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Google Earth Plug-in: Mackinac Island, Michigan (overlay)

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The American island that has banned motorized vehicle for more than a century remains a living Victorian community.

The island has a year-round population of approximately 500, mostly in the historic community of Mackinac Island located on the southern tip and in the community of "Harrisonville" farther inland. The population grows considerably in the resort season, when it is crowded with tourists, accommodating an average of 15,000 people a day. The highest point of the island is the historic Fort George (since 1815 officially called Fort Holmes), which is 320 feet (97 m) above the lake level and about 890 feet (270 m) above sea level.

The island is accessible by private boats, by ferry from St. Ignace or Mackinaw City and small planes. The airport has a 3,500 ft (1,070 m) paved runway, and charter air service from the mainland is available. During the winter months when the lake is frozen, the island is accessible by snowmobile. Residents save their Christmas trees at British Landing (the site of an 1812 assault on the fort), which are placed along a route marking 5 miles (8 km) of safe ice.

Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the island with the exception of emergency and service vehicles. Travel on the island is largely by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage. Bicycles, carriages, and saddle horses are available for rent, although inexperienced carriage drivers and riders are advised to avoid busy town areas. An 8.0 mile (12.87 km) road rings the island and numerous roads, trails and paths cover the interior. The road encircling the island and most closely hugging the shoreline is Michigan State Highway M-185, one of the few highways in the United States without motorized vehicles.

And it's pronounced "MACK-in-aw." Just so you know.

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