In the beginning, it was called Chaboiganing, or ”Passing through” in the native language. As part of the inland water route between Lake Huron and Little Traverse Bay, it’s been used for centuries. First by the native peoples, then the French trappers, followed by lumbermen and summer residents seeking relief from the heat and crowds downstate.
In the 1830’s the area was surveyed as part of a massive program to establish boundaries and section lines for Michigan and Wisconsin. The head surveyor was William A. Burt, for whom the lake was named. Burt was primarily known for being a master surveyor and inventor of the solar compass, a device still used today, Burt’s invention solved a big problem for surveyors in the mineral-rich Upper Peninsula since it was unaffected by ore deposits, unlike the traditional magnetic compasses of the day.
Today, Burt Lake still serves as part of the inland waterway, and is home to 900 residents and many more visitors. It’s clear, clean waters are the result of many springs and flow- through from several rivers. The BLPA’s purpose is to help preserve Burt Lake for future generations, whether you make it your home or you’re just “Passing through.”
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