State seeks input on new island management plan by end of August

Plan addresses state-managed land administered by the DNR in northern Lake Michigan.

Islands are amazing places and we’re blessed with many in Lake Michigan. Probably the most well known island in our state is Mackinac Island. But is it a northern Lake Michigan island?  While directly in the Straits of Mackinac, it would technically be considered a Lake Huron island.

While perhaps not as well known as Mackinac Island, several other northern Lake Michigan islands have interesting stories to tell.

Power Island is located in West Grand Traverse Bay, near Bowers Harbor of Old Mission Peninsula. It is a popular boating destination and is wholly owned by Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation department. It is approximately 200 acres in size and has over 3 miles of waterfront and over 5 miles of hiking trails. It has also been known as Marion Island and as Ford Island (1917-1944). Henry Ford owned the island during these years and many famous people joined Henry Ford for an overnight or two on the island, including Thomas Edison and baseball great Babe Ruth.

Ile aux Galets (or Skillagalee Island ) serves as a major shipping lane navigation marker and has been home to a continuously operating U.S. government lighthouse since 1850. Located in Emmet County, about 7 miles west of Cross Village, Mich., the island and its underwater shals extend about 2 miles to the east and half a mile to the northwest – a key hazard to navigation, ships and sailors.

The whole Beaver Island archipelago, most of which is in Michigan’s Charlevoix County, is the largest island complex and of significant ecological value. Some of the land is privately owned, some federally owned and much of it is owned by the state of Michigan.

In 2014, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources hosted public meetings to gather input from island residents, partners, tribal governments, local governments and conservation organizations and the DNR is now inviting those interested in the management of the Lake Michigan islands to review, ask questions and provide input on the draft Northern Lake Michigan Islands Management Plan.

As the DNR July, 2015, news release states, “this plan addresses state-managed land administered by the DNR on Beaver, Garden, High, Hog, North Fox, South Fox and Whiskey islands.”   Comments on the draft plan are to be sent via email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) before Aug. 31, 2015.

There are so many other interesting facts and amazing stories on islands in northern Lake Michigan. Consider making plans to visit any of the numerous islands – you won’t forget the experience you had being on “island time.”

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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