigan lighthouses are up for sale to the public: North Manitou Shoal Light, White Shoal Lighthouse, Gray’s Reef Light, and Minneapolis Shoal Light. The auction page explains that proceeds from the public sales go back into the US Coast Guard’s aid to navigation fund for equipment, maintenance, and resources to continue preservation and maintenance of lighthouses that are still active. On Tuesday, August 30, registered bidders who have paid the $10K deposit can tour the light along with their contractor and they haven’t yet set a closing date for the auction.
Lighthouse Friends notes that the North Manitou Shoal Light was built in 1933 to replace the North Manitou Shoal Lightship:
…anchored two miles off Dimmick’s Point. In 1909, the Lighthouse Board noted that a shoal had developed southeast of Manitou Island in recent years and requested a lightship be placed on the easterly end of the shoal to help mark the six-mile-wide channel between Dimmick’s Point and Pyramid Point on the mainland.
This light station replaces the North Manitou Lightship No. 103 and North Manitou Island Light Station, and serves as an improved mark for the outer end of the shoal projecting southerly from the south end of North Manitou Islands. A substantial saving in annual maintenance cost will be effected. The crib on which the structure is built stands in 22 feet of water, on a hard sand and coarse stone bottom. The crib is 65 feet square by 22 feet deep, and is filled with conveyor stone. The voids around the stone in the 20 outer pockets were pumped full of Portland cement grout. Arch web steel sheet piling driven 24 feet into lake bottom encloses and protects the crib.
The crib supports a hollow pier of reinforced concrete 62 feet square and 20 feet above water, with deck overhanging 2 feet on all sides. This hollow space is occupied by the steam heating plant, coal and oil storage, laundry, etc. Above the pier rises the steel building 37 feet square, two stories high, surmounted by a square tower of three stories additional height. On the top of the tower is a third-order lantern, with its focal plane 79 feet above water. The building and tower are constructed of steel channels 12 and 15 inches wide, standing vertically with flanges turned in and bolted together on the inside.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says in part about a proposed Little Presque Isle Natural Area:
The Little Presque Isle tract is often called the crown jewel of Lake Superior, with its beautiful sand beaches, rugged shoreline cliffs, heavily timbered forests, and unmatched public views.
…The rock comprising the area represents some of the oldest exposed formations of its kind. More than a mile of bedrock lakeshore and cliffs adorns Little Presque Isle, including sandstone cliffs that reach nearly 60 feet high toward the base of Sugar Loaf Mountain. One kind of bedrock, granitic, that occurs here is the least common bedrock type along the Great Lakes shoreline, with less than eight miles occurring in total. This is one of three areas where the public can see these 2.3 billion year old formations in Michigan.
The proposed wilderness area is a local landmark, which has significant historical value. The island was reportedly connected to the mainland sometime prior to the 1930s and was a landing place for early explorers and native inhabitants. Roughly 100 yards off the mainland, the island is accessible by wading hip deep water and offers and opportunity for solitude in a unique and scenic setting.
View Neil’s photo background bigilicious, follow him on Facebook, and visit his website to view & purchase this picture and other Lake Superior photos (and also pics from lots of other cool Michigan locations).
I confess that I am more curious about what will happen with wolves & moose on Isle Royale than what candidates are up in the polls.
- The riveting account from Black Coffee at Sunrise of an encounter with wolves on Isle Royale. (<this is 110% the experience that Isle Royale can offer)
- The incredible study of wolves & moose on Isle Royale. It started in 1954 and you can access it at The Wolves & Moose of Isle Royale. (<If you click any links, I hope it’s this one)
- Moose. Up close and personal and doing what moose do.
- It’s a great place to see the Northern Lights … the zodiacal light too.
- There’s some amazing views like Mount Franklin & Rock Harbor Lighthouse.
- 17 islands.
- Deep wilderness camping miles from anything.
- It’s a great place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.
Ross says that this was an awesome surprise one morning as they were filtering water from the lake. Check out his photo background bigtacular, see more including some Northern Lights photos in his Isle Royale slideshow, and view and purchase his work at rossellet.com.
It’s raining like crazy here in Traverse City this morning, so let’s take a trip back to last summer and up to Partridge Bay, just north of Marquette on Lake Superior.
More Lake Superior beauty on Michigan in Pictures.