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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.

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.

Options narrow for Isle Royale wolves, and genetic rescue option falls off the table
MinnPost (3/23)
Over several years John Vucetich has made a strong case that of all the options available to the Michigan park managers for preventing a moose-driven trashing of the Isle Royale ecosystem, genetic rescue was the best.

Manitoulin should see increase in monarch numbers this summer
The Manitoulin Expositor (3/16)
Recent reports have shown that the number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico is up, which is a good sign that Manitoulin, Ont., monarch numbers will be up as well this summer.

Park Service limits Isle Royale study to wolves' future
WZZM-TV - Grand Rapids, MI (3/16)
The National Park Service said it will limit a study on the future of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior to the question of whether to reintroduce wolves, but it does not plan to speed up its time line — meaning the wolves there could still die out before the study concludes.

Weather, water conditions pose threats to Isle Royale
Traverse City Record-Eagle (3/9)
The introduction of invasive species and the decline of native species are among the most pressing issues facing Michigan's Isle Royale, according to the national park’s top administrator.

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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: April 30, 2016
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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