Newly launched site helps visitors explore locations and find events, experiences to help understand, appreciate our Great Lakes fisheries heritage.

By: Brandon Schroeder

People and coastal communities have both valued and benefited from Great Lakes fisheries throughout time. These Great Lakes fisheries – a story of people, fish, and fishing – are dynamic and ever changing. The Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail seeks to connect people and places, information and experiences for those interested in engaging in this story.

A newly launched website for the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail offers interactive opportunities to explore the past, present and future of the lakes through the lens of fish and fishing.

Explore the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail

Museum exhibits and educational opportunities along this trail highlight our fisheries heritage, ecology and management, economic and social issues that have defined coastal communities across the Great Lakes. The trail includes museums, coastal fishing communities, fish markets and processing facilities, events, research and science centers throughout the region.

  • View an interactive map of Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail sites to explore these expanded opportunities, including:
  • Trail sites and experiences across the Great Lakes that offer a wide variety of activities, information, or experiences relating to Great Lakes fisheries – past and present.
  • A growing trail network. A partnership with Wisconsin Sea Grant has fostered an opportunity to include new sites and expand opportunities among other Great Lakes states.
  • Community connections. Several communities or regional tourism partnerships have connected a collection of fisheries heritage sites, experiences and information to explore locally.
  • Trail stories. Themed trails offer a path for exploring the Great Lakes region by way of interesting stories. Explore the story behind the ‘turtle back’ gill net tug or learn about the life of a fisherman. Find fish markets and restaurants that sell or serve a taste of the Great Lakes.
  • Expanded access to organizational and educational information that may be of interest to educators, history buffs, or fish enthusiasts.

A community-supported website – learn how to get involved

The Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail represents a network and partnership among museum, maritime heritage, and fisheries partners cooperating to promote our fisheries heritage. The collective efforts of these partners is helping to preserve and interpret historical artifacts, enhance local communities and heritage-based tourism, and offer educational opportunities focusing on Great Lakes literacy and stewardship.

Would you like to learn more, have ideas to share or simply want to get your organization or community involved with this network and partnership? You can participate and share your fisheries heritage connections directly on this website or simply send an email

Lots of partners make it possible

Funding for this new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail website was provided, in part, by the Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Office of the Great Lakes and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; and supported by Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension.  The Northeast Michigan Council of GovernmentsLand information Access Association, along with fisheries and maritime heritage experts from Michigan Sea Grant, Cultural Consulting, History by Design, and Great Lakes History and Interpretation consulting provided leadership in facilitating design and content development for this new website.

A collaborative Design Team reflecting many federal, state, and local organizational partners and dedicated individuals contributed countless hours of enthusiasm and expertise, design creativity, and content for this site. This is a community-driven website — everyone’s contributions to the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage story are invited.