Straits of Mackinac in Michigan
This is an acrylic fridge magnet souvenir of the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan, United States. The Straits of Mackinac is the narrow waterway separating Michigan's Lower Peninsula from its Upper Peninsula. It connects two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The Straits of Mackinac a major shipping lane providing passage for raw materials and finished goods, connecting, for instance, the iron mines of Minnesota to the steel mills of Gary, Indiana. Before the railroads reached Chicago from the east, most immigrants arrived in the Midwest and Great Plains by ships on the Great Lakes. The straits is five miles (8 km) wide at its narrowest point, where it is spanned by the Mackinac Bridge. Before the bridge was built, car ferries transported vehicles across the straits. Today passenger-only ferries carry people to Mackinac Island, which does not permit cars. Visitors can take their vehicles on a car ferry to Bois Blanc Island.
Islands in the Straits of Mackinac
Islands in the Straits of Mackinac include the two populated islands, Bois Blanc and Mackinac, and two that are uninhabited: Round and St. Helena islands. At 11 miles (18 kilometers) in length, Bois Blanc is the largest island in the Straits. The straits are shallow and narrow enough to freeze over in the winter. Navigation is ensured for year-round shipping to the Lower Great Lakes by the use of icebreakers. The Straits were an important Native American and fur trade route. Located on the southern side of the Straits is the town of Mackinaw City, Michigan, the site of Fort Michilimackinac, a reconstructed French fort founded in 1715, and on the northern side is St. Ignace, Michigan, site of a French Catholic mission to the Indians, founded in 1671. The eastern end of the Straits was controlled by Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island, a British colonial and early American military base and fur trade center, founded in 1781.