The Great Lake State
Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes. Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state and has 38 deep water ports.
Michigan is one of the leading U.S. states for recreational boating. The state has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds. A person in the state is
never more than six miles from a natural water source or more than 85 miles from a Great Lakes shoreline. It is the largest state by total
area east of the Mississippi River.
Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula, to which the name Michigan was originally applied, is often
noted to be shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often referred to as "the U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits
of Mackinac, a five-mile channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The two peninsulas are connected by the Mackinac Bridge.
While sparsely populated, the Upper Peninsula is economically important due to its status as a tourist destination as well as its abundance
of natural resources.
The Metro Detroit area in Southeast Michigan is the largest metropolitan area in the state (roughly 50% of the population resides there)
and the eleventh largest in the USA. The Grand Rapids metropolitan area in Western Michigan is the fastest-growing metro area in the state,
with over 1.3 million residents as of 2006. Metro Detroit receives more than 15 million visitors each year. Michigan has many popular tourist
destinations which include areas such as Traverse City on the Grand Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan. Tourists spend about $17 billion
annually in Michigan. Michigan ranks fourth in the U.S. in high tech employment with 568,000 high tech workers, which includes 70,000 in the
automotive industry.[ Michigan typically ranks third or fourth in overall Research & Development (R&D) expenditures in the U.S. Agriculture also
serves a significant role making the state a leading grower of fruit in the U.S., including blueberries, cherries, apples, grapes, and peaches.
Michigan's personal income tax is set to a flat rate of 4.35%. In addition, 22 cities impose income taxes; rates are set at 1% for residents
and 0.5% for non-residents in all but four cities. Michigan's state sales tax is 6%, though items such as food and medication are
exempted from sales tax. Property taxes are assessed on the local level, but every property owner's local assessment contributes
six mills (a rate of $6 dollars per $1000 of property value) to the statutory State Education Tax. Property taxes are appealable to local boards
of review and need the approval of the local electorate to exceed millage rates prescribed by state law and local charters. In 2011, the state
repealed the Michigan Business Tax and replaced it with a 6% corporate income tax which substantially reduces taxes on business.
Article IX of the Constitution of the State of Michigan also provides limitations on how much the state can tax.
Michigan's tourists spend $17.2 billion per year in the state, supporting 193,000 tourism jobs. Michigan's tourism website ranks among
the busiest in the nation. Destinations draw vacationers, hunters, and nature enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada.
Michigan is fifty percent forest land, much of it quite remote. The forests, lakes and thousands of miles of beaches are top attractions.
Event tourism draws large numbers to occasions like the Tulip Time Festival and the National Cherry Festival.
Hunting and fishing are significant industries in the state. Charter boats are based in many Great Lakes cities to fish for salmon, trout,
walleye and perch. Michigan ranks first in the nation in licensed hunters (over one million) who contribute $2 billion annually to its economy.
Over three-quarters of a million hunters participate in white-tailed deer season alone. Michigan's Department of Natural Resources manages
the largest dedicated state forest system in the nation. The forest products industry and recreational users contribute $12 billion and
200,000 associated jobs annually to the state's economy. Public hiking and hunting access has also been secured in extensive commercial
forests. The state has the highest number of golf courses and registered snowmobiles in the nation.
From beaches, dunes, and waterfalls to mountains, forests, and some of the biggest and most beautiful lakes on earth, few places can match
the variety of natural wonders found in Michigan. So it's hardly surprising that Michigan contains no less than five National Parks:
1) Isle Royale National Park, 2) Keweenaw National Historic Park, 3) Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 4) Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
and 5) North Country Scenic Trail. No matter what kind of wilderness experience you're looking for, chances are you'll find it in Michigan.
Traverse City is the largest city in the 21-county Northern Michigan region. The population was 14,674 at the 2010 census, with 143,372 in
the this micropolitan area. Despite its modest population, Traverse City functions as the major commercial nexus for a seven-county area
totaling over 2,700 square miles (7,000 km2) and, along with cross-peninsula counterpart Alpena, is one of Northern Lower Michigan's two
The Traverse City area is the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States. Near the time of cherry harvest, the city holds an annual
week-long Cherry Festival in the first full week in July, attracting approximately 500,000 visitors annually. The surrounding countryside also
produces grapes, and is one of the centers of wine production in the Midwest. Tourism, both summer and winter, is another key industry.
The Traverse City area features varied natural attractions, including freshwater beaches, vineyards, a National Lakeshore, downhill skiing
areas, and numerous forests.
Traverse City was named by USA Today among the Top Ten Places for Local Wine. There are seven wineries on the Old Mission
Peninsula and twenty-one wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula, both just a few minutes drive from downtown Traverse City. Both
peninsulas sit close to the 45th parallel, a latitude known for growing prestigious grapes. The two Grand Traverse Bays provide the ideal
maritime climate and the rich glacial soil does the rest. Northern Michigan specializes in growing white grapes and is known for its Rieslings
which grow well in the summer months and late fall which Traverse City is known for. Every October the wineries host a harvest fest. Some
Riesling grapes are spared being picked in the fall to be picked when they freeze, from which Ice Wine is made. Livability.com has rated
Traverse City as the #1 "Foodie City" in America.
With a new terminal completed in 2004, Cherry Capital Airport provides regularly scheduled passenger airline service to Chicago, Detroit,
Minneapolis and seasonally to New York, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Denver as well as to smaller Michigan destinations to the north.
Check out all these great Michigan resources.