Great features of the Great Lakes region: Michigan

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Big Spring Kitch-iti-kipi in the Upper Peninsula is Michigan’s largest spring. Image: Michigan DNR

By Carin Tunney

Editor’s note:  This is part of a daily series featuring one natural attraction in a Great Lake state or province. Of course, with more than 4,500 miles of coast and a landscape carved by glaciers, each state and province has many more than one great natural feature. So nominate and make the case for your favorite in this state in the comments below. At the end of the series we’ll poll you on the region’s greatest natural feature.

Today: Michigan

Manistique, near the southern shores of the Upper Peninsula, offers one of  Michigan’s most hidden treasures.

A cable allows the wooden raft to quietly cross the spring. Image: Carin Tunney

Beneath a bubbling pool of gemstone-colored, blue-green water, is the state’s largest spring.

Kitch-iti-kipi (Big Spring) in Palms Book State Park spans 200-feet across and 40-feet deep. Water bursts through the limestone bottom at a rate of 10,000 gallons a minute.

It’s a place that remains fairly unknown to visitors. But those who see it once, often return, said John Pepin, a deputy public relations officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Large lake trout are easily viewed in the cool depths of the spring. Credit: Carin Tunney

Visitors cross the spring in a hand-propelled raft and peer through crystal clear water at the shadowy figures of lunker fish.

“The raft contains a viewing well, affording great views of the bubbling sands on the bottom of the spring and large lake and brown trout that haunt the depths,” Pepin said.

The spring inspired several Native American legends, according to the DNR. One is about a young chieftain who died while canoeing across the spring to win the affection of a Chippewa maiden.

Share your favorite natural feature in Michigan in the comments. We especially seek suggestions within the Great Lakes basin We’ll list the top nominees for each state at the end of this series and submit them all to a vote for the best natural feature within the Great Lakes basin. 

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