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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.

Escaping civilization in Isle Royale National Park
CBS News (7/22)
Millions of vacationers are enjoying awe-inspiring scenery this summer at popular parks across the country. But if you want to avoid the crowds and satisfy your inner explorer, take a look at one of the least-visited gems, Isle Royale National Park.

Rain prevents wildfire from spreading on Lake Michigan island
MLive (7/20)
Recent rain on Poverty Island, Mich., has helped prevent a wildfire from spreading, but the stubborn fire continues to smolder, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Wildfire still burning on Lake Michigan island
MLive (7/18)
A fire reignited on Poverty Island, a 200 acres federal land in Lake Michigan, off the end of the Garden Peninsula. The current fire is burning more than 25 acres

New ranger explores public access for St. Martin Island
Green Bay Press-Gazette (7/15)
In Wisconsin, the new U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuge ranger for the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge, is exploring public access options for St. Martin Island, which was transferred to the service by The Nature Conservancy 10 months ago.

Lake Huron continues to post above average water levels despite poor rain
Manitoulin Expositor (7/13)
Despite the dry conditions Manitoulin Island, Ont., has experienced so far this summer, Lake Huron is holding its own in the water levels department, posting above-average levels for July.

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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: July 27, 2016
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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