Welcome — I am Mr. Great Lakes

That’s my new name. I used to be The Mudpuppy. But those days are gone. And that’s fine by me. I’m on a new path here. On my own, as an environmental journalist, sans newspaper, working for a number of clients. I’m doing the writing and reporting thing, and communications work and social media consulting. The world is my oyster, you might say. Except that’s a cliche, and cliches are frowned upon in my biz. And lots of oysters are covered in oil these days.

Anyways, since I’m a writer, sometimes I think of things I want to say that just don’t have a place in my day-to-day work. And since my life can be so damn interesting, I figured I shouldn’t deprive anyone of Jeff Kart Uncut any longer. So here I go:

I spent Father’s Day weekend at Harrisville State Park. The water in Lake Huron was cold. Cccold with three Cs. But it was refreshing. I hung out with my two lovely daughters and my lovely wife (who’s been waiting on me today. Too bad Father’s Day is only 24 hours long).

I love Lake Huron. I prefer it to the so-called better lake, Michigan. Probably because I live on the Huron side of Michigan. Also because Huron just doesn’t get the love that Lake Michigan does. I don’t know why. Disgusting Saginaw Bay could have something to do with it. There, I said it. Saginaw Bay is disgusting.

So disgusting that folks in my region have been spending tons of money and effort to rename the area as the “Great Lakes Bay Region.”

There are even plans to begin pumping drinking water from Lake Huron near Au Gres, rather than Saginaw Bay. You see, Saginaw Bay water is so dirty, and takes so many chemicals (and so much money) to clean up, that local leaders want to start with cleaner water. I agree. I’d like to have cleaner water. Saginaw Bay water, even cleaned up chemically, doesn’t taste great. Unless you like the water in a swimming pool.

But calling it the Great Lakes Bay, and getting our drinking water from beyond the bay, near Au Gres, won’t do anything to help Saginaw Bay become great again. We might as well write it off.

When I said the water in Lake Huron was refreshing, I meant to add that it enrages me that I had to drive 90 miles to get to a decent beach. I live five miles from Saginaw Bay, and the Bay City State Recreation Area. There’s a beach there, but I wouldn’t swim in it. I wouldn’t step in it with a pair of waders. The beach there is plagued by muck, or dead algae. The shoreline there stinks like you know what. That’s nothing against the folks who run the state park, or local groups who’ve spent lots of time trying to clean up the beach, hauling away the muck, raking the sand. The sand there is beautiful, by the way. But the water sucks.

Ah, this feels good. Being able to say sucks. It’s kind of a low-brow word, but it describes this situation perfectly. Another cliche is good to use here: Garbage in, Garbage out. The folks in the Saginaw Bay Region have been abusing the bay for too long. Too much industry and too many antiquated sewer systems have been allowed to dump too much junk into the bay for too long.

My wife had a brilliant thought this weekend as we sat on the beach in Harrisville, marveling at the beauty of Lake Huron, 90 miles north. “Why don’t the leaders in Bay County spent more time on cleaning up the bay, and bringing in tourists, like they have in Traverse City,” she said. “We spend too much time trying to attract industry and manufacturing to Bay City. I can’t believe that’s more lucrative at this point for the community.”


  1. Always enjoyed your writings as “The Mudpuppy”….looking forward to the thoughts of “Mr. Great Lakes”.

  2. Back in the day, when we, like you, lived only 5 miles from said bay, someone called it the “a” hole of the GL. Now it could be the system’s ace in the hole if, as you say, people there concentrated their focus on cleaning up and promoting it for its other values.

    Cheers in this writing experiment!


  3. Well hello there, Mr. Great Lakes! Good to have your unabashed writing in the mix. Welcome (I would say “back,” but you never really left).

  4. Love your writing. And now that I am a resident of Texas, I miss my Great Lakes more than ever! Keep up the awesome work!

  5. I really enjoyed this article. Everything you say makes sense about the Saginaw Bay area. Hopefully the right people will read your blog and come up with some good ideas to improve things. Mr. Great Lakes is the perfect name for you since you know a lot about the whole state of Michigan!

  6. Jeff:
    Looking forward to your posts. I agree wholeheartedly about Saginaw Bay sucking. I lived in Bay City for eight years and worked there for 25. People there generally accept the idea that the river and bay should be used as a toilet and cesspool for industry because that’s the way it’s been since they started dumping sawdust and horse dung in it in the 1800s. If the people who live around the Bay don’t raise hell about its condition, why should anyone else?

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