Fast Facts about the Greats in Wisconsin

Our Great Lakes make up one of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystems. Check out these fast facts about the entire Great Lakes system, then read on for facts about Lake Michigan and Lake Superior – Wisconsin’s Great Lakes.

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  • Wisconsin has more than 800 miles of Great Lakes shoreline!
  • It is estimated that of the estimated 6,000 Great Lakes shipwrecks, 350 are in Lake Superior.
  • More than 1.6 million Wisconsin citizens get their drinking water from Lake Superior or Lake Michigan.
  • Door County, which lies on Lake Michigan, is full of fossils from tropical seas, including brachiopods (ancient clam cousins).
  • More than 20% of Wisconsin’s land area lies within the Great Lakes Basin.
  • Lake Superior has an underwater visibility of about 27 feet, letting you see many living things in its clear waters!
  • Wisconsin has 1.4 million dairy cows, each of which needs to drink 45 gallons (170 liters) of water a day to produce 100 pounds (45 kg), or 12 gallons (45 liters), of milk.
  • Some believe in the “Michigan Triangle,” an area of the lake compared to the Bermuda Triangle, where planes and ships have gone missing.
  • It would take 551 billion gallons of water to raise Lake Superior’s water level by one inch.
  • The Ho-Chunk of Wisconsin are one of the few Great Lakes tribes to speak a Siouan language.
  • The U.S. portion of the Great Lakes Basin fishery is worth $22.5 million, and 40% of the harvests come from Lake Michigan.
  • Wisconsin Ice Age glaciers, which formed the Great Lakes, were up to a mile thick.
  • During the summer, the sun sets about 30 minutes later on Lake Superior’s western shore than its southeastern one!
  • Anglers net more than 500,000 Great Lakes trout and salmon from Wisconsin’s waters each year.
  • Lake Michigan has a “tugboat graveyard” near Sleeping Bear Dunes, where the old ships can be seen in shallow waters.

About the Great Lakes