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What's New
Mackinac Island nabs spot on best U.S. islands list
MLive (4/19)
When it comes to the best islands in the United States, TripAdvisor says Mackinac Island, Mich., ranks among tropical destinations such as Hawaii and the Florida Keys.

In the Thousand Islands, castles, cliffs and contemplation
The New York Times (5/17)
There are 1,864 islands in the Thousand Islands that speckle the St. Lawrence River as it nears Lake Ontario.

Bad River Tribe receives $15,000 grant
The Ashland Daily Press (5/13)
The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service announced $1,067,500 in support of 50 grants in 27 states, including an award of $15,000 to the Bad River Tribe.

The must-see islands of Wisconsin
Wasau Daily Herald (5/11)
Wisconsin is dotted with diverse little islands thanks to 800 miles of coastline that surround the state’s western, northern and eastern borders. Some of them are completely enthralling yet rarely discovered geographic gems.

Jet Express reviving boat service to Cedar Point from Sandusky, Lake Erie islands
The Plain Dealer (5/3)
In Ohio, for the first time in years, Cedar Point guests will be able to arrive at the park by public ferry. The Jet Express is reviving a century-old tradition this summer, by adding service between downtown Sandusky, the Cedar Point Marina and the Lake Erie islands.

Input sought on proposed Belle Isle habitat project
The Associated Press (4/4)
Michigan is seeking public input on a proposed habitat project to reconnect Lake Okonoka on Belle Isle to the Detroit River. An informational meeting is scheduled April 14 at the park’s Flynn Pavilion.

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Overview
The 35,000 islands of the Great Lakes form a superlative natural system. In fact, the largest lake island in the world is Manitoulin in Lake Huron (Ontario), covering 1,068 square miles. Due to their isolation, islands have unique properties warranting special attention and protection. The properties of Great Lakes islands include high proportions of endemic and endangered species, fish spawning areas, open and perched dunes, and nesting colonial waterbirds and migratory waterfowl. These islands contain many critical natural features, cultural resources, and recreational opportunities that, despite being threatened by pressures of unplanned development and habitat destruction, have yet to be holistically addressed.

More Great Lakes island facts:
  • The Thirty Thousand Islands of Georgian Bay, Ontario, actually include around 17,500 islands.
  • The Thousand Islands between New York and Ontario number about 1,500.
  • Lake of the Woods, shared by Ontario, Minnesota and Manitoba, is said to contain 14,000 islands.
  • Finland claims to have more islands than any other country, with a stated total of 179,584. However, Canada probably exceeds this number with its immense areas of island-strewn lakes and thousands of miles of rocky coastline.
  • The largest island created by human action is the Ile Rene-Lavasseur, a 780-square-mile island in Manicouagan Reservoir, Quebec. The reservoir was formed by the damming of a river to flood a 210 million-year-old meteor crater. The crater's central uplift became the island.
References: Great Lakes Island Project, Michigan State University, 1996; Josh Calder, Island Information

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General Resources
Great Lakes Islands Committee
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
View the The Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team's overall assessment of the islands for protection and restoration efforts along with informational factsheets and helpful links.

Islands of the Great Lakes
U.S. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office
A team has been identifying Priority Island Conservation Areas (PICAs). These PICAs will be part of the forthcoming Framework for the Binational Conservation of the Great Lakes Islands, which will help island managers, owners, and policymakers prioritize and target island conservation actions.

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Lake Erie
Pelee Island
Put-in-Bay

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Lake Huron
Bois Blanc Island
Drummond Island
Georgian Bay Islands
Les Cheneaux Islands
Mackinac Island
Manitoulin Island
People, Places and History: The 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay
Thunder Bay Island

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Lake Michigan
Beaver Island
North Manitou Island
South Manitou Island

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Lake Ontario
1000 Islands

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Lake Superior
Apostle Islands
Isle Royale

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St. Lawrence River
St. Lawrence Islands

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Related Resources
GLIN: Cruises in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Lighthouses in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Sustainable Development in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Wildlife of the Great Lakes Region

 
See also: Largest Islands of the Great Lakes, courtesy of Josh Calder's Island Information.

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Updated: May 28, 2016
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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