|Northern Lower Michigan|
|Lower Peninsula of Michigan|
Northern Michigan, also known as Northern Lower Michigan (known colloquially to residents of more southerly parts of the state and summer residents from cities such as Chicago as "up north"), is a region of the U.S. state of Michigan. A popular tourist destination, it is home to several small- to medium-sized cities, extensive state and national forests, lakes and rivers, and a large portion of Great Lakes shoreline. The region has a significant seasonal population much like other regions that depend on tourism as their main industry. Northern Lower Michigan is distinct from the more northerly Upper Peninsula and Isle Royale, which, obviously, are also located in "northern" Michigan.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Summer destinations
- 3 Non-summer destinations
- 4 History, Weather and Local Culture
- 5 Education
- 6 Economy
- 7 Transportation
- 8 Tourist attractions
- 9 Flora and fauna
- 10 Business
- 11 Notable people
- 12 Media
- 13 Cities, villages and towns
- 14 Festivals
- 15 See also
- 16 Notes
- 17 Further reading
- 18 External links
The southern boundary of the region is not precisely defined. Some residents in the southern part of the state consider its southern limit to be just north of Flint, Port Huron, and Grand Rapids, but more northern residents restrict it to the area north of Mount Pleasant: the "fingers" of the mitten-like shape of the Lower Peninsula. The 45th parallel runs across Northern Michigan. Signs in the Lower Peninsula that mark that line are at Mission Point Light. (just north of Traverse City), Suttons Bay, Cairn Highway in Kewadin, Alba, Michigan on U.S. 131 Highway (approximately 2 miles North of county road 42, signs on both sides of the highway), Gaylord, Atlanta and Alpena. These are six of 29 places in the U.S.A. where such signs or monuments are known to exist. One other such sign is in Menominee, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula.
The geographical theme of this region is shaped by rolling hills, Great Lakes shorelines including coastal dunes on the west coast, large inland lakes, numerous rivers and large forests. A tension zone is identified running from Muskegon to Saginaw Bay marked by a change in soil type and common tree species. North of the line the historic presettlement forests were beech and sugar maple, mixed with hemlock, white pine, and yellow birch which only grew on moist soils further south. Southern Michigan forests were primarily deciduous with oaks, red maple, shagbark hickory, basswood and cottonwood which are uncommon further north. Northern Michigan soils tend to be coarser, and the growing season is shorter with a cooler climate. Lake effect weather brings significant snowfalls to snow belt areas of Northern Michigan.
Across the Straits of Mackinac, to the north, west and northeast, lies the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the "U.P."). Despite its geographic location as the most northerly part of Michigan, the Upper Peninsula is not usually included in the definition of Northern Michigan (although "Northern Michigan" University is located in the U.P. city of Marquette), and is instead regarded by Michigan residents as a distinct region of the state. Although, residents of the Upper Peninsula often say that "Northern Michigan" is not in the Lower Peninsula. They insist the region must only be referred to as "Northern Lower Michigan" and this can sometimes become a topic of contention between friends who are from different Peninsulas. The two regions are connected by the 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge.
All of the northern Lower Peninsula – north of a line from Manistee County on the west to Iosco County on the east (the second orange tier up on the map) – is considered to be part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord.
There were more than 150 past and present lighthouses around Michigan's Great Lakes coasts, including several in Northern Michigan. They serve as functioning warnings to mariners, but are also integral to the region's culture and history. See the list of Michigan lighthouses for more information on individual lighthouses.
- Eight islands off the Lakes Michigan and Huron coasts – Charlevoix and Alpena counties, respectively – are part of the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
Adjacent to the Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport is a United States Coast Guard air station (CGAS), which is responsible for both maritime and land-based search and rescue operations in the northern Great Lakes region.
The state forests in the U.S. state of Michigan are managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Forest, Mineral and Fire Management unit. It is the largest state forest system in the nation at 3,900,000 acres (16,000 km2). See List of Michigan state forests. The Northern lower peninsula includes three forests:
- Mackinaw State Forest
- Atlanta FMU (Alpena, northeast Cheboygan, most of Montmorency, and most of Presque Isle counties)
- Gaylord FMU (Antrim, Charlevoix, most of Cheboygan, Emmet, and most of Otsego counties)
- Pigeon River Country FMU (southeast Cheboygan, northwest Montmorency, northeast Otsego, and southwest Presque Isle counties)
- Pere Marquette State Forest
- Cadillac FMU (Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, and Wexford counties)
- Traverse City FMU (Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Kalkaska, Manistee counties)
- Au Sable State Forest
- Gladwin FMU (Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, southern Iosco, Isabella, and Midland counties)
- Grayling FMU (Alcona, Crawford, Oscoda, and northern Iosco counties)
- Roscommon FMU (Ogemaw and Roscommon counties)
In addition, large portions of this area are covered by the Manistee National Forest and the Huron National Forest. In the former, a unique environment is present at the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness. This relatively small area of 3,450 acres (14.0 km2), on Lake Michigan's east shore, is one of few wilderness areas in the U.S. with an extensive lake shore dunes ecosystem. The dunes are 3500 to 4000 years old, and rise to nearly 140 feet (43 m) higher than the lake. The Nordhouse Dunes are interspersed with woody vegetation such as jack pine, juniper and hemlock. Many small water holes and marshes dot the landscape, and dune grass covers some of the dunes. The wide and sandy beach is ideal for walks and sunset viewing.
