is the largest island in Lake Michigan and part of the Beaver Island
archipelago. Beaver Island is 14 miles long, three-to-six miles wide,
and is mostly flat and sandy. It is part of Charlevoix County, Michigan.
Traditionally, the island's
main industries have been fishing, logging, tourism and farming. These
days government services along with tourism and home and cottage construction
are at the top. Only a few hundred people live on the island year
The more densely settled
area (which is still not very dense) is in St. James Township on the
northern end of the island. Peaine Township, Michigan in the southern
part of the island contains large areas of state-owned land and is
In 2000, the island had
a year-round population of 551 with 244 of those in Peaine Township,
the rest in St. James. The island is about a 32-mile ferry ride or
airplane flight from the city of Charlevoix on the mainland. The island
has two airports, one public and one private.
revolve around its harbor, beaches, inland lakes and the state forest,
which makes up a large portion of the land. Beaver Island bills itself
as America's "Emerald Isle", partly reflecting the fact that many
of its residents are of Irish descent. Central Michigan University
owns and operates a research facility on the island.