Points North

Fridays at 6:45 a.m and 8:45 a.m

Points North is a show about the land, water and inhabitants of the upper Great Lakes.

Each week we look into stories from the orchards, dunes and forests of northern Michigan. 

How to listen: On the dial Fridays at 6:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.  | pointsnorthradio.org | the IPR app | wherever you get your podcasts

Lexi Krupp/ Interlochen Public Radio

Just south of Traverse City lies Hoosier Valley, an area known by locals for its natural beauty.

 

Blair Town Hall Road rides right along the valley, and the deeper in you get, the more you sink into nature. The road shifts from pavement, to gravel, to a dirt path.

 

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

 

John Janssen remembers the moment he realized Lake Michigan was about to change.

Phil Myers

Early in his career, Phil Myers was teaching an ecology course at a research station just south of the Mackinac Bridge, near Pellston.

 

Before the semester started, he set up mouse traps to see what animals were around for his students to work with. When he checked the traps though, he had a problem. 

 

“What I was catching was not what was supposed to be there,” Myers recalls.

Kara Ermatinger and Grant Trukowski comb through branches of a hemlock tree looking for the invasive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. If not detected in time, HWA can kill a tree in four years.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Last month, a bug the size of a fleck of pepper was found in a hemlock tree in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The invasive bug is called the hemlock woolly adelgid and it threatens Michigan’s 170 million hemlock trees.

Infestations have existed in southwestern Michigan for years, but last year it was discovered in Mason County and has since crept north of Ludington.

Foresters hope to hold the line there and keep woolly adelgid out of hemlock stands in northern Michigan.


Yankech gary on Flickr

There was a plan to release hundreds of pine martens — a slender, furry predator native to the Upper Midwest — in Michigan's lower peninsula over several years.

That never happened.

Peter Payette

A years-long effort to build an experimental fish ladder on the Boardman River in Traverse City is in jeopardy. That’s all because of a man who decided to sue the city to protect a place he loves. 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A century ago, Michigan decided politics was not useful for protecting the state’s forests, water and wildlife. A commission was set up to manage natural resources without much influence from elected officials.


Kris Krüg on Flickr

The plan to dig a nearly four-mile tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac and replace the Line 5 oil and gas pipelines continues to move forward. 

A skier weaves in between trees at Mount Bohemia in the Keweenaw Peninsula. During a normal winter, 'Boho' can get upwards of 300" of fresh snow. But due to a lack of snow this year, the resort finally just opened this week – its latest opening ever.
Michigan Snowsports Industries Association

Warmer winter temperatures are causing snow totals in many areas around the Great Lakes to drop dramatically. Scientists say a warmer climate means cold and snowy winters will likely become more and more unreliable.

That leaves snow enthusiasts and businesses that depend on the snow, scrambling to try to adapt.

  

Max Johnston / IPR News

 

Grand Traverse Bay and inland lakes across Michigan, like Lake Leelanau and Torch Lake, will be ice-free by the end of the century if carbon emissions continue at current levels. 

 

  

Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

 

At a lock and dam site in the suburbs of Chicago, there’s a plan to build a set of booby traps to keep invasive carp from reaching the Great Lakes. 

 

It would involve a barrier of bubbles, an electric field, underwater speakers, and a price tag of over $800 million dollars. 

 

  

Robert Ruleau III

 

A dispute between Michigan's Department of Natural Resources and the commercial fishing industry is heading to court. 

 

The state announced it will prohibit fishing in water deeper than 80 feet and other restrictions commercial fishers say will mean the end of their livelihoods. 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Arctic grayling were wiped out of Michigan nearly a century ago. Since then, researchers have been trying to restore the iconic fish to the state, without success. 

 

 

Now, more than 50 collaborators across the state think they have a shot. 

 

Read the full feature here.

 

Google Maps

There’s a lot of interest in solar energy in Michigan as the technology becomes cheaper and more efficient, and utility companies set ambitious renewable energy goals. But building up the state's solar capacity will require miles and miles of land. And that could be a problem, because many people don't want solar farms in their communities. 

Adam Buzzo on Flickr

For public land advocates in Michigan, Christmas comes the first week of December each year.

That’s when the Michigan Natural Resources Trust fund board decides how to spend the earnings of its massive endowment.

The Grand Haven lighthouse and waves get a good dose of what Todd and Brad Reed call, "magic light" during a November storm in 2015.
Todd and Brad Reed Photography

For most people, November isn’t a great time for a day at the beach. But Ludington photographers Todd and Brad Reed aren’t most people. They dream of capturing Lake Michigan at its gnarliest.


A black bear wanders through the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts, just south of Kresge Auditorium on November 6, 2020.
Interlochen Center for the Arts

The number of black bear sightings in northern Michigan is on the rise, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 


Cherry growers mixed business and politics this election season. That's not something the industry has been known to do.


Philip Hutchinson, provided by Terri Wilkerson

A group of tribal citizens and activists have uncovered a potential cultural site at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac from close to 10,000 years ago — the end of the last Ice Age. Researchers say it could be a major archeological find.

 

The cut at this site is called shelter wood. About half the tree canopy was left after harvest. The forest floor was later turned up with construction equipment to allow more seeds to germinate.
Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Young trees have a tough time growing in many northern Michigan forests. That might sound strange since our region is full of trees, but many hardwood species can’t produce seedlings faster than deer can eat them. On this episode of Points North, hear about an idea to solve this problem that might sound counterintuitive: more aggressive logging.

James Marvin Phelps

On the ballot this election is a proposal to change how Michigan spends the money it gets from oil and gas production.

Right now the state uses oil and gas dollars to buy and maintain public lands, and for nothing else.

 

Under Proposal 1 this program would continue in perpetuity.

Courtesy of Michael Huey

Sleeping Bear Dunes turns 50 this month. It’s a destination that brings well over a million visitors to the dunes along Lake Michigan every year

 


Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This week, hear how high water in the Great Lakes is unearthing Native American burial sites. In some places along Lake Michigan, human remains have been discovered at the beach.

Also, more water isn’t the only reason the lakes are higher, a higher elevation that is. The Great Lakes are still rebounding from the last ice age.

 

And what’s in those holes in your garden?

 

    

 

Eric Calabro, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

 

In some inland lakes invasive plants grow so thick, motor boats get stuck and you can’t fish or swim. 


Amanda Holmes

This week we look into why commercial fishers in the Great Lakes have been left out of federal aid for fisheries nationwide, to the tune of $300 million. (The Great Lakes got zero.)

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