Blaine Township, Michigan

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Blaine Township is a civil township of Benzie County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the township population was 491. It is located in the southwest portion of the county. There are no significant population centers in the township; the nearest towns are Arcadia to the south, Benzonia to the northeast, and Elberta to the northwest. M-22 is the township's main thoroughfare.

For a very brief period in the early 1890s, a town called Watervale 44°33′13″N 86°12′52″W / 44.55361°N 86.21444°W / 44.55361; -86.21444 was inhabited in the township along Lower Herring Lake. The town participated in the sawmill boom that brought a period of prosperity to northern Michigan. Abandoned in 1894, the town was made into a summer resort in 1917. Today the resort is known as the Inn at Watervale and the Watervale Historic District. Watervale maintains its nineteenth-century atmosphere and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places [1].

The township's economy is heavily agricultural, with apples and cherries two prominent crops. Fruit orchards dominate much of the landscape.

Blaine Township is home to two churches, Herring Lake Church (nondenominational) and Blaine Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). A gravity hill located at the site of Blaine Christian Church on Putney Road near its intersection with Joyfield Road is a well-known local landmark.

Since 1991 the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy had maintained a nature preserve along Upper Herring Lake (the Upper Herring Nature Preserve). Just north of the township's southern border is Inspiration Point, a high headland overlooking Lake Michigan where a platform has been built atop the bluff. The point is a popular lookout and is a prominent stop along the scenic route of Highway 22.

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Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 21.0 square miles (54.3 km²), of which, 19.4 square miles (50.3 km²) of it is land and 1.5 square miles (4.0 km²) of it (7.39%) is water. It is bordered on the north by Gilmore Township, on the east by Joyfield Township, on the south by Arcadia Township in Manistee County, and on the west by Lake Michigan. Besides Lake Michigan, the township's most distinguishing physical features are Lower and Upper Herring Lakes, connected and fed by Herring Creek.

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