All Tied Up in Fishtown

All Tied Up in Fishtown

All Tied Up by Mark Smith

Mark took this photo of Manitou Island Transit’s Mishe Mokwa a few days ago. For the first year in over 100, the family owned ferry company won’t be making regular runs to take people to North & South Manitou Islands. They write:

As many of you know, we are very proud of our family business and its establishment in 1917 when Tracy Grosvenor started running mail boats to the islands, which ran smoothly from docks on private property until the islands were designated a National Park. This bill forced people out of their homes and off of their land which they had been farming for decades. After 67 years of our family running to the islands, the National Park Service forced us to give up our land and remove our docks to build their own. In order to make it more convenient for the rangers, the National Park decided upon the new dock locations against the advice of generations of our family including Tracy, his son George, who grew up on North Manitou Island, George’s son Mike, who spent much of his life on the water and on the islands, and Mike’s sons who now captain the ferry, each informing the National Park that these specific locations would present significant issues including frequent dock maintenance and yearly dredging. If you have traveled with us in the past, particularly last year, you know the conditions of the dock on South Manitou Island were not ideal. This year, the dock is worse than before, and the water is not deep enough for us to dock on either island. The National Park Service has not budgeted money to maintain the docks in the way that is necessary for their chosen locations.

We are truly devastated to share this news with you. It has been a challenging year to handle this on top of COVID-19. We look forward to the future when we can safely run to the Manitou Islands and share its incredible history and beauty with you again. We know many of you have gone with us to the islands for years. This is not lost on us as our family has grown up working and playing on those same islands. A big piece of our history, our heart, and our family seems missing without these islands.

Read more at Manitou Island Transit & dive into Mark’s awesome photography @downstreamer on Flickr!