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Author Topic:   Trip Plan: Northern Lake Michigan, Cross Village Ramp
jimh posted 10-24-2009 12:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
One section of the coast line of Lake Michigan in Michigan which I have not traveled is the segment from Mackinaw City west and south to Harbor Springs, about 55 miles of shoreline. I have been doing some research into public boat launching ramps and harbors in that stretch, and there are very few sites. This is somewhat unusual, as in Michigan there generally are excellent public boat launch ramps and harbors of refuge along all of the shores of the Great Lakes.

One possible launching site is at Cross Village. I am not certain of the status of the boat launch ramp there. In doing some research, it appeared to be a controversial proposal to improve the ramp, which was opposed on environmental objections. (I include links below which make for interesting reading on the impact of a single boat ramp on the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.)

Cross Village Proposal Threatens Rare Great Lakes Coastal Ecosystem

Another Side to the Cross Village Boat Ramp Controversy

It is not clear to me at this writing if the boat ramp at Cross Village was eventually improved, nor do I know its current status. Using GOOGLE EARTH, I can see a ramp, but it does not look like a particularly improved ramp that might be useful for launching a 22-foot boat. The coordinates are

45° 38' 42.15" N
085° 2' 22.95" W

I would appreciate any current information about the ramp at Cross Village.

One destination from a launch at Cross Village might be Ile Aux Galets, which I believe is also known as "Skillagalee."

K Albus posted 10-24-2009 12:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
The Michigan Recreational Boating Information System does not list a boat ramp in Cross Village. See: It does list a boat ramp for Wilderness State Park just to the north, but it states that is "Closed". I don't know if that means closed for the season, or closed permanently. On Google Maps you can see the Wilderness State Park launch area on the southeast corner of Big Stone Bay.

When I was in Cross Village about three years ago, I went to check out the so-called boat ramp. It wasn't good for any thing but launching a very small boat or a jet ski. There was no dock to speak of at that time, so you would have had to have somebody stand in the water to assist you in unloading your boat. The launch area also appeared to be very shallow. It likely would have been necessary to back both axles of the tow vehicle into the water to launch a boat. There's no way I would have tried with my Dauntless 180, and no way I would have recommended that anybody try it with anything bigger.

jimh posted 10-24-2009 02:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Kevin--Thank you for the first-hand and recent account of the status of the boat launch ramp at Cross Village, Michigan. It appears that there are no boat ramps along that 55-mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline. The closest alternative is probably the fine DNR ramp in Harbor Springs. This may account for the dearth of boats seen in that area among the shoreline cottages.

Here is a excerpt from NOAA charts that shows the Ile Aux Galets and its relationship to Cross Villiage.

It looks like it should not be difficult to approach Ile Aux Galets from the southeast in a small boat and make a landing there. According to sources, the island is open to the public, however, the federal navigation light station is not. It might be an interesting run out there for a picnic lunch. If nothing else, I'd take some close-up pictures of the lighthouse and provide them to several lighthouse websites, where recent pictures seem in short supply.

ASIDE--Kevin's prompt reply shows how actively read is the TRIPS AND RENDEZVOUS discussion area.

ConB posted 10-24-2009 11:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConB  Send Email to ConB     
Here is a link to a romantic place ContinuousWave could stop for a picnic.

Happy Halloween, Con

jimh posted 10-25-2009 11:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Too many unexploded bombs in the area of Waugoshance Light:

Hoosier posted 10-25-2009 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
They've been exploded..

"On Sunday October 9, members of the US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team stationed in Crane, Indiana, under the direction of CW03 Kenneth Robinson, located and detonated three pieces of ordnance with no complications.
All items were verified as inert after detonation."

However, be careful, do not run aground.

Buckda posted 10-26-2009 07:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
That area of Lake Michigan is fraught with navigational hazards and challenging waters.

...but those reefs, obstacles, etc all make for some excellent fishing terrain. I am surprised that there are few public access points.

Perhaps that is why there is such good fishing in the area - less pressure from fishermen?

Sounds like a fun run. That is also one of the only areas on the Lake Michigan coastline of the lower peninsula that I have not yet had my Whaler.

