If you are reading this, I assume you live in Michigan. I live in Michigan. Most of my clients live in Michigan. However, not all. What everyone who does not live here needs to know is that Michigan is a super fantastically beautiful state. I hope that last sentence conveyed what a natural wonderland Michigan is. All seasons are glorious, but the season we find ourselves in, summer, is simply splendid.
In spring the state comes alive and makes way for the colors, smell, and feels of summer. Any Michigander reading this knows of what I write. Summer is the time we take to the outdoors. The deep blues of the rivers and inland lakes are juxtaposed against the greens of the forests and hills.
We also have freshwater lakes that surround us. Yes, we are surrounded by the Great Lakes. Calling these lakes seem so small for what are literally freshwater seas. Think about it, these “lakes” contain 84% of North America’s surface fresh water and about 21% of the world’s supply of surface fresh water. They may not be coastal in the traditional sense (or have saltwater), but the Great Lakes have many of the behaviors of seas; rolling waves, tidal shifts, strong currents, and great depths, to name a few. Lake Superior is the second-largest lake in the world by area, and the largest freshwater lake by surface area.
Although the Great Lakes are jewels of the world and don’t get enough respect, it is really the inland waters that bring Michigan’s summers alive. I could talk all day about a variety of places to visit and sound just like a Tim Allen commercial. But since I have to work and not write a book about Michigan, I will just talk about a few of the hidden summer treasures that don’t get enough love.
I grew up in the Upper Peninsula in a village near the Wisconsin border. I was so far west; I was in the central time zone. Anyhow, Michigan is divided from Wisconsin by the Menominee River. People should visit this river, specifically Piers Gorge, which isone of the most beautiful river-gorge settings in the Midwest. It is named for natural rocky “piers” that the river tumbles over, resulting in four sets of rapids some of which could be classified as low falls. The biggest of the drops is about 8 feet high.
Starting at around ten years old, I would ride my bike to this gorge and body surf down it. I did this all summer long for many summers. It was exhilarating. It was outrageously fun and occupied my summer in my youth. I would ride back to my house soaking wet. Then I would do it again in the next day or two. Now as an almost 50-year-old woman, I look back fondly and wonder, “How did I not die? Who lets small children body surf a class 3/4 rapids without supervision (or with it)? Were they crazy?” However, I lived and I advocate for visiting Piers Gorge today. Especially now that there is a river rafting company which will provide rafts and helmets for those brave enough to tackle this water.
In my mid-teens, I moved to Grayling and I was lucky enough to live on the AuSable River. Visit this river. The AuSable is 138 miles and is a major tributary to Lake Huron. My house was located at Burton’s Landing Rd, or as fly fishermen know it, the beginning of the “Holy Water”. The “Holy Water” is the eight to nine mile stretch of river between Burton’s Landing and Wakeley Bridge that is, by reputation, among the best stretches of dry fly-fishing water in Michigan and, perhaps, the eastern United States. It is serene and beautiful.
Now I live on the banks of the Red Cedar, by a school that is known to all. Whose specialty is winning and whose Spartans play great ball. Okay, okay, maybe that was a bit cheeky quoting the MSU fight song but even in East Lansing there are beautiful spaces on rivers. I strongly advocate for getting outside. The beauty of this state is boundless. I still find it difficult to believe that we are not an overcrowded mess of people. However, I am thankful for that. I was never a high school cheer leader, but I might begin to sound like one right now. We take this state, and season, for granted. We live on the watershed – it is the largest in the world. The natural beauty and wonder should be enjoyed right now.
Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.