Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Towns, Tourism, Railroad


Geography | Nature and Society Relations | Transportation Engineering


Matthew Daley


The state of Michigan is not solely the lower portion or in other words the “mitten.” It is a combination of the lower and upper peninsula. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan (abbreviated the “UP”) is the upper portion of Michigan that is surrounded on three sides by three different Great Lakes: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron. It connects to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan by the Mackinac Bridge which crosses five miles across the Straits of Mackinac.

The counties of the Eastern Upper Peninsula are Alger, Chippewa, Luce, Mackinac, and Schoolcraft. They are marked by large stretches of flat forests containing marshes and swamps. Without keen access and known waterways, the interior forests of the Eastern Upper Peninsula were too costly to reach. Transportation in Michigan has taken many forms and routes over the years (Scott, 2005). However, it wasn’t until their were sophisticated railroads constructed that the rich forests in the EUP could be harvested (Karamanski, 1989). The organization of the Detroit, Mackinaw and Marquette Railroad (later the DSS&A) was undoubtedly the most significant factor responsible for the construction of towns in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Once transportation was established, logging was initially vital to the local economy and then eventually tourism (Karamanski, 1989).