Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan
Credit Andrew Seaman

Chris Caya, WBFO News

As communities along the Great Lakes reclaim land once dominated by industry, officials are facing a daunting decision: How much land should be preserved as open space? 

In Cleveland, a developer has proposed an outlet mall along Lake Erie, near the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In Rochester, the city has considered building housing and a hotel on Lake Ontario's shore. In Chicago, plans by Star Wars creator George Lucas to build an art museum along Lake Michigan crumbled this summer amid legal challenges.

Draken Harald Hårfagre

The replica Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre has sailed out of the Great Lakes, wrapping up a contentious visit.

The 115-foot Norwegian vessel sailed across the Atlantic Ocean this spring and toured Canadian and U.S. waters all summer. It made stops in Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay, where visitors came aboard for tours.

But the Draken has no plans to return to the Great Lakes.

National Park Service

Mayors of 123 American and Canadian cities are challenging a Wisconsin city’s plan to divert water from Lake Michigan. This is in direct opposition to the Great Lakes governors who approved the precedent-setting request in June. 

Elizabeth MIller

Last part of series

With dangerous currents a fact of life along the Great Lakes, officials are looking for ways to limit the number of drownings. 

On a recent sunny afternoon on Lake Michigan, people are enjoying the cool waters of Warren Dunes State Park … despite a large red flag flying above the crowd. The flag means no swimming due to dangerous currents. The park has no lifeguards, so there’s no one to enforce the ban, and some beachgoers still plan to go into the lake.  

Elizabeth MIller

Part three of a series

Dangerous currents and drownings go hand-in hand across the Great Lakes. But many are concentrated in Southwest Michigan’s Berrien Co.

The county has 50 miles of shoreline and its crown jewel is Silver Beach County Park. It’s straight out of a postcard: sandy beaches, a playground, and a big concession stand selling snow cones and hot dogs.

The area is a popular spot for Midwesterners who don’t want to make the long trip to the ocean, says Brian Bailey, who manages the park.

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