Glaciers shaped the area, creating a unique regional ecosystem. A large portion of the area is the so-called Grayling outwash plain, which consists of broad outwash plain including sandy ice-disintegration ridges; jack pine barrens, some white pine-red pine forest, and northern hardwood forest. Large lakes were created by glacial action.
Michigan is a unique travel environment. Consequently, drivers should be forewarned: travel distances should not be underestimated. Michigan's overall length is only 456 miles (734 km) and width 386 miles (621 km) – but because of the lakes those distances cannot be traveled directly. The distance from northwest to the southeast corner is 456 miles (734 km) 'as the crow flies'. Unlike the crows, travelers must go around the Great Lakes. For example, when traveling to the Upper Peninsula, it is well to realize that it is roughly 300 miles (480 km) from Detroit to the Mackinac Bridge, but it is another 300 miles (480 km) from St. Ignace to Ironwood.
Likewise direct routes are few and far between Interstate 75 (I-75) and M-115 do angle from the southeast to the northwest), but most roads are oriented either east-west or north-south (oriented with township lines set up under the Land Ordinance of 1785).
Boating, golf, and camping are leading activities. Sailing, kayaking, canoeing, birding, bicycling, horse back riding, motorcycling, and 'off roading' are important avocations. The forest activities are available everywhere. There are a great many Michigan state parks and other protected areas which make these truly a 'pleasant peninsula.' These would include the Huron National Forest and the Manistee National Forest, plus the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (a 35-mile stretch of eastern Lake Michigan dunes) and the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness.
- Many city dwellers from "downstate" and nearby areas (notably Chicago) have summer vacation homes in Northern Michigan. The largest resort cities in Northern Michigan are in the west on Lake Michigan, with its sandy beaches and warm bays. Popular tourist towns in Northern Michigan include Northport, Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Manistee, Ludington, Bear Lake, Empire, Frankfort, Harbor Springs, and Leland. It should also be noted that there is a large wine district in the area along the Lake Michigan Shore.
- At the top of the lower peninsula are Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island (which lies between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas in the Straits of Mackinac).
- Less well known and less developed is the northeastern lower peninsula along the Lake Huron shore. It offers many great vacation spots, particularly along the coast. These are, in order from south-to-north, Standish, Omer, Au Gres, Tawas City, East Tawas, Oscoda, Greenbush, Harrisville, Alpena, Presque Isle, Rogers City, Cheboygan, and points in between. Some consider these to be more 'up north' than the relatively congested west coast. Indeed, the Detroit Free Press noted that the area between Oscoda and Ossineke included beaches that are "overlooked" and among the "top ten in Michigan." This would include the area around Harrisville (and two state parks). It was noted that: "Old-fashioned lake vacations abound on this pretty stretch of Lake Huron."
- In between the two (or three, depending on how you count) coasts, there are a large number of inland cities and lakes (Michigan has 11,037 lakes), and a varied landscape that has many rivers. Such places as Cadillac, Kalkaska, Grayling, West Branch and Gaylord are also prized summer destinations for Michiganders and visitors from other states. Among many others, Houghton Lake, Higgins Lake, Torch Lake, called Grand Lake (there are at least two in northern Michigan) and Hubbard Lake are massive inland lake resorts that are worth exploring.
- The Michigan Shore to Shore Riding & Hiking Trail runs from Empire to Oscoda, and points north and south. It is a 240-mile (390 km) interconnected system of trails.
- The Great Lakes Circle Tour is a designated scenic road system connecting all of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
Some of the downhill and Nordic skiing resorts located on the western side include Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, Otsego Club & Resort (since 1939), Crystal Mountain Resort, Nub's Nob, Caberfae Peaks and Schuss Mountain. Some of these also serve as summer golf resorts. Frederic, Michigan is a particularly noteworthy center for cross country skiing.
Fall activities include harvest festivals, and driving around in the woods to watch the colorful fall leaves. Hunting in Northern Michigan is a popular fall pastime. There are seasons for bow hunting and a muzzle-loader season as well as for using modern rifle season. The opening day of deer season (November 15) is a major day for some residents. Some schools close November 15, due to low attendance, due to opening day of deer season.
In winter, a variety of sports are enjoyed by the locals which also draw visitors to Northern Michigan. Snowmobiling, also called sledding, is popular, and with hundreds of miles of interconnected groomed trails cross the region. Ice fishing is also popular. Tip-up Town on Houghton Lake is a major ice-fishing, snowmobiling and winter sports festival, and is unique in that it is a village that assembles out on the frozen lake surface. Higgins Lake also offers good ice fishing and has many snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing trails at the North Higgins Lake State Park. Grayling and Gaylord and their environs are recognized for Nordic skiing. Cadillac is reputed to be even more popular during the winter than it is in the summer.
History, Weather and Local Culture
Northern Michigan was inhabited by Native American tribes, most recently Ojibwa and Odawa, well before English settlers founded a fort on Mackinac Island. Northern Michigan was the southern extent of the area thought to belong to prehistoric inhabitants known as the Laurel Complex. This area was used by the Hopewell Indian exchange system which is named after a tribe that existed in the Great Lakes region. Later, industry depended on natural resources such as lumber and fur trading which contributed to the rise of Traverse City. When the railroads connected Northern Michigan to the large cities through Kalamazoo, some wealthy urbanites established summer home associations in Charlevoix, Harbor Point,and Bay View. As passenger railroad usage ended in the 1960s because of increased automobile travel, aggressive promotion of Northern Michigan by local chambers of commerce led to many of the festivals and attractions that bring visitors north even today.
