Fun Upper Peninsula Facts

It is estimated that over 17,000 black bears live in the UP. Average adult black bears stand less than 3 feet tall at the shoulder when on all fours.

The word Yooper was first published in 1979 and added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (finally) in 2014. It means a native or inhabitant of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Hoops anyone?? Tom Izzo grew up in Iron Mountain and went to NMU where he was a Division II All-American basketball player.

It only took 3 1/2 years to build the Mighty Mac, it opened to traffic on Nov. 1, 1957.  Mackinac Bridge Fees have only changed once in 62 years, the price increased a whopping .25 cents.   It is currently $4.00 to cross the bridge.

The Upper Peninsula has more than 1,000 waterfalls, and those are the only ones that have been noted on the state map.

There are more than 12,000 miles of rivers and streams. It’s practically impossible to not be near a body of water.

906 is the one and only area code in the UP.

The Upper Peninsula is home to about 301,361 Yoopers (2010 Census), which is about 3.16% of Michigan’s population.

Isle Royale National Park, is the least visited national park in the country due to its remote location. It has fewer visitors in an entire year (only 18,000) than Yosemite has in a single day!

There are over 4,300 inland lakes. Great for fishing & Ice fishing.

Lake Gogebic is the UP’s largest inland lake. It is 14 miles long and 2.5 miles wide, covering 13,380 acres. It is located within the Ottawa National Forest which has more than one million acres.

The Upper Peninsula boasts more than 3,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. If you were to lay them out into one continuous stretch, it would be like snowmobiling from Orlando, Florida to Seattle, Washington.

According to the Michigan DNR there are approximately 600-700 wolves in the Upper Peninsula.

There are 8.8 million acres of forest in the Upper Peninsula, out of a total of 10.5 million, making 84% of the Upper Peninsula covered by forest.

The least snowfall in the Keweenaw in one year was 81 inches, which fell in the winter of 1930-1931. That’s still a lot of snow, nearly 7 feet.

Pictured Rocks is the first officially designated National Lakeshore in the United States. Nearly 1,000,000 people visit the area yearly.

Millie Mine, in Iron Mountain, is one of the largest bat hibernacula in the Midwest. Around 25,000-50,000 bats call this place home during the winter.

Cougars are rare in the UP, but they have been spotted recently.

There are nearly 400 species of birds in the Upper Peninsula.

There are 89 known species of fish in Lake Superior alone!

For many years, mines in the Keweenaw Peninsula were the world’s largest producers of copper.

The peninsula includes the only counties in the United States where a plurality of residents claim Finnish ancestry.

The pasty (pronounced “pass-tee”), a kind of meat turnover originally brought to the region by Cornish miners, is popular among locals and tourists alike.

Sault Ste. Marie was founded in 1668, making it the 3rd oldest remaining settlement in the United States. Walking throughout the city is almost like strolling through history.

Copper Harbor is the farthest town from an Interstate Highway (251 miles) in the continental United States.

Former U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt once sued an Upper Peninsula newspaper for slander, and won. He sued the paper for the nominal charge of 6 cents, or in his words, “The cost of a good newspaper.” The paper in question was called the Iron Ore, and had accused Roosevelt of public drunkenness.

“Win one for the Gipper.” This is a famous quote from the 1940 movie Kunute Rockne All American, starring Ronald Reagan. In real life, George Gipp, aka “The Gipper” was Notre Dame’s first All American player, and he was from the little town of Laurium in the Upper Peninsula!

Calling themselves The Vagabonds, three of the most famous American entrepreneurs took a camping trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in August of 1923. The three men were Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and the trip would eventually spur much economic activity in the area.

Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, hence its name. It is roughly the size of South Carolina.

Lake Huron is the 2nd largest of the Great Lakes, it is slightly smaller than the size of West Virginia.

Lake Michigan is third largest of the Great lakes, it is slightly smaller than Lake Huron. It is the only Great Lake located entirely within the US.