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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Trains and tracks throughout Michigan

Photo by DarrylW4.
While unused tracks throughout the state are being repurposed as recreational trails (aka rails to trails), many are still being utilized by both passenger and commercial trains. Following is a glimpse at some of the tracks and trains of Michigan, past and present.

Today on Michigan in Pictures, a photo entitled this train must dead end by freckles~ is featured.

farlane writes about this Fall photo:
Kathy is from Ann Arbor. This photo might be too. It is part of a set of Fall 2006 photos that you will want to check out.
While trying to locate another photo for this story in the Absolute Michigan Photo Pool on Flickr, I found this one at right, along with some interesting facts. DarrylW4 writes:
"Michigan doesn't have many rail tunnels. In fact, there are exactly two -- one in Detroit to Windsor, the other in Port Huron to Sarnia. The favorite of most rail fans seems to be the Port Huron tunnel owned and operated by Canadian National. This tunnel sees a good amount of traffic including much of the traffic from the CN/IC Flint Sub and Amtrak's International. The Port Huron Amtrak station was constructed between the yard and tunnel making it a great rail fanning location with views of both the tunnel and yard (and access to wash rooms during station hours)."
Click on DarrylW4's picture to read the rest of the story

Take a look at this train must dead end by Michigan in Pictures
View search results for 'train' in the Absolute Michigan Photo Pool on Flickr
Chug on over to the results of keyword search 'train' on Absolute Michigan
Read about the Pere Marquette Railway on Wikipedia
You can visit MichiganRailroads.com to learn more about trains past and present

# posted by Tami @ 11:24 AM 0 comments links to this post
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wetlands Education by The Environment Report

Photo by KariMelissa.
Conservancy groups across the country are trying to educate the public about the value of wetlands, not only to wildlife, but also humans. According to the Wetlands Initiative,
(w)etlands provide all of us with critical services. They remove pollutants and toxic substances, reduce flood and storm damages, provide important habitat for wildlife, recharge groundwater supplies, and provide valuable open space and recreational opportunities, such as fishing, hunting and bird watching.
GLRC's Julie Grant recently took a trip to Morgan Swamp in Northeast Ohio to tour the wetlands. She writes:
One hundred years ago people were draining swamps and other wetlands as quickly as possible. In many places, farmers wanted the land to grow crops. But biologists and others have come to realize the value of wetlands as habitat for wildlife and as a filter to clean the water. Now, one group is opening up a swamp to the public so that more people understand why wetlands are important.
According to the Nature Conservancy website, Morgan Swamp is
one of a series of wetlands that occur on stream terraces along the Grand River Lowlands. Some 12,000 years ago, the area was occupied by a glacial lake which deposited silt and clay ranging in depth from 5 to 50 feet. The impermeable clay soils plus the low relief of the area result in conditions conducive for the formation of swamp forest, marshes, sphagnum bogs, sedge meadows, and beaver ponds.
Julie reports that:
(m)ore than half of the nation's wetlands have been drained, much of that happened in the mid 1800s. These lowlands were no exception. Biological historians say the land around here was once a swampy forest. But people chopped down the trees, they drained swamps and marshes, and they started farming this river valley in Ohio.

Randy Edwards is spokesman for the Nature Conservancy. He says draining the wetlands back then changed the way the river flowed. "We have made an effort to restore them and bring back the natural water flow to the area. We've had a lot of help from the beavers."

That's right, he said they've restored wetlands with the help of the beavers.

"I'm serious. They may not know it, but the beavers are an important partner of ours in the restoration of wetlands in Ohio."
Read or listen to TOURS EDUCATE PUBLIC ABOUT WETLANDS by The Environment Report
View search results on Absolute Michigan keyword "wetlands" for many more stories and links!

# posted by Tami @ 11:09 AM 0 comments links to this post

Pickin' Pumpkins in Michigan

It's that time of year when the farm fields are overflowing with pumpkins AND (hopefully) people who want to take them home. According to the Detroit News:

Michigan residents don't have to worry this year about finding the perfect pumpkin for that perfect Halloween jack-o'-lantern.

Big, round, healthy pumpkins can be found in abundance at local farms, cider mills, supermarkets and roadside stands.

Unlike in some other states, where the pumpkin harvest suffered from early summer rains and a nasty fungus, Michigan farmers report their crops are in good shape.

