Superior: Our 'little' secret

  • Article by: BILL WARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2012 - 4:29 PM

Minnesotans' favorite Great Lake more than makes up in quality what it might lack in quantity of media coverage.

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Sailboats on Lake Superior.

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

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We should be used to it by now. We shouldn't be surprised when the biggest lake in the land's most lake-tastic state gets slighted in the media.

And yet ... it just seems wrong to see Lake Superior finishing right in the middle in a ranking of media mentions for the five Great Lakes. In each of the past five years, HighBeam Research listed the exact same order, with Lakes Michigan and Erie on top and Ontario and Huron bringing up the rear.

Now, there's an ever-so-slight chance that having Chicago rather than Duluth as its largest U.S. lakeside city has a wee bit to do with Lake Michigan getting almost twice as many mentions last year (2,446) as Superior (1,298). The data came from print and broadcast reports around the world. (Last week's deluge barely budged the numbers.)

Apparently, size doesn't matter here -- Lake Superior could hold the water from all of the other Great Lakes, along with three more Lake Eries -- nor does being able to drive past a wealth of cascading streams tumbling into the lake.

Still, we have a few questions for all those folks writing about the non-Superior lakes:

Would you rather eat fish from a lake in the land of sky-blue waters or the lake alongside northern Ohio's multitudinous industrial plants?

Would you rather canoe or kayak in the one with the Apostle Islands, or the ones that don't have the Apostle Islands (or Madeline, for that matter)?

Would you rather have your kids swim in the one fed by the North Country's cool, clean streams or the one fed by the Chicago River?

On top of that, Superior "remains a lake that has a mystique and a magnetic draw and a spirit to it," Konnie LeMay, editor of Lake Superior magazine, aptly pointed out.

Maybe we're better off keeping all this to ourselves, After all, it's also a Minnesota tradition to want our wonderful state to be recognized but not to have it mucked up by all of those outsiders descending on our turf. Or surf.

Bill Ward • 612-673-7643

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