Fact or Fiction: In Michigan You’re Never More Than 85 Miles From A Great Lake
I promise you, I was born and raised in West Michigan; so how is it I've never heard this fun little Michigan fact: You're never more than 85 miles from any of the Great Lakes.
Can this really be true?
It's one of those things most Michiganders repeat without giving it a second thought. The official Pure Michigan tourism website says it, MLive has written about it, and even Wikipedia references the 85 mile-rule.
Despite all those sources I'm genuinely curious to know the truth! Here's what I've found using my method of picking random spots on the map of Michigan and measuring the distance to the nearest Great Lake.
Note: I'm including bodies of water that lead to a Great Lake such as Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron.
All things considered the Upper Peninsula is fairly narrow. I tried to find the point closest to the Wisconsin border but even from the deep depths of the Ottawa National Forest and around Iron River it's only about 50 miles to Lake Superior or 70 miles to Lake Michigan.
Down here I started measuring from St. Louis, MI which prides itself on being the "Center of the Michigan". Located just south of Mt. Pleasant on M-46, St. Louis only clocks in at just under 40 miles to Saginaw Bay.
I also went a little further south to the village of Pompeii; as the crow flies it's pretty much 85 miles on the dot to Lake Michigan. I think this "fact" checks out!
So, what's the farthest you can be from any of the Great Lakes?
Those who have looked into it claim Eaton Rapids to be the farthest point from the Great Lakes but even at that it's 80 miles from Eaton Rapids to Lake Michigan, 78 miles to Lake Erie, and 88 miles from Lake Huron. That's not far off from the original claim of 85 miles!