The region has the four seasons in their extremes, with sometimes unbearably hot and humid summer days (although, mild in comparison to some parts of the south) to subzero days in winter. With the expansive hardwood forest in Northern Michigan, "fall color" tourist are found throughout the area in early to mid-autumn. When the spring rains come, many roads and bridges become impassable due to flooding or muddy to the point a four-wheel drive cannot pass. Snow fall totals can vary throughout the region due to Lake-effect snow from the prevailing westerly winds off of Lake Michigan, with average yearly snow fall of 141.4" (359.2 cm) in Gaylord to 52.4" (133.1 cm) in Harrisville. Both the high and low temperature records for all of Michigan are held by communities in Northern Lower Michigan. The high is 112 °F (44 °C) set in Mio on July 13, 1936 and the low is -51 °F (-46 °C) set in Vanderbilt on February 9, 1934.
The area was populated by many different ethnicities, including groups from New England, Germany, and Poland. The Odawa nation is located in Emmet County.(Little Traverse Band of Odawa Indians)Native American reservations exist at Mount Pleasant and on the Leelanau Peninsula.
The Lumberman's Monument honors lumberjacks that shaped the area, exploiting the natural resource. It is located on the River Road National Scenic Byway, which runs parallel with the Au Sable River, and is a designated National Scenic Byway for the 23 miles (37 km) that go into Oscoda. The State of Michigan has designated Oscoda as the official home of Paul Bunyan due to the earliest documented publications in the Oscoda Press, August 10, 1906, by James MacGillivray (later revised and published in The Detroit News in 1910).
Hartwick Pines State Park is a 9,672-acre (39.14 km2) state park and logging museum located in Crawford County near Grayling and I-75. It is the third largest state park on Michigan's Lower Peninsula and the state's fifth-biggest park overall. The park contains an old growth forest of white pines and red pines that resembles the appearance of all of Northern Michigan prior to the logging era. Also to be noted is Interlochen State Park, which is the oldest state park and the other remaining stand of virgin Eastern White Pine in the Lower Peninsula.
Interlochen Center for the Arts is a notable arts center that offers a high-school-level academy and summer camp near Traverse City. There are also several institutions of higher education in Northern Michigan. Community colleges include North Central Michigan College (NCMC, pronounced "nuck-muck" by locals), Alpena Community College, Huron Shores Campus-Alpena Community College, Kirtland Community College, West Shore Community College, and Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) including the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, the only U.S. maritime academy on freshwater. Northern Michigan has arguably only one four-year university (depending on the definition of the southern boundary of the region), Ferris State University in Big Rapids. Other nearby universities are in the Upper Peninsula (Northern Michigan University and Lake Superior State University), as well as Central Michigan University and Ferris State University in the more southern reaches of the state. The University of Michigan runs the University of Michigan Biological Station out of Pellston, MI. Central Michigan University runs the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island. Hillsdale College runs the biological station in Lake County.
Many four-year universities located downstate offer Bachelor and Master degree programs through Northwestern Michigan College's unique University Center program, located in Traverse City. The University Center, located in Traverse City, is a joint program with Northwestern Michigan College and various universities around the state that allows local students to "attend" universities that offer bachelor and master degree programs not available through NMC, a two-year college, locally without leaving Northern Michigan. NMC supplies the facilities while the senior universities provide the education and endorsement. Universities offering programs here include Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University, Spring Arbor University, and others.
The economy of Northern Michigan is limited by its lower population, few industries and reduced agriculture compared to lower Michigan. Seasonal and tourism related employment is significant. Unemployment rates are generally high. (In June 2007, seven of the ten highest unemployment rates occurred in counties in the Northern Michigan area.
The northeast corner has an industrial base. In particular, Alpena is home to the LaFarge Company's holdings in the world's largest cement plant and is home to Besser Block Co. (the inventor of concrete block and maker of concrete block making machine), and has a hardboard manufacturing facility owned by Decorative Panels, International; and Rogers City is the locale of the world's largest limestone quarry, which is also used in steel making all along the Great Lakes.
Nearer to the Lake Michigan shore, Cadillac and Manistee have manufacturing and chemical industries, including the world's largest salt plant. Also, the East Jordan Iron Works corporate offices, as well as the original foundry, are located in East Jordan.
Historically, lumbering and commercial fishing were among the most important industries. Logging is still important but at a mere fraction of its heyday output. Commercial fishing is a minor activity.
A major draw to Northern Michigan is tourism. Real Estate, especially condominiums and summer homes, is another significant source of income. Because money spent in the real estate and tourism market in Northern Michigan is dependent upon visitors from southern Michigan and the Chicago area, the Northern Michigan economy is sensitive to downswings in the automobile and other industries. See Also: Economy of Detroit and Economy of Chicago
Agriculture is limited by the climate and soil conditions compared to southern regions of the state. However, there are significant potato and dry bean farms in the east. wine grapes, vegetables and cherries are produced in the west in the protected microclimates around Grand Traverse Bay. The Grand Traverse region has two of Michigan's four federally-recognized wine growing areas. The Grand Traverse Bay area is listed as one of the most endangered agricultural regions in the U.S. as its scenic land is highly sought after for vacation homes.