Jeremy Herliczek visited Uncle John's pumpkin patch and snagged some photos of patrons picking pumpkins. He writes:
Geoff Brigham, 20, and Danielle Feguer, 19, of Lansing, braved temperatures in the 30s to pick their own pumpkin
If you want to donate to a cause, visit your local Circe K pumpkin patch, a part of the March of Dimes Pick-A-Pumpkin Campaign.
Circle K Stores in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Pennsylvainia are being transformed into pumpkin patches during the annual March of Dimes Pick-A-Pumpkin campaign to save babies lives during October. Orange paper pumpkins may be purchased with a $1.00 donation and gold paper pumpkins with a $5.00 donation.
Read Mich. pumpkin patches plump to bumper crop by Jennifer Youssef / The Detroit News
Read You can pick your pumpkins, and you can pick your friends, but... and take a look at the photos by NOISE
Visit the March of Dimes Pick-A-Pumpkin campaign website
View search results on Absolute Michigan keyword "pumpkin" for many more stories and links!

# posted by Tami @ 11:07 AM 0 comments links to this post
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sustainable forsestry by The Environment Report

In this week's edition of The Environment Report, the GLRC takes a look at why some in forestry are choosing to go back to the future. Ann Murray reports:
Some forest owners are going back to past practices to do less damage to their land. Commercial horse logging is finding a viable niche in woodlands around the country.
She visits a logging operation in Pennsylvania and talks with the operators. She notes that
(t)he surprisingly agile Belgians step around chopped wood and low bushes. The horse-drawn cart and log make a trail through the woods that's barely six feet wide. There aren't any visible ruts.

Troy Firth, who's on site, says that's one reason he prefers horses over heavy mechanized skidders. He motions toward another skid road in the forest just a few feet away.

"We have a skid road that was used by a rubber tired log skidder on a previous logging job and the tracks are still here from 30 years ago."
The related photo at right was posted by Absolute Michigan's farlane this past March. He writes:
That's Jesse LaCross hitching the team to a log. We decided to go with horse-based logging after seeing what amazing damage the mechanized skidder logging did to our neighbor's woods
Click the photo to read the rest of the story.

Read or listen to HORSES BRING LOGGING BACK TO THE FUTURE by The Environment Report

# posted by Tami @ 4:32 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sand Sculpture by Bill's Blog

The Harrisand World Championship Sand Sculpture was held recently. Bill Steffen writes about
some neat sand sculptures from the recent World Championship in Harrison Hot Springs, Canada.
Even the Queen was there (view the original to see the tremendous amount of detail in this sculpture!).

I like The Arms Race, bull fighter and the woodsman with the coon-skin cap. Check out this amazing artwork (be sure to visit all three pages), then tell us who's the winner in your book.

Read by World Sand Sculpture Champions Bill Steffen
Also visit the photo gallery to view category winners past and present

# posted by Tami @ 9:45 AM 0 comments links to this post
Monday, October 23, 2006

World Series in the 'Big D'

Originally uploaded by anikarenina.
Jack Lessenberry writes about his quest to buy tickets for the World Series.
I thought I would weaken my long-term financial outlook and take my godchildren to the World Series.

I was willing to pay the $250 bucks each. That's expensive, but who knows when Detroit will get into the World Series again? For Michigan, World Series games appear in an irregular pattern once every couple decades, like comets.

Based on the team's history, by the time the Tigers are in the fall classic again, I might not be in the lineup any more.

And lots of them had tickets to sell. I wasn't too worried about the price I might have to pay, since I knew the Tigers were firmly against scalpers; their advertising was always full of stern warnings against trying to jack up the prices and resell tickets to their games.
Michigan in Pictures features a photo taken before Game 1.
World Series in Detroit, photo by UrbanTiki.

Bobby Alcott's photo of Comerica Park was taken before Game 1 of the 2006 World Series from the top of the Fox Theatre parking garage. The detail on this photo is incredible. Click above or check it out on black.
Read Essay: World Series - 10/20/06 by Jack Lessenberry's Essays and Interviews
Read World Series in Detroit by Michigan in Pictures
Check out the results of a search on Absolute Michigan keyword "Tigers"

# posted by Tami @ 10:44 AM 0 comments links to this post
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