The Thunder Bay River is a 75.4-mile-long (121.3 km) river in the U.S. state of Michigan. It drains much of Alpena County and Montmorency County, and a small portion of Oscoda County, into Thunder Bay on the eastern side of northern Michigan. The mouth of the river is in the heart of downtown Alpena and is guarded by the Alpena Light Station.
Unlike many of Michigan's rivers, the Thunder Bay River drops considerably from its headwaters in southwestern Montmorency County to Lake Huron. A hill near the headwaters northeast of Lewiston is 1,270 feet (390 m) above sea level and 689 feet (210 m) above lake level. A former whitewater stretch northwest of Alpena, the "Long Rapids", carried the river down from the northern Michigan plateau to Thunder Bay. The rapids have since been drowned under Lake Winyah (also known as Seven Mile Pond), a hydroelectric reservoir created by the Norway Dam (also known as Seven Mile Dam).
Much of the middle and upper reaches of the Thunder Bay River flow through the Mackinaw State Forest, which is a large swathe of northeastern Michigan that, after logging was completed in the 1910s, reverted to the state for unpaid property taxes. The state forest contains large numbers of aspen and birch trees, pulpwood trees typical of second-growth Michigan forests.
The largest reservoir in the Thunder Bay River basin, the 8,500-acre (3,400 ha) Fletcher Pond (also called Fletcher Floodwaters) in western Alpena County, began to fill in 1932. It is noted for having the second largest population of ospreys in the Midwest. As of 2006, pond riparian property owners were actively trying to counter an exotic infestation of Eurasian watermilfoil.
As of 2007 [update] , planning was underway for a $3.4 million river-edge boardwalk, the 2,800-foot-long (850 m) Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail on the north shore of the Thunder Bay River in central Alpena. The boardwalk route passes through a former industrial site, the Fletcher Paper Mill. The boardwalk will be signposted with plaques and kiosks telling the history of the river.
Eager to help the motor vehicle industry, the Michigan Department of Transportation was one of the first state agencies in the U.S. to build concrete bridges. A good example, 150 feet (46 m) long, can be found spanning the Thunder Bay River at Hillman. Raised in 1922, it is of the variety called a concrete camelback bridge, and is said to be the fifth longest such bridge in the state. The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail will include a new pedestrian bridge across the Thunder Bay in central Alpena.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Thunder Bay River, and especially Fletcher Pond, have populations of bass, pike, and panfish.The river is also now the home of an exotic population of Eurasian ruffe.
The Lower Peninsula of Michigan – also known as Lower Michigan – is the southern and less elevated of the two major landmasses that make up the U.S. state of Michigan, the other being the Upper Peninsula. It is surrounded by water on all sides except its southern border, which it shares with Indiana and Ohio. Although the Upper Peninsula is commonly referred to as "the U.P.", it is uncommon for the Lower Peninsula to be called "the L.P."
Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the easterly portion of Lake Michigan–Huron, having the same surface elevation as its westerly counterpart, to which it is connected by the 5-mile-wide (8.0 km), 20-fathom-deep Straits of Mackinac. It is shared on the north and east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the south and west by the state of Michigan in the United States. The name of the lake is derived from early French explorers who named it for the Huron people inhabiting the region. The Huronian glaciation was named due to evidence collected from Lake Huron region. The northern parts of the lake include the North Channel and Georgian Bay. Across the lake to the southwest is Saginaw Bay. The main inlet is the St. Marys River, and the main outlet is the St. Clair River.
The Au Sable River in Michigan, United States runs approximately 138 miles (222 km) through the northern Lower Peninsula, through the towns of Grayling and Mio, and enters Lake Huron at the town of Oscoda. It is considered one of the best brown trout fisheries east of the Rockies and has been designated a blue ribbon trout stream by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. In French, au sable literally means "at the sand." A 1795 map calls it the Beauais River.
Montmorency County is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,765. The county seat is Atlanta.
Alpena County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 29,598. The county seat is Alpena. It is considered to be part of Northern Michigan.
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve is a United States National Marine Sanctuary on Lake Huron's Thunder Bay, within the northeastern region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It protects an estimated 116 historically significant shipwrecks ranging from nineteenth-century wooden side-wheelers to twentieth-century steel-hulled steamers. There are a great many wrecks in the sanctuary, and their preservation and protection is a concern for national policymakers. The landward boundary of the sanctuary extends from the western boundary of Presque Isle County to the southern boundary of Alcona County. The sanctuary extends east from the lakeshore to the international border. Alpena is the largest city in the area.
Northern Michigan, also known as Northern Lower Michigan or Upper Michigan, is a region of the U.S. state of Michigan. A popular tourist destination, it is home to several small- to medium-sized cities, extensive state and national forests, lakes and rivers, and a large portion of Great Lakes shoreline. The region has a significant seasonal population much like other regions that depend on tourism as their main industry. Northern Lower Michigan is distinct from the more northerly Upper Peninsula and Isle Royale, which, obviously, are also located in "northern" Michigan. In the northernmost 21 counties in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, the total population of the region is 506,658 people.
