IN DEFENSE OF THE “SIX” GREAT LAKES

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<ul><li><p>606 SCHOOL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS</p><p>his immediate family. Burial was at Oiney, Illinois, his old hometown.</p><p>Prepared by GLEN W. WARNERwith the assistance ofFRANK B. ALLEN andOthers of Lyons School</p><p>IN DEFENSE OF THE ^SIX77 GREAT LAKES</p><p>JAMES K. ANTHONYSouthern University^ Baton Rouge, Louisiana</p><p>If the old adage that a chain is as strong as its weakest link is truethen the principle would hold true in the case of our Great Lakes ofNorth America. Many geographers and a multitude of textbooksrefuse to recognize the fact there are six rather than five lakes thatare commonly known as the Five Great Lakes or simply The GreatLakes. Ever since the retreat of the Wisconsian Ice Sheet during thelate Pleistocene period about 12,000 years ago, which left the topog-raphy of the northern half of North America essentially the sameas it is today, the Great Lakes have been a conspicuous feature of thelandscape.</p><p>If the question of size is the lone criterion then one can logicallyand quite truthfully say there are five Great Lakes namely: LakeSuperior, 31,810 square miles; Lake Huron, 23,010 square miles;Lake Michigan, 22,400 square miles; Lake Erie, 9,940 square miles;and Lake Ontario, 7,540 square miles. But if one of the lifelines ofthe nation is involved to the extent that our economic existence isthreatened then one must re-appraise his standards or boundaries ofdefinitions. If size is the basis for determining the limits of a lake,the diminutive Lake St. Clair would not be thought of asbelonging to this system of waterways. For it is only about 460square miles and has to be dredged continually to boast of a 19-footdepth. Moreover, navigation from the upper lakes to the lower lakeswould be impossible without Lake St. Claims important location.</p><p>Situated between the state of Michigan and the province ofOntario, Lake St. Clair receives water from Lake Huron by way ofthe St. Clair River and flows into Lake Erie through its southernoutlet, the Detroit River (See map). The fundamental irtrportance ofLake St. Clair lies in its aid to navigation. Imagine an attempt totravel via boat from Duluth, Minnesota to Cleveland, Ohio if LakeSt. Clair did not exist and in its place was a land bridge connectingthe United States with Canada, The trip would be impossible. In</p></li><li><p>IN DEFENSE OF THE SIX GREAT LAKES 607</p><p>fact, the importance of Lake St. Clair is probably greater than that ofthe Soo Canal.</p><p>In 1800 the efforts of the United States to venture into the steelindustry had become firmly established in the American economy andthe skies of the lower Great lakes region were illuminated nightly inmulticolors from the fires of the busy blast furnaces. By 1850 onehalf-million tons of iron ore had been shipped from Minnesota^mesabi mines. The Soo Canal was opened in 1855 to facilitate thenorthbound ships that encountered tremendous difficulties navigating</p><p>the rapids of the St. Mary^s River. And by 1860 over one milliontons of precious hematite had found its way to the hungry iron andsteel mills of Ohio and Pennsylvania.Imagine the increased cost of freight if there existed no Lake St.</p><p>Clair and the iron ore had to be transshipped overland by railroadswith their notoriously high freight .rates? How different would the</p></li><li><p>608 SCHOOL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS</p><p>arguments for the proposed Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway havebeen if there were no Lake St. Clair? It seems dubious that the Maple-Leaf government would have been anxious to tackle the seawayproject if constructing a passageway from Lake Huron to Lake Eriehad to be considered, too.</p><p>Other industries on the American scene have flourished because ofthe unbroken chain of lakes, e.g., the transportation of wheat fromthe glacially-rich Lake Agassiz region to the eastern seaboard andEurope; the limestone-mining activities of the Great Lakes regionthe necessary partner in the steel industry; the northward shipment ofcoal from the United States to Canada; the shipping of automobilesfrom Detroit to other Great Lakes cities; and the fast-decliningtourist trade for which these lakes were internationally famous tocite a few examples.Thus based on man^s economic activities, and they are essential</p><p>if he is to continue to enjoy this chromium-plated, breath-takingcivilization he has created, then let us take cognizance of all of thefactors and facets that have made this existence possible. Or statingthe question in other words: how long can educators justify their notrecognizing the importance and strategic location of Lake St. Clair?</p><p>SCHOOL AND COLLEGE ENROLLMENTSThe Nations total school and college enrollment will reach an all-time peak</p><p>of 41,553,000 in 1956-57, S. M. Brownell, Commissioner of Education, U. S.Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, estimated in a report releasedlast month.</p><p>Reporting on other trends, Commissioner Brownell said shortages of class-rooms and qualified teachers will be somewhat reduced, although still serious.</p><p>^This will be the twelfth consecutive year that the total, enrollment of schools,colleges, and universities has shown an increase,57 Commissioner Brownell said."The 1956-57 estimated enrollment will be 1,754,300 higher than the previous</p><p>peak enrollment of 39,798,700 recorded in 1955-56."Enrollment estimates released by the Office of Education show that private</p><p>and public school enrollment in Kindergarten through Grade 8 will total29,618,000. Last years elementary school enrollment was 28,514,200. The in-crease this year is 1,103,800.High school enrollment for 1956-57 is estimated at 8,111,600. This is a step</p><p>up of 364,500 high school students (Grades 9 through 12) over the 1955-56total enrollment of 7,747,100.</p><p>Colleges and universities throughout the United States will enroll 236,000more students during the coming academic year than they enrolled in 1955-56.This years estimated enrollment will be 3,232,000 as compared with last years2,996,000.</p><p>The shortage of 120,700 qualified elementary and secondary teachers will haveto be met by additional emergency teachers, by the re-entrance of formerteachers into the profession, and by further overcrowding. In the calculationsof this figure, no provision was made for additional teachers to reduce presentovercrowding or to enrich the curriculum.</p></li></ul>

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