Hoosier posted 10-26-2009 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
How about Memorial Day Weekend 2010? Launch at Harbor Springs, overnight in Mackinac City or St. Ignace, then return to Harbor Springs. The ice should be gone by then.
jimh posted 12-01-2012 11:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It has been a few years since the topic of a boat launch ramp at Cross Village was discussed, and it seems, while we have been asleep, that the little village has finally persuaded all the fanatical opponents that their rather lousy boat launch ramp might be improved a bit without plunging the Northern Hemisphere over an ecological cliff or eradicating the little plover bird from the face of Earth. (I am not kidding, as you just need to read some of the editorials linked earlier in this discussion to see how close we all came to planetary doom.)

From watching a recording of the process of making and installing a new ramp (see link below) I got the impression that sometime in 2012 a new boat launch facility was installed in Cross Village. It is not a super-deluxe break wall, harbor, marina, and six-lane concrete launch ramp, but it is an improvement on what was there before.

If you live within about 100-miles of Cross Village it might be faster to just drive over to see what is there rather than watching all of the recording--it seems like there was no shot that could be left out of this epic documentary of the ramp building and installation. For those of you at a greater distance, perhaps watching some portions of the recording will suffice to get the idea of the ramp. You can skip the middle ten minutes without suffering too much loss of the plot and actions.

The recording does show that the road leading to the ramp is rather a challenge all by itself, as it appears to just be a sand road. I am not sure that I could successfully launch or load there. Nor does the ramp look like it goes into deep water. By next Spring the ramp might have to be doubled in length if the water level does not come back. But, at least, now there is one ramp in the 55-mile stretch of coastline between Mackinac and Harbor Springs were a boat might be launched if you have the right sort of trailer and truck.

Also, regarding Ile aux Galets as a destination, we did go by that small island in 2010 (as I recall) and found that it was home to about 1,000 cormorants and several million flies. About the closest you want to approach Ile aux Galets is about one-half-mile and come in from upwind.

jimh posted 12-03-2014 02:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Coast Guard came to the rescue of a disabled boat in Lake Michigan in position three miles Northwest from Cross Village. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, there are no good harbors of refuge in this area. Proposals to improve the facilities at Cross Village met with really strong environmental objections--rather farfetched claims really--and, as a result, only a moderately improved boat launch ramp is available there. (See lengthy video of ramp, which appears in the last few minutes of the epic, linked above.)

The disabled boat was rescued by the gigantic Coast Guard cutter and ice breaker MACKINAW, WLBB-30, a 240-foot ship. They sent their small boat over to the disabled boater and then towed him to shore. Based on a Coast Guard image (below), the disabled boater was towed to shore where his trailer was on the beach, waiting for him. Conditions appear to be very calm, which was fortunate. It was also fortunate that the MACKINAW was in the area. You don't often get a little outboard fishing boat rescued by a multi-million dollar capital ship of the Coast Guard.

It looks like the Coasties are getting soaked and are trying to get that boat back onto its (very rusty) trailer. Can't see much about the engine except for the black cowling.

ConB posted 12-04-2014 07:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for ConB  Send Email to ConB     
Looks like a small Tribal fishing boat that can use ramps like Cross Village.

One of the rare calm fall days on northern Lake Michigan.


Hoosier posted 12-05-2014 10:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
That ramp looks more like a beach.
jimh posted 12-05-2014 12:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yes, I agree. The Coast Guard photograph shows the trailer is backed into Lake Michigan on some cobblestone beach. Maybe the Cross Village Ramp is hauled out and up the beach in the winter. It is not the sort of launching point I would want to employ, particularly in late November on an open shoreline.
jimh posted 12-07-2014 09:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The U.S. Coast Guard described their involvement:

12/3 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – A boat crew from the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw came to the aid of a boater in distress on Lake Michigan Tuesday.

At about 11:25 a.m., a watchstander at the Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie command center received a call over channel 16 from the owner of a 16-foot commercial fishing vessel stating his boat was disabled and adrift about three miles northwest of Cross Village, Mich. The owner, a 34-year-old man, stated the boat was also taking on a small amount of water.

The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, which was conducting aids to navigation operations about 20 miles from the scene, was diverted. In addition, a Tribal Conservation officer was dispatched to the area shore side.

At about 1:30 p.m., the Mackinaw arrived on scene, and shortly after a boat crew was launched aboard the cutter's small boat. The crew took the man and his disabled vessel in side tow to the Cross Village Boat Ramp where Station St. Ignace and Tribal Conservation personnel assisted the man and his vessel.

Cf.: http:/ / coastguardnews. com/ coast-guard-cutter-mackinaw-assists-boater -in-distress-near-cross-village-michigan/ 2014/ 12/ 02/

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