Great Lakes

Gray wolves in the Great Lakes region should keep their spot on the endangered species list, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday.

Cory Suski

In a small pond in Wisconsin,  a recent study took place that could have some big implications when it comes to the spread of Asian Carp.   The invasive species threatens to take over waterways, like the Great Lakes. It's already become a major problem in the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and elsewhere.  

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, joined environmental group representatives to decry the S.S. Badger’s polluting of Lake Michigan.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Standing on the Lake Michigan overlook at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore — a wooden deck perched 450 feet above the lake’s steel blue water — it’s evident why the northern Michigan park was voted “the Most Beautiful Place in America” in 2011.

The panoramic view of towering sand dunes that plunge into pristine beaches, which then melt into a seemingly endless expanse of water, is breathtaking, hypnotic. 

Glen Lake from Sleeping Bear Dune
Robert Pahre / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Though Illinois is not famous for its mountains, it has other pleasures. As a westerner turned midwesterner, I decided to bloom where I’m planted. I’ve learned to appreciate both the Great Lakes and the prairies. Although Illinois does not have a nonhistoric national park, neighboring states with natural national parks surround it. All of these are national parks, though the names sometimes sound otherwise — national lake shores, national monuments and the like.

Dana Heupel
WUIS/Illinois Issues

New data on beach closures and health advisories demonstrate a need to end the dumping of raw or partially treated sewage into the Great Lakes and waterways that feed them, say U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and Illinois Congressmen Randy Hultgren and Daniel Lipinski.

Design for an offshore wind turbine and platform.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The wind off Lake Michigan is legendary. It most famously contributes to the “Windy City” image of Chicago, provided a name for an ill-fated 1975 football team called the Chicago Winds and was immortalized as the “hawk wind” in the first line of Steve Goodman’s song “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request.”

In fact, the wind blows across a largely uninterrupted expanse of 22,400 square miles of water, Lake Michigan, which is slightly smaller than West Virginia and larger than nine of the United States. 

On the hottest of Chicago's summer days it's not unusual to see an illegally uncorked fire hydrant gushing to the delight of neighborhood children. It's also not uncommon to see a city worker bottle up that fun with the conscientious turn of a wrench.

Call it an early message in moderation for Lake Michigan's young benefactors. Or a microcosm of water management for the Great Lakes region. Either way, the scene illustrates a lesson learned by local policymakers.

Late one night as I stood on the deck of a two-masted schooner motoring up Lake Michigan, I had an encounter with history. The Malabar was a replica of schooners that worked the lakes by the thousands in the final decades of the 19th century. That was part of the history I sensed. Part of it, too, was personal history, the memories of a lifetime brought vividly to mind while seeing new places, or old places in new ways.

The Great Lakes have beckoned for more than 30 years now. I have witnessed these inland seas in all their varied moods, from the tranquil silence of a summer afternoon to the pregnant violence of a spring morning. 

There has been much to write, several ways of seeing. In a single paragraph, any decent writer can paint an image of a fawn lapping from the waters of Lake Michigan. Couple that thought to the knowledge of deadly effluents seeking the same lake every day. What matters is the seeing. 

Editor's Notebook: It's summer reading time, naturally

Jul 1, 2005
Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

We ignore at our peril the power and indifference of nature. 

This is worth considering as we head into the far side of summer. Before we hit that hiking trail or take to Lake Michigan in a canoe, we might want to stay indoors long enough to pick up a couple of books that render this essential point in hair-raising detail.