Points North

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

Each week we look into what draws people to northern Michigan — the beaches, orchards, dunes and forests — and the deeper stories behind these postcard settings. 

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

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.


Field Guide: Snow Fleas

Feb 1, 2021
Cheryl Bartz

Winter is one season when Northern Michigan is free of insects, right? Wrong. Hear about an exception you can find if you look closely.

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.

  

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.


Field Guide: Dog stinkhorn

Oct 9, 2020
Cheryl Bartz

Mushrooms and fungi are coming up thanks to rain and cooler temperatures. Many are not safe to eat, but there's one fungus you will never be tempted to eat. In fact, if the wind is right, it will have you checking the bottoms of your shoes. 

 

Dog stinkhorn looks like an upside-down carrot with brown glop on the top. There’s a reason for that stench. The brown goo is made of spores and it smells to attract flies. The spores stick to flies that then spread the fungus.

 

 

Mainville and Craymer (2005)

 

Normally, the waters of Lake Michigan sit around 580 feet


Field Guide: Mystery holes

Oct 1, 2020
Cheryl Bartz

As the weather gets colder, vegetation dies back and reveals holes in the ground.  Big or tiny, you might wonder what made the hole?

 

Cheryl Bartz, a producer for Red Pine Radio, recently staked out a new hole that appeared in her garden.  It was perfectly round and about a half inch in diameter.  The rim of the hole appeared to be reinforced with grass and wood fibers. The resident of the hole was elusive, but eventually she snagged a photo of a wolf spider. 

 

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?

 

    

 

Lexi Krupp

Interlochen Public Radio welcomes Lexi Krupp this week as our new science and conservation reporter. Lexi comes to us from Gimlet Media, where she helped the “Science Vs” podcast team distinguish what’s fact from what’s not, and has written for a range of publications including Audubon and Vice.

 

She will lead IPR’s efforts to deepen the public’s understanding of the natural world, covering the land, water, forests, climate, wildlife and farms in upper Michigan.

Today on Stateside, Democratic front-runners in the presidential primary are making their final pitch to Michigan voters. We spoke to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and heard about former Vice President Joe Biden's message to voters in Grand Rapids. Plus, the city of Detroit will restore water to thousands of households because of fears about the spread of COVID-19. 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North: The foundation of the historic Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort is crumbling.

High waters and waves cracked the barrier that protects it from Lake Michigan.

Plus, there are not many commercial fishers left in the Great Lakes.

In Michigan, they have long been at odds with the state Department of Natural Resources.

Now people who catch fish to sell say the state is attempting to put them out of business.

 

 

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North we take a look at pollution in Charlevoix. Also, there's no immediate solution for excessive drinking on northern Michigan rivers. 

Plus, Little Traverse Bay is getting new ferry service. 

 


Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we dissect how many elk were poached this winter and why that number has increased. 

Plus, guides are illegally helping hunters bag an elk. What’s next for the guide industry?

Last month, three more elk were poached in the Pigeon River State Forest.

It was the latest in a series of elk poaching that has made the past few months some of the worst in recent memory for Michigan’s elk herd.

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we talk to the publisher of the Glen Arbor Sun about a proposed housing development near Crystal Lake. Also, a man lost nearly 80 pounds on a plant-based diet. 

 

Plus, kids now have access to STEM learning at regional libraries. 

 

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

 

This week on Points North, we have inspiration for your New Year’s resolutions with stories about fresh starts and big life changes.

 


 

Golam Rabbani was a human rights lawyer until he was forced to flee Bangladesh for opposing the government. He and his family made their way to Traverse City by way of New York and Port Huron. 

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we examine propane needs in the Upper Peninsula. Do yoopers need Line 5 for propane, or would they survive without the pipelines?

 

Tribal nations, Michigan’s governor and environmental groups are all calling for a shutdown of Line 5: the pipeline that carries oil underneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Winter is on it’s way, and everyone in northern Michigan is getting ready.

Cherry farmers are protecting their crops from the cold, and they need to save as many cherries as they can. 

Plus, learn how you can help meteorologists stay on top of snowfall this winter.

  

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we’re talking about baiting and hunting, and the ongoing debate about whether to keep deer healthy versus taking away a tool for hunting. 

Plus, a turkey hunter tells us why he loves the sport.

Gary Langley, FAA certified sUAS pilot / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we dive into the restoration of the Boardman River since three dams were removed.

 

The story ties into the thousands of aging dams in Michigan. Many are more than 50 years old, and some aren’t safe. Removing them is good for floodplains and native fish, but it costs money — sometimes more than is available.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, Leelanau voters will decide the fate of an early childhood program.

Plus, tribal and city officials celebrate the new Clinch Park art installation honoring the Anishinaabek.

 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, northern Michigan’s signature cherry industry is struggling amid trade tensions and a lack of federal support.

Plus, learn about a 10-acre corn maze in Traverse City. 

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently used a rare budget maneuver to shift funds around within state agencies. We take a look at the winners and losers of those shifts. Plus, a conversation about the economic potential of industrial hemp after the first legal harvest of the crop since 1937.    

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab

 

This week on Points North, we follow harmful algal blooms to Six Mile Lake and talk to a Traverse City Record-Eagle reporter about septic tank issues. 

 

Gary Langley / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, how rising water levels and shoreline erosion are threatening homeowners on the coast of Lake Michigan.

Plus, how businesses in Fishtown are already falling into the water.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, the Pere Marquette River is internationally-recognized for its brown trout, lake trout and salmon. But locals are worried that a train could soon derail and spill toxic chemicals into the river.

Plus, amidst road budget debates in the State Capitol, hear a Q&A about Michigan's crumbling bridges.

Pages