Best Vacation For You is Pollution Free Mackinac Island

Situated in Lake Superior, about equidistant between the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula is a small island in use since the late 17th century. With a circumfrence of about eight miles, it is the jewel in the tourism crown of Michigan. For those that have never been, Mackinac Island truly is another world…in a manner of speaking. Mackinac Island has long been a favorite stop of visitors traveling north into the Upper Peninsula, and also of Michiganians wanting to show their out of state relatives a good time. Its fudge is considered by many to be the best in the state, and the Grand Hotel is possibly the largest hotel in all of Michigan. But what makes this small island unique is its automotive appeal. No cars are permitted on the island, and residents could not be happier.

Tradition is of great importance to the residents of this small island. Even more important however are their beautiful draft horses that are used to cart people all around the island. According to its website, in 1896 a petition was signed that banned “horseless carriages” because they startled the horses (www.mackinacisland.org/history). Due to concern for public safety, and the safety of the horses of course, this ban on automobiles (with the exception of ambulances, police cars and other emergency vehicles) has continued to this day. So, there are almost no cars on the island.

Thus, there are almost no emissions or pollutants that come from Mackinac Island. There are no factories (that I know of anyway) located on that island, probably because there are not enough year round residents to run them. There are however snowmobiles that the few residents use to travel around in the winter months. But I would imagine that since there are more trees up there that those emissions are negligible. The point is, with all the factories and automobile plants that cover the Lower Peninsula, it is quite refreshing to see that there is at least one place in Michigan where there are nearly zero carbon emissions.

Even the Upper Peninsula has issues claiming it has low emissions. Michigan Tech has been mining iron ore for decades, and I am sure it works to refine the iron ore as well. There are two other universities that probably produce their fair share of Carbon Dioxide, as all universities must. This is certainly no knock against LSSU or Northern, but I am merely making a brief comparison.

Mackinac Island belongs to the horses (and the Ojibwe who believed it was sacred land) and it always will. The fact that autmobiles aren’t allowed is for the safety of the animals and people. But there is another reason as well. Time seems to slow down up there. People are there to enjoy themselves and appreciate all the natural beauty of the island. It is a rare sight indeed when a bald eagle will land on the road a stone’s throw away, and people will stare in awe. It is a peaceful island, made all the better without automobiles. Is this strategy realistic in most parts of the Lower Peninsula? Of course not; but does it work wonderfully everyday in Mackinac Island? The answer is most definitely yes.