The beauty of Lake Michigan can never be exaggerated more than anything. The extensive beaches washed by the waves in the northern side to the busy communities of the urban industrial areas in the southern rim all together present an unbelievable picture of Lake Michigan. It is a system that is culturally, economically and ecologically in comparable to any other water bodies in the Midwest.
Fact 1 Description
Among the various Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is the third largest lake by surface area, found in the United States of America. It is the only lake found in this huge country. The word “Michigan” owes its origin from the Ojibwas Indian word “Mishigami” which denotes large lake. It is also the sixth largest fresh water lake in the world. The freshwater dunes line the shores of this Lake. Since Lake Michigan joins Lake Huron at the Mackinac Straits, they are hydrologically considered as one lake. The main tributaries are the Kalamazoo, Fox-Wolf and the Grand. The lake flows into the Mississippi River basin at the Chicago River through the Waterway Illinois.
Fact 2 Area
The water surface of Lake Michigan 57,800 square kilometers and by volume it is the second largest lake being 4,920 cubic kilometer. However, Lake Superior is bigger in this respect. The areas touched by Lake Michigan are Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. At the southernmost tip stands Chicago while on the Lake’s southwestern shore stands Milwaukee. These southern areas are densely populated as there is great industrial development and agricultural areas too.
In the northern part of the lake, the watershed is sparsely populated and is mostly covered with forests. This area is mainly dependent on natural resources and draws tourists from all over the globe. Small lunar tidal effects have been perceived in this lake. The internal waves of the lake can produce 15 degrees C temperature and decrease it also along the coastal areas within a few hours. Fishing strategies require drastic alterations here.
Fact 3 Life on Lake Michigan
Wild Life abounds among the tall grasses and marshes, green prairies, savannas, sand dunes and forests of Lake Michigan. These natural habitats are excellent homes for all types of wildlife here. A fantastic range of birds inhabit this region that include ducks, swans and geese, robins, bald eagles, crows and also predatory birds like vultures and hawks as there is abundance of food for all creatures. The variety of fish seen here includes Salmon, Trout, Walleye and there are smallmouth fisheries too on the lake. The crawfish, sea lamprey, a metallic violet species of eel and freshwater sponges live here.
Fact 4 Recreation and Tourism
Lake Michigan tour is a traveler’s dream come true. In the clear waters of the lake, small cruise ships carry visitors along the waterway system. Water sports like yachting, diving, lake surfing, kayaking and also kite surfing are practiced here. One can avail of the Great Lakes Circle Tour that connects all the Great Lakes and also the St. Lawrence River on passenger steamers that have been operating from mid 1800s. One can travel to other islands too in ferries.
Fact 5 The Link
Lake Michigan forms a great link through its waterway system. On the east it reaches to the Atlantic Ocean and to the Gulf of Mexico through the Mississippi River in the south. Many large rivers enter the Lake like the Grand in the southwest, St. Joseph, the Kalamazoo, Fox, and the Menominee in the northeastern part of Wisconsin. The state stone, Petoskey, is a pebble-shaped stone which is actually fossilized coral and this is found only in the northern shores of Michigan.