Great Lakes

Lake Michigan at Warren Dunes State Park - file photo by Shawno Cleary, AP
Shawno Cleary / The Associated Press

Jamie Racklyeft says the three and four foot waves on Lake Michigan “looked like fun.” The Executive Director of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium says he had not heard of rip currents until the day he had to be rescued. Now Rackleyft says he wants others to know the dangers on the Great Lakes.

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The Director of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium says ideally there would be lifeguards on Great Lakes beaches, but he says in places where they aren’t on duty, people have to be extra vigilant to prevent drowning.

Jamie Racklyeft says many local governments don’t want to hire lifeguards because of liability. He says municipal leaders are afraid that they can be sued if they post lifeguards at a beach and something happens. But Racklyeft says a sign that says “no lifeguard on duty” doesn’t save anybody, and he says it's no guarantee to prevent legal action. “If you’re going to get sued, and anybody can get sued for anything, it’s a matter of whether you win or not. But wouldn’t you rather get sued for trying to help than for doing nothing?”

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Michigan to be a leader on Great Lakes issues in the region. Senior Correspondent for Detroit Public Television’s Great Lakes Bureau Gary Wilson says that’s a position the state has enjoyed in the past. 

Wilson interviewed Whitmer recently during a conference in Milwaukee of U.S. governors and Canadian premiers from the Great Lakes region. In the interview, they discussed regional leadership and a potential new pipeline in the Great Lakes.

File photo of the Straits of Mackinac from Gregory Varnum, Wikimedia Commons
Gregory Varnum, Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

Senior Correspondent for Detroit Public Television’s Great Lakes Bureau Gary Wilson says Governor Gretchen Whitmer has shown a pragmatic side in her willingness to reach a deal on a new pipeline and tunnel in the Great Lakes. However, Wilson, who recently interviewed the governor, says the court battle between Enbridge Energy and the state makes it tougher to come to an agreement.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Photo by John Haberstroh, from Wikimedia Commons
John Haberstroh / Wikimedia Commons

Western Michigan University Professor Tiffany Schriever and a team of students spend part of their time from spring to fall in the coastal wetlands near Lake Michigan. The Professor of Biological Sciences says they look in the places between dunes along the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan. “That’s about four degrees of latitude and over 500 miles." Schriever says that leads to large variations in the species they find.