Recreation

The Great Lakes are the home to a wide range of recreation -- from sailboat and powerboat races to fishing tournaments. They're also a draw for tourists who travel to distinctive communities such as Mackinac Island.

Ways to Connect

Elizabeth MIller

Each summer, many beaches along the Great Lakes are shut down because the waters have high bacteria levels.  But figuring out exactly when to close a beach is difficult, and scientists are trying out a new test that could lead to safer swimming.


Angelica Morrison

Every weekend James Rice goes for a walk, but it’s not just any walk. He’s on a mission to educate anglers about the safest way to consume fish caught in Western New York.

Veronica Volk

Some of the migratory songbirds that pass through the Great Lakes region are already on the move, and volunteers at the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory are preparing for them.

Hundreds of species – swallows, finches, warblers and more -- visit the observatory on the shore of Lake Ontario, just west of Rochester.

Today, the volunteers are repairing large nets, about 12 feet high with very fine mesh. That’s how they catch the birds.

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.

Wedged between Fletcher Street and the waterfront of Alpena, Mich., is a long row of warehouses. It used to be a paper mill, but these days it's home to Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

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