Michigan is known as the “Great Lake State” and as we know is shaped like a mitten with an Upper Peninsula that is separated by water. 

Michigan is surrounded by 4 Great Lakes:

1. Lake Superior

2. Lake Huron

3. Lake Erie

4. Lake Michigan

Lake Superior is the largest FRESH water lake in the world by surface area spanning 32,000 square miles. Lake Michigan’s shore is the home to the largest FRESH water sand dunes in the world. They are also the largest FRESH water system in the world. They span approximately 90,000 square miles and are all connected by a variety of lakes and rivers.

Think about this, more than 20% of all the world’s FRESH water is in the Great Lakes. It’s estimated that there are nearly 24,000 cubic miles of surface FRESH water on earth. They hold over 5,400 cubic miles of water and this accounts for more than 20% of the WORLD’s FRESH water.

Lake Superior contains half of the water in all the Great Lakes. It holds 2,900 cubic miles, or 3 quadrillion gallons which accounts for half the FRESH water of all the lakes.

Lake Michigan is the only lake that is entirely within U.S. territory. They touch eight states, but Michigan is the only state that touches all four lakes with borders on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Erie.

You are probably thinking why this is so important to know.? First of all, the Great Lakes region is the primary water source for 48 million people. It accounts for more than 90% of the surface FRESH water in the United States. I hope everyone that reads this thinks about that fact for just a minute! 

The FRESH water system is also an important shipping route, tourist attraction, and energy source. It accounts for 1.5 million jobs yearly as well as fuel over $50 billion annually in economic activity.

All of this does not come without a risk. Despite all their power, majesty, and importance the Great Lakes are not immune to harm. 

In future articles we will explore what new challenges the lakes are facing and why it is imperative we protect them at all costs! 

                            Stay Tuned,

                              Lori Pica