Profile of the Land: Natural Features of the Inland Water Route Region of Northern Lower Michigan

TitleProfile of the Land: Natural Features of the Inland Water Route Region of Northern Lower Michigan
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication1976
AuthorsFoster WL
Pagination29 pp.
InstitutionUniversity of Michigan Biological Station
CityPellston, MI

The northern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan is one of the most water-oriented environments in North America. It contains the Inland Water Route which runs southwest to northeast, diagonally, through Emmet and Cheboygan Counties. This Inland Water Route consists of 38 miles of interconnecting waterways, beginning near Petoskey at Crooked Lake and continuing through Crooked River to Burt Lake; from Burt Lake through Indian River to Mullett Lake; and from Mullett Lake through the Cheboygan River to the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Huron. It then connects northern lower Michigan with world waterways via the St. Lawrence Seaway. Surrounded on two sides by Great Lakes, topped by the Straits, and dotted with numerous smaller inland lakes, northern lower Michigan is, indeed, a "water wonderland." The impact on this area by the last glacial advance which ended about 10,000 years ago and initially created the lakes, can be seen everywhere. The land surrounding the Inland Water Route is favored with a moderate climate because of its "lakeland" location. Soils, left as glacial deposits, are generally sandy but interestingly complex. Since glaciation, northern Michigan topography has undergone many more changes. Large tracts of second and third-growth forests have almost covered the scars of the complete destruction of our virgin forests around the turn of the century. Changes have taken place in land use, too, and man has been busy all the while making his imprint with dams, developments, freeways, and other character-changing projects. The geological, historical, and natural features of this region are important considerations when deciding water and land-use policies. It is only with a thorough knowledge of the place in which we live that future growth, development, and improvement can take place with the proper respect. As more and more people are coming to realize, an ecological balance is vital to retaining this area's reputation as one of Michigan's best, most beautiful places to live, work, and play.