Dear friend of FLOW,

The Great Lakes belong to all of us. They’re in our DNA. We instinctively know that they are part of our common heritage to enjoy and protect, and to pass on to our children and grandchildren.

During the height of summer and Lakes Appreciation Month, let’s remember that these waters, these shorelines are legally accessible for all of us to walk and enjoy. The public is entitled to use the land below the ordinary high-water mark as a trail, as well as to snap photos, swim, and fish—but not to camp or throw parties. With rights, as always, come responsibilities. Beach stewardship and respect for shoreline property owners will, in time, build a harmonious community in which public access is something on which all Michiganders can count. Check out FLOW’s Great Lakes Passport to learn more about how the public trust doctrine relates to our rights to walk the shoreline.

Speaking of rights and responsibilities, learn about efforts by a team at Wayne State University to help Great Lakes communities address microplastic pollution. And catch up on FLOW’s latest efforts to shut down Line 5 and stop Enbridge’s proposed oil tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac. The good news is that the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has reopened the record to gather more information on the safety and engineering of Enbridge’s proposed tunnel, with FLOW founder Jim Olson calling the MPSC’s ongoing commitment to responsible scrutiny a “step toward victory for the public and the Great Lakes.” FLOW is a permissive intervenor in the case. Please help us by signing the petition to the MPSC and calling on them to reject the Enbridge request to replace and relocate its 69-year-old Line 5 into a risky oil tunnel through the Great Lakes.

Finally, we want to introduce our new legal interns, Mary Basso from Owosso, Michigan, and Irene Namae from Mbale, Uganda. We are thrilled to welcome them to the FLOW team, and excited to benefit from their fresh energy and ideas. As our Milliken law and policy interns, they offer skills and attributes that help extend the legacy of environmental protection left by Gov. William and Helen Milliken.

We hope to see you soon—at the shore, our events, and our door at 440 West Front Street in downtown Traverse City.

In solidarity,

Liz Kirkwood, 
Executive Director


  • Please help us spread the word: We are hiring our first full-time Communications Coordinator. We seek a skilled visual storyteller responsible for planning, coordinating, and producing FLOW’s digital and print communications, events, and marketing. Click here to read the full job description and learn how to apply.

  • Getting in tune and in the flow to support FLOW—Through this September, FLOW supporter Amy Younkman is donating the proceeds of her weekly yoga class at Chimney Corners near Frankfort to support FLOW and our mission to protect the Great Lakes; learn more. And FLOW business partner Naperala Consulting is hosting a concert in August with musician Seth Bernard to benefit FLOW and the Traverse City swim-dive team. Buy your tickets today!


The Latest on Line 5: Key Pathways to Protect the Great Lakes from an Oil Spill

Register today and join FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix, in partnership with the Bay Mills Indian Community, on Thursday, July 28, at 11:00 a.m. EDT for a livestream event to learn about recent developments in the widespread effort to shut down Enbridge’s nearly 70-year-old Line 5 oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac and stop the proposed oil tunnel. The online session is free and supported in part by a grant from the Mackinac Island Community Foundation’s Natural Resources and Preservation Fund.

National Writers Series: Featuring Authors Jerry Dennis and Dave Dempsey

Join FLOW senior policy advisor Dave Dempsey and award-winning writer Jerry Dennis—two of Michigan’s acclaimed environmental authors—for a conversation on August 25 at 7 p.m. EDT about how we can keep the Great Lakes great for generations to come. If you love the Great Lakes, you won’t want to miss this event hosted by the National Writers Series. Get your in-person or livestream tickets today. And because you are a friend of FLOW, be sure to use the special "Save5" promo code for $5 off in-person tickets purchased online, by phone, or at the City Opera House.

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