Today, I would like to share some "fun facts" about our great Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For example, here are three facts about the Upper Peninsula and they all contain the number three.
The U.P. has about 30 percent of the total land mass of the State of Michigan, and the population of the U.P. is about 300,000 people, and this represents about 3 percent of the total population of Michigan.
There are a total of 83 counties in the state of Michigan. There are only 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula and all but four of them are on Eastern Standard Time, along with the rest of the state. The four counties in the U.P. that are on the Central Time Zone (Central time) are Dickinson, Iron, Gogebic, and Menominee. These are the four counties in the Upper Peninsula with their borders directly in contact with the State of Wisconsin.
There are a total of 200 officially named waterfalls in the State of Michigan. Of these 200 beautiful waterfalls, there are 199 located in the U.P., and only one located in the Lower Peninsula. The one located below the Mackinac Bridge is Ocqueoc Falls, in the Northern Lower Peninsula.
Of course, the Upper Peninsula is home to Tahquamenon Falls, and it is a great experience to visit both the Upper and Lower Falls in the eastern U.P. Two wildlife capitals are also located in the Eastern U.P. Newberry is officially designated as the Moose Capital of Michigan, and the Black Bear Capital of Michigan is located in Strongs.
The Upper Peninsula can also boast about being home to the two oldest cities in the State of Michigan. The oldest city in our great state is Sault Sainte Marie, founded in 1668 and St. Ignace is the second oldest, founded three years later in 1671.
Further, the world famous Mackinac Island is considered to be part of the U.P. because it is located in Mackinac County and it also has the U.P. phone area code of 906.
It is also interesting to note that there are two different spellings here, with the county, straits, bridge, and island spelled Mackinac, but Mackinaw City is spelled with a "w" on the end.
It is believed that the founders of Mackinaw City chose this spelling to be different from Mackinac Island to assist with mail delivery.
Let's never forget the monumental fresh water resource we have in the Upper Peninsula. Lake Superior contains 10 percent of the fresh water in the entire world. Lake Superior is also very appropriately named as it contains 3 million billion (quadrillion) gallons of fresh water. The volume of Lake Superior is so huge that you could put the other four Great Lakes (Michigan, Huron, Ontario, and Erie) into Lake Superior and you would still have to add three more Lake Eries to fill it up. Also be aware that there are about 12,000 miles of rivers and streams in our wonderful U.P.
As we all enjoy this great summertime in the Upper Peninsula, it is fitting to occasionally reflect upon and appreciate how we have been so blessed with such a truly special and unique environment.
Editor's note: Dr. Jim Surrell, author of "SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet," has his practice at the Digestive Health Clinic at Marquette General Health System. Requests for health topics for this column are encouraged.