Large industries are sparse; cement-making and the mining of limestone and gypsum on the Lake Huron shore are the major exports of the area. Much of Michigan's natural gas extraction is from wells in Northern Michigan. A small number of men work on the Great Lakes freighters.
The only military presence in Northern Michigan is in two places:
- Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Michigan is run by the Air National Guard and is co-located with the Alpena County Regional Airport.
- Camp Grayling near Grayling, Michigan. Camp Grayling is the largest military installation east of the Mississippi River, and the nation's largest National Guard training site. It is used by the U.S. National Guard, as well as active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Year-round training is conducted on its 147,000 acres (590 km2) in Crawford, Kalkaska and Otsego counties. Much of the land (including Lake Margrethe) is accessible to the public for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and other recreational uses (when military training is not happening).
- Wurtsmith Air Force Base near Oscoda closed in 1993 and has been converted to civilian use as Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport.
Airports serving Northern Michigan include MBS International Airport near Freeland, Pellston Regional Airport, Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport and Alpena County Regional Airport in the Lower peninsula. Depending on one's destination, Chippewa County International Airport in Sault Ste. Marie, in the eastern Upper peninsula might be a viable alternative. Grand Rapids and Bishop airport at Flint (although neither is within the area) also have scheduled service proximate to parts of the region. The Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport is now a public airport which gives 24 hour near-all-weather service for general aviation.
The primary means of transportation in Northern Michigan is by automobile. Northern Michigan is served by one Interstate, and a number of U.S. Highways and Michigan state trunklines.
- I‑75 runs northwest–southeast through the region between the Flint/Tri-Cities area and Mackinac Bridge at Mackinaw City, which leads on to the Upper Peninsula.
- US 10 Michigan after it crosses Lake Michigan from Manitowoc to Ludington. US 10 runs from Ludington through Baldwin and Reed City before it becomes a freeway west of US 127 near the junction with M-115. US 10 bypasses Midland and terminates at I-75 in Bay City.
- US 23 runs northward for about 200 miles (320 km) along (or parallel with) the Lake Huron shoreline as the Sunrise Side Coastal Highway from the Flint/Tri-Cities area.
- US 31 mainly parallels the Lake Michigan shore from the Ludington area north to Mackinaw City; near Traverse City, the highway cuts the base of the Leelanau Peninsula.
- US 127 ends at Grayling, connecting Northern Michigan with points south
- US 131 is a primary north–south highway that is a freeway from Manton southwards; north of the freeway terminus, the highway is mostly two lanes, connecting Kalkaska, Mancelona, and ending at US 31 in Petoskey.
- M‑22 follows the Lake Michigan shoreline from Traverse City to Manistee and is a scenic drive along the Leelanau Peninsula and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
- M‑27 runs along the old route of US 27 between Indian River and Cheboygan.
- M‑32 runs between East Jordan and Alpena.
- M‑55 is a 150-mile (240 km) transpeninsular highway at the southern edge of the region from Manistee to Tawas City.
- M‑65 runs northward from Au Gres (just north of Standish) to Rogers City
- M‑66 traverses almost the entire north-south distance of the Lower Peninsula ending at Charlevoix.
- M‑68 is an east–west state highway that runs from Alanson to Rogers City; it passes through Indian River, Afton, Tower, and Onaway.
- M‑72 crosses the Lower Peninsula from Empire to Harrisville.
- M‑115 is a "diagonal highway", taking a generally northwest–southeast direction from Clare to Frankfort.
- M‑212 is the shortest signed highway in the state, connecting Aloha State Park to M-33 south of Cheboygan.
Ferries and bridges
Several ferries still operate in the region.
- The SS Badger carferry departs from Ludington and arrives in Wisconsin.
- Another begins in Charlevoix and goes to Beaver Island.
- The Straits of Mackinac is home to lake ferries that take passengers to Mackinac Island from either Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula or St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula.
- A ferry for tours of Charity Island in the middle of Saginaw Bay and the Charity Island Light (and even dinner cruises) are available. It leaves from Au Gres on the mainland, south of Tawas.
- The Kristen D is a ferry which operates between Cheboygan and Bois Blanc Island.
The Northern Lower Peninsula was home to many different railroads during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. One of these lines was the Detroit, Bay City & Alpena Railroad, later known as the Detroit and Mackinac Railway. The railroad had a main line along the Lake Huron shore and branch lines connecting to logging camps and gravel quarries. The railroad was a part owner of the SS Chief Wawatam a rail car ferry that crossed the Straits of Mackinac. Running down the center of the Northern Lower Peninsula was the Michigan Central Railroad, which connected Mackinaw City with Bay City, Detroit, Lansing, and beyond. This line later became the New York Central and was sold to the Detroit and Mackinac Railway in 1976. Several other railroads have existed in Alpena's history.
On the west side of the peninsula, the Chicago and West Michigan Railway (later the Pere Marquette Railway) and several commercial cruise lines were early in generating traffic to Northern Michigan destinations. The Pere Marquette Railway operated rail car ferries across Lake Michigan out of Ludington. The most known ferry is the SS Badger which is still in use today for automobiles and passengers.
