Voice your opinion on Lime Island management plan

Lime Harbor provides access to and from Lime Island Recreation Area. (Photo by Tom Pink)

Michiganders and others have a chance to weigh in on the future of Lime Island State Recreation Area, a 900-acre island along the Michigan/Ontario border in the St. Mary’s River, during a public meeting from 6-8 p.m. July 25 in the Raber Township Hall and through the DNR website.

In addition to the island itself, which is about two miles across the river from Raber in Chippewa County, the recreation area includes another 6 acres or so on the mainland just downstream from the Raber boat launch, where vessels taking people and cargo to the island in the first half of the 20th century would load and unload.

Have you ever been to Lime Island? If you haven’t, you should check it out. It’s remote – only accessible by watercraft, and you have to cross the shipping channel to get there from the Michigan mainland.

Native Americans gathered there thousands of years ago. In the first half of the 20th century, it was a refueling station for lake freighters and hosted a small community of people associated with that station, including a one-room schoolhouse that enrolled students through the early 1970s.

These days, campers stay on primitive sites on both ends of the island, or in the former homes that have been turned into cabins for rent. It’s a nice place to take your cruiser for the weekend, or to establish a base camp for a fishing or hunting trip, or just to take a hike to the lime kilns estimated to have been built before the Revolutionary War.

We’ve been hanging out on the island for over 20 years – mostly to fish, but sometimes to camp and hike.

The state acquired the island in the 1980s, but the buildings and facilities sat dormant for many years, visited only by weekend fishermen and vandals who trashed a lot of the former homes. Volunteers, assisted by the state, cleaned up the place and made lots of improvements to the buildings before it became a state recreation area within the past 10 years. Now the DNR parks division is looking at the recreation area’s future.

Check out the information and photos on the DNR website to get a feel for the place – or make a visit this summer.

A draft general management plan is available by running a search for “lime island” at Michigan.gov/dnr.

If you can’t attend the meeting in Raber, you can comment directly to the DNR’s Debbie Jensen at (517) 284-6105 or JensenD1@michigan.gov.

Categories: Michigan – Tom Pink

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