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What's New
Moose prosper while wolves struggle on Isle Royale
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (4/3)
Wildlife researchers who spent the winter on an island in Lake Superior report that Isle Royale's moose population is booming while wolf numbers remain near an all-time low.

Wildlife quandary: Should Lake Superior wolves be saved?
The Ottawa Citizen (6/3)
On an island in Lake Superior, biologists are wondering whether to save some very special wolves from extinction by inbreeding, or let nature take its course. Behind this is the bigger question: What's really natural, anyway?

Paddling, picnic highlight estuarine resources
Superior Telegram (9/21)
In honor of the St. Louis River freshwater estuary and estuaries around the country, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dedicated Sept. 29 as National Estuaries Day.

Tours teach lake history, research
TheNews-Messenger (5/16)
Tourists at Put-in-Bay can learn about Ohio history and the important Lake Erie research conducted at The Ohio State's Stone Laboratory by taking a tour of Gibraltar Island this summer.

Remoteness helps Apostles' appeal
Toronto Sun (4/27)
Located 145 kilometers from the nearest airport, and 300 kilometers from any large Canadian city, Apostle Islands National Park is a secluded Great Lakes gem, offering camping, fishing, paddling, and diving activities on Lake Superior.

30-acre island added to Detroit River wildlife refuge
Detroit Free Press (4/24)
The 30-acre Sugar Island was bought by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding and is now part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

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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 19, 2014
Maintained by: Christine Manninen, manninen@glc.org
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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