The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad provided rail service between Cincinnati, Ohio and Mackinaw City. It was later bought out by the Pennsylvania Railroad. It served resort towns such as Traverse City, Petoskey, and Cadillac. In 1975 the line was bought by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Northern Railway was contracted to operate. By 1984 much of the railroad was abandoned and operations were handed over to the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway.
The Ann Arbor was a railroad stretching from Toledo, Ohio to Elberta, Michigan where it operated an rail car ferry until 1982. The ferry serviced the cities of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Menominee, Michigan, and Manistique, Michigan. The Ann Arbor became a part of Conrail and then was later divided up between the Michigan Northern Railway and the Michigan Interstate Railway Company. The remaining portions of the line were absorbed into the state owned lines operated by the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway.
Currently, Northern Michigan's railroad system is a skeleton of its former self. After the Chief Wawatam stopped running in 1984, rail lines serving the Straits of Mackinac were soon abandoned. In years past, four different railroads served Mackinaw City and St. Igance, and now none are left.
The remainder of the former Detroit and Mackinac Railway is now the Lake State Railway. It operates a line from Bay City to Pinconning where it then branches northeast to Alpena and northwest to Gaylord.
Portions of the former Pere Marquette Railway, Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, and the Ann Arbor Railroad became the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway. The main line of this railway runs from Ann Arbor north to Petoskey, with branch lines to Yuma and Traverse City. The railroad was renamed the Great Lakes Central Railroad. There have been discussions of reviving passenger service along this line.
- Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
- Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
- Mackinac Bridge
- Boyne Mountain
- Fort Michilimackinac
- Many State Parks
Flora and fauna
Northern Michigan has many tree types including maple, birch, Oak, ash, white cedar, aspen, pine, and beech. Ferns, milkweed, Queen Anne's lace, and chicory grow in the open fields and along roadsides. Forest plants include wild leeks, morel mushrooms, and trilliums. Marram grass grows on beaches. Several mosses cover the land.
Common animals in Northern Michigan include white-tailed deer, fox, raccoons, porcupines, and rabbits. black bear, elk, coyote, bobcat, wolves, and mountain lions are also present. Fish include whitefish, yellow perch, trout, bass, northern pike, walleye, muskie, and sunfish.
Common birds are ducks, seagulls, wild turkey, blue herons, cardinals, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, Hummingbirds, Baltimore Oriole, and ruffed grouse. Canada Geese may be seen flying over head in spring and fall. Less well known birds that are unique in Michigan to the Northern Lower Peninsula are spruce grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, red-throated loon, Swainson's hawk, and the boreal owl.  .
The Au Sable State Forest is a state forest in the north-central Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Much of the forest is used for wildlife game management and the fostering of endangered and rare species, such as the Kirtland's warbler – there are regular controlled burns to maintain its habitat. The Kirtland's Warbler has its habitat in an increasing part of the area. There is a Kirtland's Warbler Festival, which is sponsored in part by Kirtland Community College.
Insect populations are similar to those found elsewhere in the midwestern United States. ladybugs, crickets, dragonflies, mosquitoes, ants, house flies, and grasshoppers are common, as is the Western conifer seed bug, and several kinds of butterflies and moths (for example, monarch butterflies and tomato worm moths). Notable deviations in insect populations are a high population of June bugs during June as well as a scarcity of lightning bugs because of the lower average temperatures year round and especially in the summer.
Northern Michigan is home to Michigan's most endangered species and one of the most endangered species in the world: the Hungerford's crawling water beetle. The species lives in only five locations in the world, four of which are in Northern Michigan (one is in Bruce County, Ontario. Indeed, the only stable population of the rare beetle occurs along a two and a half mile stretch of the East Branch of the Maple River in Emmet County, Michigan.
There are no fatally poisonous snakes native to Northern Michigan. The poisonous Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake lives in Michigan, but it is not common, particularly in Northern Michigan. In any event, its non-fatal bite may make an adult sick, but it should be medically treated without delay.
Snakes present include the eastern hog-nosed snake, brown snake, common garter snake, eastern milk snake and the northern ribbon snake. The only common reptiles and amphibians are various pond frogs, toads, salamanders, and small turtles.
Prominent Northern Michigan corporations include:
- Jesse M. Besser invented concrete block in 1904 and founded the Besser Block Co. in Alpena.
- Morton Salt operates one of the largest salt plants in the world in Manistee.
- USG Corporation, also known as United States Gypsum Corporation, operates several quarries, including one at Alabaster, and one in Rogers City.
- Lafarge operates one of the world's largest cement plants at Alpena.
See the "Notable people" sections in the various settlement articles.
- Alcona County Review, Harrisville
- Alpena News
- Boyne City Gazette
- Cadillac Evening News
- Charlevoix Courier
- Cheboygan Daily Tribune
- Citizen-Journal, Boyne City, East Jordan
- Crawford County Avalanche, Grayling
- Gaylord Herald Times
- Grand Traverse Herald, weekly in Traverse City
- Iosco County News-Herald, Tawas City
- Ludington Daily News
- The Leader and the Kalkaskian, Kalkaska
- Leelanau Enterprise, Leland
- Manistee Daily News Advocate
- Midland Daily News
- Missaukee Sentinel (Lake City)
- Northern Express Weekly, weekly in Traverse City
- Onaway Outlook
- Oscoda Press
- Petoskey News-Review
- Presque Isle County Advance, Rogers City
- St. Ignace News, serving the Straits area
- The Town Meeting, Elk Rapids
- Traverse City Record-Eagle
- White Pine Press, Northwestern Michigan College
Daily editions of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News are also available throughout the area with the Bay City Times and Saginaw News available in the east and The Grand Rapids Press available the west.
