At Kitch Iti Kipi, there is no swimming permitted. The ownership, management, and protection of the lake lie with the government of Michigan. The authorities have made swimming illegal in Kitch Iti Kipi.
Located in Palms Book State Park, Kitch Iti Kipi is the largest freshwater spring in Michigan. More than 10,000 gallons per minute of freshwater rush from the underlying limestone. It is 200 feet wide and 40 feet deep.
Even if swimming were allowed, it would be an experience as the temperature of the water is a constant 45 degrees Fahrenheit every day of the year. This accomplishment is due to an underground aquifer connecting Kitch Iti Kipi to neighboring Indian Lake.
However, the lake does not freeze over and remains crystal clear, making it possible to see the bottom. Another reason for swimming not being allowed is to maintain the calmness of the waters to enhance the visibility of the spring’s floor.
Although a rarity, the spring did become frozen in 2021, leaving many residents and scientists baffled at the occurrence. Theories regarding Kitch Iti Kipi freezing included unusual low water levels and deviating density levels because of the altering temperatures. [source]
In April 1933, a report suggested that the spring got sheeted in a thin layer of ice. It highlighted that anyone witnessing the spring freeze was the first occurrence.
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Access To Kitch Iti Kipi
As with most other state parks in Michigan, Kitch Iti Kipi is accessible with an entrance fee. The entrance fee is per vehicle and given to the attendant at the park’s entrance.
For Michigan residents, the cost of an annual pass was $12 once purchased while renewing your license plate registration. If purchased from a customer service location or state park, the price increased to $17. This purchase enables you to receive a Michigan Recreation Passport, also referred to as a state park sticker.
Non-residents have the option of annual passes or day passes. An annual pass costs $36, while a day pass is currently $10.
Rules Governing Kitch Iti Kipi
- The primary rule governing Kitch Iti Kipi is the requirement to have a recreation passport to enter. This passport is the same as the state park sticker.
- No Drones are allowed over Kitch Iti Kipi.
- No Swimming, diving, fishing, or water sports of any can is allowed.
In 2019, one man got reported swimming in the spring. This incident occurred on July 28, and onlookers communicated it to the conservation officers. The individual was fined $250 for his illegal act. [source]
Activities Allowed At Kitch Iti Kipi
There is also no kayaking, paddling, fishing, or water sports allowed in the spring. The spring is a view-only attraction. However, a large, self-propelled raft with a glass bottom at the center awaits visitors to take them to the center of the spring.
The raft travels along guide cables by turning a big wheel. The raft can stop at the center for everyone to enjoy the views. Occasionally, the rangers steer the raft and feed the fish for a spectacular photo opt. The park has no additional cost to ride the raft across the spring.
Well-mannered pets on leashes are welcomed in the park and allowed on the raft.
Activities Near Kitch Iti Kipi
Just a few steps from Kitch Iti Kipi lies Indian Lake State Park. At this park, ample room is available for swimming, fishing, and boating, which are all allowed. Hiking and camping are also favorite pastimes for residents and visitors alike.
The Manistique Boardwalk and Riverwalk stretch just under 2 miles of awe-inspiring views. The walk passes beneath the US-2 Bridge and leads to the downtown district. Users of the walk can fish, access picnic grounds and the east breakwater light, and ample wildlife and nature.
The Thompson State Fish Hatchery is another attraction located near Kitch Iti Kipi. Visitors can view the location where the walleye and steelhead fish, among others, are bred and raised. These fish are used to restock several areas used for fishing across the state.
What Lies At The Bottom Of Kitch Iti Kipi?
As visitors stare into the depths of the springs, they will observe plump trout, ancient tree trunks as the water temperature preserve them, clouds of sand, and lime-encrusted branches.
The water is so clear and clean that there is absolutely no evidence of pollution in the spring. This phenomenon is possibly another reason the Department of Natural Resources does not allow any activity in and on the water.
Can You Drink The Water Of Kitch Iti Kipi?
Even though Kitch Iti Kipi’s water is freshwater from limestone fissures, it is not advisable to drink it. Untreated water from a spring may result in illnesses like diarrhea and gastroenteritis.
It is also possible for spring water to contain chemicals that cause permanent health issues, including liver and kidney damage, congenital disabilities, and nervous system disorders.