Northern Michigan is a place, like all places, in change. Over the past half century, its landscape has been bulldozed, subdivided, and built upon. Climate change warms the water of the Great Lakes at an alarming rate—Lake Superior is now the fastest-warming large body of freshwater on the planet—creating increasingly frequent and severe storm events, altering aquatic and shoreline ecosystems, and contributing to further invasions by non-native plants and animals.
And yet the essence of this region, known to many as simply “Up North,” has proved remarkably perennial. Millions of acres of state and national forests and other public lands remain intact. Small towns peppered across the rural countryside have changed little over the decades, pushing back the machinery of progress with the help of dedicated land conservancies, conservation organizations, and other advocacy groups.
Up North in Michigan, the new collection from celebrated nature writer Jerry Dennis, captures its author’s lifelong journey to better know this place he calls home by exploring it in every season, in every kind of weather, on foot, on bicycle, in canoes and cars. The essays in this book are more than an homage to a particular region, its people, and its natural wonders. They are a reflection on the Up North that can only be experienced through your feet and fingertips, through your ears, mouth, and nose—the Up North that makes its way into your bones as surely as sand makes its way into wood grain.