- Traverse is published monthly with a focus on regional interests.
// designates a simulcast.
- 88.5 WIAB Mackinaw City - //88.7 WIAA
- 88.5 WSFP Rust Twp/Alpena - Smile FM
- 88.7 WIAA Interlochen - Classical "IPR Music Radio"
- 89.3 WTLI Bear Creek Twp. (Petoskey) - Contemporary Christian; Smile FM (//88.1 WLGH Lansing)
- 89.7 WJOJ Harrisville/Alpena - Smile FM
- 89.9 WLJN Traverse City - Religious
- 90.5 WPHN Gaylord - Adult Contemporary Christian "The Promise FM"; also airs on 99.7 FM translator in Petoskey
- 90.7 WNMC Traverse City - Variety, College
- 90.9 WTCK Charlevoix - Catholic; also airs on translators 92.1 FM Gaylord/95.3 FM Mackinaw City
- 90.9 WMSD Rose Township (Ogemaw County) - Religious
- 91.1 WOLW Cadillac - //90.5 WPHN
- 91.3 WJOG Good Hart/Petoskey - Smile FM
- 91.3 WZHN East Tawas - //90.5 WPHN
- 91.5 WICA Traverse City - NPR, Public News/Talk
- 91.7 WCML Alpena - Public Music Variety/News/Talk "CMU Public Radio"
- 92.1 WTWS Houghton Lake - Hot Country "92-1 The Twister"
- 92.3 WOUF Beulah - currently silent
- 92.5 WFDX Atlanta - //94.3 WFCX
- 92.9 WJZQ Cadillac/Traverse City - Contemporary Hits "Z-93"
- 93.5 WBCM Boyne City - //103.5 WTCM
- 93.7 WKAD Harrietta/Cadillac - Oldies "Oldies 93.7"
- 93.9 WAVC Mio - //Talk radio "The Patriot"
- 94.3 WFCX Leland/Traverse City - Classic Hits "94.3 the Fox FM"
- 94.5 WYPV Mackinaw City - Talk radio "The Patriot"
- 94.9 WKJZ Hillman/Alpena - //103.3 WQLB; also airs on 98.1 FM translator in Alpena proper
- 95.5 WJZJ Glen Arbor - Modern Rock "The Zone"
- 95.7 WCMB-FM Oscoda - CMU Public Radio
- 96.1 WHNN Bay City - Classic Hits; listenable in the West Branch and Tawas areas
- 96.3 WLXT Petoskey - Adult Contemporary "Lite 96"
- 96.7 WLXV Cadillac - Hot Adult Contemporary "Mix 96"
- 96.7 WRGZ Rogers City - //99.3 WATZ
- 96.9 WWCM Standish - CMU Public Radio
- 97.3 WDEE-FM Reed City/Big Rapids - Oldies "Sunny 97.3"
- 97.5 WKLT Kalkaska/Traverse City - Classic Rock "KLT the Rock Station"
- 97.7 WMLQ Manistee - Soft Adult Contemporary/EZ Listening "97 Coast-FM"
- 97.7 WMRX-FM Beaverton - Oldies/Adult Standards "Timeless Favourites"
- 98.1 WGFN Glen Arbor/Traverse City - Classic Rock "The Bear"
- 98.5 WUPS Harrison/Mount Pleasant - Classic Hits "98.5 UPS"
- 98.9 WKLZ Petoskey - //WKLT 97.5
- 99.3 WATZ Alpena - Country
- 99.3 WBNZ Frankfort - Soft Rock
- 99.9 WHAK-FM Rogers City - Oldies "99-9 The Wave"
- 100.3 WGRY Grayling - Country "Y100"
- 100.7 WWTH Oscoda - Country "Thunder Country" also airs on 94.1 FM translator in Alpena
- 100.9 WICV East Jordan/Charlevoix - //88.7 WIAA
- 101.1 WQON Roscommon/Grayling - Adult Contemporary "Decades 101"
- 101.5 WMJZ Gaylord - Adult Hits "Eagle 101.5"
- 101.5 WMTE Manistee - Classic Hits "Kool 101.5"
- 101.9 WLDR Traverse City - Country "Sunny Country"
- 102.1 WLEW Bad Axe - Adult Hits; listenable on the Lake Huron west shore up to Harrisville.