The Boardman River is a 28.2-mile-long (45.4 km) river that flows into the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The Boardman's upper tributaries rise near Kalkaska, Michigan, and its watershed drains an area of 295 square miles (760 km2) through 130 miles (210 km) of river and tributaries. The Boardman River is considered one of the top ten trout streams in Michigan. Before entering the Grand Traverse Bay, it becomes Boardman Lake, a natural lake that was originally 259 acres (1.05 km2) in size and increased to 339 acres (137 ha) after the Union Street Dam was constructed in 1867. After flowing through Boardman Lake, the river descends through downtown Traverse City, following a hairpin-shaped course to Grand Traverse Bay. This Traverse City section of the Boardman River is accessible by motorboat from the lakeshore up to a weir upstream from the lakeshore. A short distance upstream from the weir is the Union Street Dam, a small decommissioned mill dam located between Cass and Union streets. The river's principal tributaries are Kids Creek, Beitner Creek, Swainston Creek, and the North and South branches of the river.
The Boyne City Railroad was a railway based at Boyne City, Michigan, U.S., during 1893–1978.
Negwegon State Park is an undeveloped public recreation area on Lake Huron lying five miles (8.0 km) southeast of the unincorporated community of Ossineke in Alpena County and Alcona County, Michigan. The state park's 4,118 acres (1,666 ha) occupy the southern tip of Thunder Bay, fourteen miles (23 km) across the water from the city of Alpena. The park includes lowland areas with small ridges, mature pine forest, open meadows, and a long sand beach. It is administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources with support from the volunteer "Friends of Negwegon."
M-32 is a state trunkline highway in the Lower Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is an east–west route running just over 100 miles (160.9 km) from M-66 in East Jordan to US Highway 23 (US 23) in Alpena. It runs via Gaylord and Atlanta through forested terrain. There is one business spur for the highway that currently exists.
M-65 is a 103.176-mile-long (166.046 km) state trunkline highway in the US state of Michigan. The highway runs between termini on US Highway 23 (US 23) near Omer and Rogers City in the northeastern Lower Peninsula of the state. M-65 runs inland through several small communities in the region, passing through forests and fields along its course. M-65 crosses several watercourses, including the Au Sable River where it runs along the River Road National Scenic Byway. The region also includes the Huron National Forest and the Mackinaw State Forest areas.
The Alpena Light, also known as the Thunder Bay River Lighthouse or Alpena Breakwater Light, is a lighthouse on Lake Huron near Alpena, Michigan. Standing on the north breakwater of Alpena Harbor, the light marks the entrance to the Thunder Bay River from Thunder Bay. The current lighthouse, built in 1914, replaced earlier wooden structures which had been in use since 1877 and 1888. The current light is a weather-protected structure on a steel frame. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006, and the state inventory list the same year.
The Sturgeon Point Light Station is a lighthouse on Lake Huron in Haynes Township, Alcona County, northeastern lower Michigan. Established to ward mariners off a reef that extends 1.5 miles (2.4 km) lakeward from Sturgeon Point, it is today regarded as a historic example of a Cape Cod style Great Lakes lighthouse.
Fletcher Pond is a man-made body of water located in Northeastern Michigan. The pond covers over 9,000 acres (36 km2) of land that was previously cedar forest. A dam was built in 1931 that blocked the flow of the Thunder Bay River to provide reserve water for the Alpena Power Company hydroelectric power plant located in the city of Alpena, Michigan.
The River Road National Scenic Byway is a National Scenic Byway and National Forest Scenic Byway in the US state of Michigan. This 23 1⁄2-mile-long (37.8 km) byway follows M-65 and River Road; it extends eastward into the Huron National Forest and ends in the historic community of Oscoda near Lake Huron. The road parallels the historic Au Sable River which has historically been a major transportation route for floating Michigan’s giant white pine from the forest to the saw mill towns on Lake Huron. Along its course, the roadway offers access to several recreational areas as well as the local scenery. The section of the River Road that follows M-65 was added to the State Trunkline Highway System in the 1930s. The River Road was given National Forest Scenic Byway status in 1988, and National Scenic Byway status in 2005.
Rockport State Recreation Area is a 4,237-acre (17.15 km2) state park located along the shore of Lake Huron in Alpena and Presque Isle counties in the state of Michigan. It is operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and was established in 2012. The park contains limestone formations and an old limestone quarry. There is a deep water boat launch that can accommodate all sizes of watercraft. The park is located along the Lake Huron Flyway and is used to gauge the health of Lake Huron and its shoreline environment. Several ship wrecks can be found off-shore in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary including the Portland and the Portsmouth. The park was previously known as "The Rockport property" and is not far north of Alpena, Michigan.
Long Lake is a 295-acre (119 ha) lake in northeastern Montmorency County, Michigan. The lake is primarily in Montmorency Township, although the southernmost portion is located in Hillman Township, as well as part of the Mackinaw State Forest. The nearest town is Hillman at about 6 miles (9.7 km) southeast of the lake.