Lower Peninsula of Michigan

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The Lower Peninsula of Michigan is surrounded by water on all sides except its southern border, which it shares with Ohio and Indiana. Geographically, the Lower Peninsula has a recognizable shape that many people associate with a mitten, with the mid-eastern region identified as The Thumb. This has led to several folkloric creation myths for the area, one being that it is a hand print of Paul Bunyan, a giant lumberjack and favorite folk character in Michigan. This has also led to the distinctive phenomenon of Lower Peninsula residents holding out their hand and pointing to a spot on it when asked where they are from.

The Lower Peninsula has been nicknamed "The Mitten", "Below the Bridge", and occasionally "The L.P." (in parallel with "the U.P." for the Upper Peninsula). It is referred to - with more than a little sarcasm - as "Detroit" by residents of the Upper Peninsula, primarily through either Detroit being the Lower Peninsula's major city, or as an insult owing to Detroit's unpopularity. Residents of the Lower Peninsula are also jokingly referred to as "Trolls", because they live "under the bridge".[1][2]

Contents

Geography

At its widest points, the Lower Peninsula is 277 miles (446 km) long from north to south and 195 miles (314 km) from east to west. It contains nearly two-thirds of Michigan's total land area. The surface of the peninsula is generally level, broken by conical hills and glacial moraines usually not more than a few hundred feet tall. It is divided by a low water divide running north and south. The larger portion of the state is on the west of this and gradually slopes toward Lake Michigan. The highest point in the Lower Peninsula is not definitely established but is either Briar Hill at 1,705 feet (520 m), or one of several points nearby in the vicinity of Cadillac. The lowest point is the surface of Lake Erie at 571 feet (174 m).

The Lower Peninsula is bounded on the south by the states of Ohio and Indiana, sharing both land and water boundaries with both. As a peninsula, the rest of the Lower Peninsula is bound by water. Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Erie are the principal bodies of water that form the coastline of the Lower Peninsula. It also shares a water boundary with the Province of Ontario, Canada.

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