- 102.7 WMOM Ludington/Pentwater - Top 40 "Always Listen to your Mom"
- 102.9 WMKC St. Ignace - Country "102.9 Big Country Hits"
- 103.3 WQLB Tawas City - Classic Hits "Hits FM"
- 103.5 WTCM-FM Traverse City - Country "Today's Country Music"
- 103.9 WCMW Harbor Springs - CMU Public Radio
- 104.3 WRDS-LP Roscommon - Southern Gospel "The Lighthouse"
- 104.7 WKJC Tawas City - Country
- 104.9 WAIR Lake City/Cadillac - Smile FM
- 105.1 WGFM Cheboygan - //98.1 WGFN
- 105.5 WSJR Honor/Traverse City - //106.7 WSRT
- 105.5 WBMI West Branch - Classic Country
- 105.9 WKHQ Charlevoix - Contemporary Hits "106 KHQ"
- 106.1 WHST Tawas City - //90.5 WPHN
- 106.3 WKLA Ludington - Hot Adult Contemporary "The Lakeshore's Hit Music Station"
- 106.7 WSRT Gaylord - Adult Contemporary "106.7 You FM" also airs on 95.3 FM translator in Petoskey area
- 107.1 WCKC Cadillac - //98.1 WGFN
- 107.5 WCCW Traverse City - Oldies "Oldies 107.5"
- 107.7 WHSB Alpena - Hot Adult Contemporary "107-7 The Bay"
- 107.9 WCZW Charlevoix/Petoskey - //107.5 WCCW
- WTCM 580 50000 watt day, 1100 night, directional day and night, Talk, Traverse City
- WARD 750 1000 watt day, 330 night, directional day and night, Country (with WLDR-FM 101.9), Petoskey
- WMMI 830 1000 day only, talk, Shepherd
- WIDG 940 5000 watt day, 4 watt night, Catholic Talk, St. Ignace
- WHAK 960 5000 watt day, 137 night, Country (simulcasting WWTH FM Oscoda), Rogers City - simulcast of WWTH 100.7 FM
- WJML 1110 10000 watt day, 10 night, directional day and night, Talk, Petoskey
- WJNL 1210 50000 watt day, 2500 critical hours, day only, Talk (with WJML-AM), Kingsley
- WGRY 1230 1000 watt day and night, Adult Standards, Grayling
- WATT 1240 1000 watt day and night, Talk, Cadillac
- WCBY 1240 1000 watt day and night, Classic Country "Big Country Gold"
- WMKT 1270 27000 watt day, 5000 night, directional night, Talk, Charlevoix
- WMBN 1340 1000 watt day and night, Adult Standards, Petoskey
- WLJW 1370 5000 watt day, 1000 night, directional day and night, Christian Talk, Cadillac
- WLJN 1400 1000 watt day and night, Christian, Traverse City
- WATZ 1450 - news, talk and sports, Alpena
- WIOS 1480 1000 watt day only, directional, Adult Standards, Tawas City "The Bay's Best"
The following stations serve parts of Northern Michigan as their viewing area, but some also areas outside of the region.
- WPBN (7)—NBC, Traverse City/Cadillac
- WTOM (4)—Cheboygan
- WWTV (9)—CBS, Cadillac
- WCMU (14)—PBS, Mount Pleasant
- WBKB (11)—CBS, Alpena
- WGTU (29)—ABC, Traverse City
- WGTQ (8)—Sault Ste. Marie
- WFQX (33)—FOX, Cadillac
- WFUP (45)—Vanderbilt
- WLLZ (12)—independent, Traverse City/Cedar
Cities, villages and towns
- Au Gres
- Barton City
- Beaver Island
- Black River
- Boyne City
- Boyne Falls
- Central Lake
- East Jordan
- East Tawas
- Elk Rapids
- Fife Lake
- Harbor Springs
- Higgins Lake
- Houghton Lake
- Hubbard Lake
- Indian River
- Lake Ann
- Lake Leelanau
- Long Rapids
- Lost Lake Woods
- Mackinac Island
- Mackinaw City
- Maple City
- Maple Ridge
- Mullett Lake
- National City
- Presque Isle
- Rogers City
- Rose City
- South Branch
- Tawas City
- Traverse City
- West Branch
A number of annual festivals occur in Northern Michigan including:
- Alpenfest (Gaylord) including the Alpenfest run/walk.
- Art On The Beach (Oscoda)
- "Arts and Crafts shows calendar". around the state.
- Weyerhauser Au Sable River Canoe Marathon – Grayling to Oscoda, one leg of the "Triple Crown of Canoe Racing”. This is one of the few pro-am canoeing events in the U.S., and winning times may be as long as 21 hours.
- Bass Festival (Mancelona)
- Blissfest (folk festival) (Bliss Township)
- Brown Trout Festival (Alpena)
- Cedar Polka Festival (Cedar)
- Cadillac Chestnut Harvest Festival is held every year, on the second Saturday of October
- Celebration Days (Tawas Point State Park)
- Charlevoix Waterfront Art Fair, 2nd weekend in August.
- Chicago to Mackinac Boat Race ends on Mackinac Island
- Coho Salmon Festival (Honor)
- Dulcimer FunFest - (Evart)
- Festival on the Bay Petoskey
- Firemen's Memorial Festival (Roscommon)
- Freedom Festival (East Jordan)
- Great Lakes Bioneers Conference
- Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival which provides funding and support for lighthouses. 2nd weekend in October. (Alpena) According to Tim Harrison, Editor in Chief & Publisher of Lighthouse Digest Magazine and President of American Lighthouse Foundation states “There is no other festival like it in the United States. . ."
- Harrisville Arts & Crafts Show - Each Labor Day weekend there is a regional craft show (one of the largest and best attended in Northern Michigan), parade, and national jamboree often referred to as Harmony Weekend. I
- Hoxeyville Music Festival (Hoxeyville)
- Kirtland Warbler Festival and links.
