September 10, 2013

Kitch-iti-kipi – Michigan’s Largest Freshwater Spring

Manistique, MI

Growing up Steve visited Kitch-iti-kipi with his family. It made such an impression on him that he wanted to revist and share the experience with me. I didn’t know what to expect from a giant spring with a raft suspended on a wire and propelled by human power.

A bit of history

When the European settlers came to the Upper Peninsula, the Ojibwa told them the spring was called Kitch-iti-kipi. Although the exact meaning is uncertain some of the possibilities are The Great Water, The Blue Sky I see, The Roaring and Bubbling Spring.

Kitch-iti-kipi became part of the Michigan park system in 1928 when the original 90 acre land was donated by the Palms Book Land Company. Over the years, Michigan has gained more land through taxes and land exchange to now be 257 acres of protected land surrounding the spring. The park is called Palm Book State Park.

Kitch-iti-kipi boat

Between 1933 and 1942 members of the Civilian Conservation Core’s Camp Manistique focused their attention on improving the park. They built an entrance road, picnic tables, concession building, ranger quarters, put up signs and built a new raft. Their work made it possible for us to visit the spring so easily today.


Kitch-iti-kipi is in Palm Book State Park. It is northwest of Manistique about six miles. From Manistique, you’ll head west on Main St and take the first right onto River Street. River Street turns into Deer Street and Deer Street turns into Co Hwy 442. Continue for 4 miles until Co Hwy 442 turns into M-149 N. Continue on M-149 N for one mile. You’ll turn right onto Co Rd 455. 4.3 miles later, you’ll turn right onto M-149 N. Take the third right onto Sawmill Road and Kitch-iti-kipi will be on the right.

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