We have many important public trust resources in our region, but one of them gets little attention —Lake Michigan-Huron.
Lake Michigan-Huron is one water body, despite its appearance to the eye and mind. People living in Empire or Alpena live on the same lake. They’re in the same watershed and tread a single uninterrupted shore.
When North Americans are asked to identify the largest lake in the world, many of them single out Lake Superior. But they’re wrong. Russia’s Lake Baikal is the largest by volume. Lake Michigan-Huron is the largest by surface area at 45,300 square miles. Superior is a mere 31,700 square miles and Baikal, an even smaller 12,248.
Why isn’t Lake Michigan-Huron widely recognized by the public? It has a single water level. But nature has designed it in such a way as to fool the human mind. Linked only by a five-mile strait, the Michigan lobe and the Huron lobe resemble fraternal twins. One is dotted by large cities, and heavily industrialized at one end. The watershed of the other is lightly populated, and the lake/lobe has been all but forgotten.
There is a remarkable diversity to Lake Michigan-Huron. Sandy and stony shores, majestic cities and legal wilderness, sturgeon and salmon, the feeling of the north and the anxious intensity of the Midwest, the maple leaf and the red, white and blue. There is no other lake close to it in all the world.
So, here’s to Lake Michigan-Huron.