The Lakes

The Great Lakes -- Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior -- are among the most important bodies of water in the world. They are the largest readily accessible source of freshwater on Earth – roughly 20 percent of the total supply -- and contain more than 80 percent of North America’s surface water supply.

Ways to Connect

Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum

Have you ever wanted to travel on a Great Lakes freighter? For a mere $20, you can enter a raffle for a five-day trip, courtesy of a Michigan museum.

The raffle, being held by the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, offers a chance to ride this summer on the Wilfred Sykes or another ship in the Central Marine Logistics fleet.

Elizabeth Miller/ideastream

During the summer, Lake Erie’s western basin is full of boaters and tourists, especially near the islands that lie west of Cleveland. But come winter, the lake is empty, still, and sometimes frozen.

This is the drive behind Julia Christensen’s newest art project, Waiting for a Break.


David Cole, Wisconsin Public Radio

Foxconn's plans for an LCD display factory near the shore of Lake Michigan are sparking lots of questions about water use and environmental protections.

The Taiwanese company says it could invest up to $10 billion in the Wisconsin factory and employ up to 13,000 people. State officials tout the project as an economic development coup.

​But environmentalists worry about plans for drawing water from Lake Michigan.

U.S. Coast Guard District 9

The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards have assisted over 300 ships this winter, one of the most demanding years for icebreaking. 

So far, the Great Lakes ice cover is more extensive than it has been in the last two years.  A big freeze hit the region right at the end of the shipping season, causing problems for several of the region’s biggest industries.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This has to be one of the most Zen-like videos of the year: a snowy owl riding the icy waves of Lake Ontario. Now, it's a hit on social media. 

Gary Cranfield, who lives in New York near the eastern end of the lake, took the video last weekend with his girlfriend's Canon PowerShot Sx50.

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