Through the Straits of Mackinac

The waters and winds of the Mackinac area are very unpredictable and dangerous. Ottawa fur traders, who often traveled through the area, had to take extra care to guide a canoe safely. Birchbark canoe travel was always fraught with danger; and the operator’s skill could mean life or death. For example, birchbark canoes must never cross over two waves at once; it leaves the center of the canoe unsupported, which could cause it to break in half. The experienced local canoe-man was always the best choice when the trading post at Fort Michilimackinac was on the route.


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