Say What? Michigan Has How Many Miles of River?
A piece of Michigan trivia that even most lifelong Michigan residents don't know off the top of their heads: How many total miles of river are in Michigan?
Michigan's lower peninsula stretches approximately 323 miles from Sturgis, MI (on Michigan's southern border) to Mackinac City, MI (at the tip of the mitten). With that in mind, I would have guessed Michigan to have approximately 5,000 to maybe 10,000 miles of river. But that wasn't even close. Michigan actually has, believe it or not, 51,438 miles of river. It's important to understand what that really means.
Putting 51,438 Miles of River into Perspective
If you attached all the rivers in Michigan back-to-back and laid them out from Sturgis to Mackinac City, back to Sturgis, and so on, that river would take you up and down the state almost 160 times.
I don't know how you do your inner-tubing trips but, if you're anything like me, they don't make a cooler big enough (or a liver tough enough) for trip like that.
But, just for fun, let's take it a step further. The circumference of the Earth at the Equator is only 24,901 miles. If you stretched all of Michigan's rivers across the Earth, you could make two trips around the entire planet.
Appreciation for Michigan's Rivers
Between the fishing, inner-tubing, kayaking, canoeing, and overall relaxation they provide, our Michigan rivers are a gift that make Michigan a desired destination for tons of out-of-towners. And I have a personal experience to back that statement.
Sitting on the deck of my cottage overlooking the Pere Marquette River in Baldwin, Michigan, I heard the footsteps of someone walking upstream. I could tell the guy was a fly-fisherman dressed for fishing success with waiters, a fishing vest, a trout net, and all the essentials needed.
As he was passing by, I hollered down "Any luck?"
To which he responded (in a strong Australian accent), "Nothin' yet, mate."
I said, "Is that an Australian accent I detect?"
To which he replied, "Good on ya! Yes, it is, mate!"
I said, "My mother visited Australia and said it was one of the most beautiful countries she had ever seen."
He said, gesturing toward the river, "Yes, it's nice, but NOTHING compares to the beauty here."
So, with that being said, always remember, some of the wonders we take for granted in our beautiful state are things that other people would die for. And our 51,438 miles of Michigan rivers are far from just water under the bridge. They are Pure Michigan.