Lower Peninsula of Michigan
|Lower Peninsula of Michigan|
|Nickname: The Mitten|
|Length||277 mi (446 km), north to south|
|Width||195 mi (314 km), east to west|
The Lower Peninsula of Michigan is the southern of the two major landmasses of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is surrounded by water on all sides except its southern border, which it shares with Ohio and Indiana. Geographically, the Lower Peninsula has a recognizable shape that many people associate with a mitten, with the mid-eastern region identified as The Thumb. This has led to several folkloric creation myths for the area, one being that it is a hand print of Paul Bunyan, a giant lumberjack and favorite folk character in Michigan. This has also led to the distinctive phenomenon of Lower Peninsula residents holding out their hands and pointing to a spot on it when asked where they live. The peninsula is sometimes divided into the Northern Lower Peninsula and Southern Lower Peninsula.
The Lower Peninsula has been nicknamed "The Mitten", "Below the Bridge", and occasionally "The L.P." (in parallel with "the U.P." for the Upper Peninsula). Residents of the Lower Peninsula are jokingly referred to as "flat-landers," or "trolls" by residents of the Upper Peninsula, because they live "under the bridge".
- Flora and Fauna 1.1
- Geology 1.2
- Economy 2
- Major Airports 3.1
- Highways 3.2
- Great Lakes Circle Tour 4.1
- Notes 5
- See also 6
- External links 7
At its widest points, the Lower Peninsula is 277 miles (446 km) long from north to south and 195 miles (314 km) from east to west. It contains nearly two-thirds of Michigan's total land area. The surface of the peninsula is generally level, broken by conical hills and glacial moraines usually not more than a few hundred feet tall. It is divided by a low water divide running north and south. The larger portion of the state is on the west of this and gradually slopes toward Lake Michigan. The highest point in the Lower Peninsula is not definitely established but is either Briar Hill at 1,705 feet (520 m), or one of several points nearby in the vicinity of Cadillac. The lowest point is the surface of Lake Erie at 571 feet (174 m).
The Lower Peninsula is bounded on the south by the states of Ohio and Indiana, sharing both land and water boundaries with both. As a peninsula, the rest of the Lower Peninsula is bound by water. Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Erie are the principal bodies of water that form the coastline of the Lower Peninsula. It also shares a water boundary with the Province of Ontario, Canada.
Flora and Fauna
The Lower Peninsula is dominated by a geological basin known as the Michigan Basin. That feature is represented by a nearly circular pattern of geologic sedimentary strata in the area with a nearly uniform structural dip toward the center of the peninsula. The basin is centered in Gladwin County where the Precambrian basement rocks are 16,000 feet (4,900 m) deep. Around the margins, such as under Mackinaw City, Michigan, the Precambrian surface is around 4,000 feet (1,200 m) down. This 4,000-foot (1,200 m) contour on the bedrock clips the northern part of the lower peninsula and continues under Lake Michigan along the west. It crosses the southern counties of Michigan and continues on to the north beneath Lake Huron.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated Michigan's 2004 gross state product at $372 billion. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $31,178 and ranked twentieth in the nation. In May 2009, Michigan's unemployment rate rose to 14.1%, the highest in the nation during the recession.
Some of the major industries/products/services include automobiles, cereal products, pizza, information technology, aerospace, military equipment, copper, iron, and furniture. Michigan is the third leading grower of Christmas trees with 60,520 acres (24,492 ha) of land dedicated to Christmas tree farming. Detroit Pharmacist James Vernor created his ginger flavored beverage, Vernors, in 1866 tying it with Hires Root Beer as the oldest soft drink. The Feigenson Brothers established their bottling works in Detroit on November 4, 1907 but felt the name was too long and later shortened it to Faygo Beverages. Two of the top four pizza chains were founded in Michigan and maintain their headquarters there: Mike Ilitch opened his first Little Caesars Pizza in 1959 and in 1960, Tom Monaghan and brother, James, purchased a pizza store that Tom later renamed Domino's Pizza.
Michigan has experienced economic difficulties brought on by volatile stock market disruptions following the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds in order to help the GM and Chrysler bridge the recession. In January 2009, President Barack Obama formed an automotive task force in order to help the industry recover and achieve renewed prosperity for the region. With retiree health care costs a significant issue, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler reached agreements with the United Auto Workers Union to transfer the liabilities for their respective health care and benefit funds to a 501(c)(9) Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA). In spite of these efforts, the severity of the recession required Detroit's automakers to take additional steps to restructure, including idling many plants. With the U.S. Treasury extending the necessary debtor in possession financing, Chrysler and GM filled separate 'pre-packaged' Chapter 11 restructurings in May and June 2009 respectively.
Michigan ranks fourth nationally in high tech employment with 568,000 high tech workers, which includes 70,000 in the automotive industry. Michigan typically ranks third or fourth in overall Research & development (R&D) expenditures in the United States. Its research and development, which includes automotive, comprises a higher percentage of the state's overall gross domestic product than for any other U.S. state. The state is an important source of engineering job opportunities. The domestic auto industry accounts directly and indirectly for one of every ten jobs in the U.S. Michigan ranked second nationally in new corporate facilities and expansions in 2004. From 1997 to 2004, Michigan was listed as the only state to top the 10,000 mark for the number of major new developments; however, the effects of the late 2000s recession have slowed the state's economy. In 2008, Michigan ranked third in a survey among the states for luring new business which measured capital investment and new job creation per one million population. In August 2009, Michigan and Detroit's auto industry received $1.36 B in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy for the manufacture of electric vehicle technologies which is expected to generate 6,800 immediate jobs and employ 40,000 in the state by 2020.
As leading research institutions, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, and Wayne State University are important partners in the state's economy. Michigan's workforce is well-educated and highly skilled, making it attractive to companies. Michigan's infrastructure gives it a competitive edge; Michigan has 38 deep water ports. In 2007, Bank of America announced that it would commit $25 billion to community development in Michigan following its acquisition of LaSalle Bank of Troy.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is one of the nation's most modern airports with six major runways, large aircraft maintenance facilities capable of servicing and repairing a Boeing 747 and passenger terminals opened in 2002 and 2008. Michigan's schools and colleges rank among the nation's best. The state has maintained its early commitment to public education.
- Alpena County Regional Airport (APN) (Alpena)
- Bishop International Airport (FNT) (Flint)
- Capital Region International Airport (LAN) (Lansing)
- Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) (Traverse City)
- Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) (Romulus)
- Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) (Grand Rapids)
- Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (AZO) (Kalamazoo)
- MBS International Airport (MBS) (Saginaw)
- Pellston Regional Airport (PLN) (Pellston)
U.S. Highways include:
Michigan's Lower Peninsula can be divided into four main regions based on geological, soil, and vegetation differences; amount of urban areas or rural areas; minority populations; and agriculture. The four principal regions listed below can further be separated into sub-regions and overlapping areas.
- Northern Michigan
- West Michigan
- Southeast Michigan
Great Lakes Circle Tour
The Great Lakes Circle Tour is a designated scenic road system connecting all of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
- MEDC (2006). Commercial Ports State of Michigan
- Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography on Michigan (arranged by counties and regions)
- Michigan Geology -- Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources website, harbors, hunting, resources and more
- Info Michigan, detailed information on 630 cities
- List of Museums, other attractions compiled by state government
- Michigan's Official Economic Development and Travel Site
- Map of Michigan Lighthouse in PDF Format
- Northern Michigan Live Streaming Webcam
- Terry Pepper on lighthouses of the Western Great Lakes