Big Spring

Useful Information

Location: Palms Book State Park, Manistique, Michigan.
M-149 1.6 km north of the Co Rd 455 junction. Northwest of Manistique, on the northen shore of Lake Michigan.
(46.0042, -86.3820)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: Recreation Passport required for vehicle.
Classification: KarstKarst Spring
Light: n/a
Dimension: Yavg=630 l/s, Twater=7 °C, L=65 m, W=35 m, D=15 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Kitch-iti-kipi, Sawmill Rd, Manistique, MI 49854, Tel: +1-906-341-2355.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Kitch-iti-kipi or Big Spring is Michigan’s largest freshwater spring, with a yield of 630 l/s. The karst spring an almost circular lake with the typical blue colour of a karst spring. The water raises from numerous fissures in the limestone at the floor of the lake.

There is a wooden observation raft floating on the spring. It's prohibited to swim, bathe, skin or scuba dive, fish, boat, enter, or place or launch any object in the spring, including underwater cameras. However, the observation raft works like a ferry and can be pulled across the spring on a rope. This allows a self-guided visit and a few through the glass bottom to the ground of the spring. Quite exceptional: this visit is even wheelchair accessible.

The story started with a lumber company named Palms Book Land Company. John Ira Bellaire, the owner of a five and dime store, was a nature lover who liked to show this spring to his friends. One day he convinced Palms Book to sell the whole area for $10 to the state of Michigan to be used as a public park forever. This is the area which later became Palms Book State Park. He is also responsible for the name Kitch-iti-kipi. A friend of him wrote a fictitious legend about the spring, about an Indian who tried to prove his worth to the girl he loved and then drowned in the spring.