- Leelanau Peninsula Wine & fOOD Festival with Blues (Northport)
- Mackinac Island Fudge Festival
- Mackinac Island Lilac Festival
- Mackinac Island Music Festival
- Annual Mushroom Festival (Mesick)
- National Cherry Festival (Traverse City)
- Traverse Bay Farms Salsa Bar Festival (Elk Rapids)
- National Forest Festival (Manistee)
- National Morel Mushroom Festival (Boyne City)
- National Trout Festival (Kalkaska) end of April
- Nautical Festival (Rogers City)
- North American Snowmobile Festival (Cadillac)
- Northport's Harbor Day and July 4 Celebration (Northport)
- Ox Market and Flea Roast (Irons) -- one of the oldest festivals in the state.
- Paul Bunyan Festival & Great Lakes Chainsaw Carving Competition last weekend in August. (Oscoda)
- Polish Festival (Boyne Falls)
- Port Huron to Mackinac Boat Race ends on Mackinac Island
- Posen Potato Festival
- Salmon Slam (Northport, Michigan)
- Scottville Harvest Festival
- Traverse City Film Festival
- Tip-Up Town (Houghton Lake)
- Venetian Festival (Charlevoix)
- Traverse Bay Farms Salsa Festival (Bellaire)
- WinterFest including a sled dog race (Kalkaska)
- World Famous Labor Day Fish Boil (Northport, Michigan)
- Photographs, Old Mission 45th Parallel signs.
- Photographs, Cairn Highway 45th Parallel cairn (83 county-named rocks) and sign.
- Gaylord signs denoting the 45th Parallel.
- Alpena, Michigan 45th Parallel sign
- List and map of 45th Parallel markers, with links to pictures (accessed 12/17/2007).
- Managing Michigan Wildlife: A Landowners Guide., Sargent, M.S and Carter, K.S., 1999, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, East Lansing, MI.
- Facts & Figures mackinacbridge.org. December 27, 2012
- "Diocese of Gaylord.".
- "Michigan regional geology.".
- "Map and links for sea kayaking in Michigan.".
- Mansnerus, Laura (June 6, 1993). "Bicycling in western Michigan, New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- "Cherry capital cycling club map".
- "Michigan Department of Natural Resources on bicycling".
- "Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore Visitors Bureau.".
- "Frankford Elberta Chamber of Commerce".
- *Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau.
- Detroit Free Press, May 26, 2007
- "Michigan Shore to Shore Riding and Hiking Trail".
- Great Lakes Circle Tour.
- U.S. state temperature extremes
- "River Road Scenic Byway". America's Byways. Federal Highway Administration.
- "Oscoda Press on Paul Bunyan designation".
- Michigan employment rates.
- "Pellston Regional Airport".
- Michigan Department of Transportation (2011). State Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:15 mi / 1 cm:9 km. Section E8–J13.
- "Charity Island ferry service.".
- Plaunt Transportation, Inc., Bois Blanc Island Ferry.
- "Detroit and Mackinac Railway pictures and history.".
- "Michigan Railroad history for Alpena.".
- Drury, George H. (1994). The Historical Guide to North American Railroads: Histories, Figures, and Features of more than 160 Railroads Abandoned or Merged since 1930. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-89024-072-8.
- DNRE Confirms Cougar Sighting in Michigan, The Morning Sun
- Save the Cougar home page.
- Michigan Wildlife Conservancy 1/29/2009 Lawmakers Look At Cougar Evidence
- "Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Kirtland's Warbler Populations Continue to Grow.".
- "Kirtland Warbler Festival and links.".
- Michigan Michigan Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program
- Weyerhauser Au Sable River Canoe Marathon
- "Chestnut Festival".
- Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival causes.
- West Michigan Tourist Association, FLea Roast and Ox Market.
- Scottville Harvest Festival.
- Sled Dog Central, Kalkaska race.
- Bogue, Margaret (1985). Around the Shores of Lake Michigan: A Guide to Historic Sites. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-10004-9.
- Cappel, Constance, ed. (2006). Odawa Language and Legends: Andrew J. Blackbird and Raymond Kiogima. Philadelphia: Xlibris. ISBN 1-59926-920-1.
- —— (2007). The Smallpox Genocide of the Odawa Tribe at L'Arbre Croche, 1763: The History if a Native American People. Lewiston,NY: The Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 0-7734-5220-6.
- McRae, Shannon (2003). Manistee County. Images of America. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-4124-2.
- Ruchhoft, Robert H. (1991). Exploring North Manitou, South Manitou, High and Garden Islands of the Lake Michigan Archipelago'. Cincinnati, OH: Pucelle Press. ISBN 978-0-940029-02-6.
- Russell, Curran N .; Baer, Dona Degen (1954). The Lumberman's Legacy. Manistee, MI: Manistee County Historical Society. OCLC 1213029.
- Wood, Mable C.; Ingells, Douglas J. (1962). Eerdmans. Grand Rapids, MI. OCLC 2556377.
- Media related to Northern Michigan at Wikimedia Commons
- Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, bibliographies organized by county and region.
- Michigan Geology – Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
- Enchanted Forest Guide to Northern Michigan
- Great Lakes Coast Watch
- Info Michigan, detailed information on 630 cities
- Pure Michigan: Michigan's Official Travel and Tourism Site
- Michigan Historical Markers.
- Northern Michigan Culture and Community Website.
- Harbors, hunting, resources and more from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
- Webcams for Northern Michigan