Bear St. Ditch
A Sylvan Stream or a Manistique Ditch?

Nope; The City of Manistique's Bear Street Ditch Wild Life Refuge and Landfill Pest Farm. In this photograph, a pair of Mallards may be seen in the most distant sky lit pool. A variety of wildlife breeds along its sheltering banks. Spring is the best time to appreciate the saplings, Wisconsin Central's railroad ties, gravel, garbage, raked leaves and cut brush in this sluggish water course. In Summer, join local residents as they swat mosquitoes, black flies, and horse flies that breed in its year round waters. Fall brings a variety of critters foraging for that last meal hidden in the rank vegetation along its banks. When Winter arrives it serves as a frozen shortcut to the famous sled and o.r.v. dunes of St. Francis. Visitors should ignore scurrilous rumors concerning West Nile Virus and roadbed damage due to poor drainage along this verdant gem of the UP.

Note: Readers interested in "the scientific discussion of vector-borne diseases, including "West Nile Virus" are referred to the ARBO_BYTES listserv. Those interested in the spread of West Nile Virus organisms among Michigan vectors may find local information at:
Information from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) may be found at


A letter to the editor, from Karri Truitt, in the 05/17/01 edition of the Pioneer Tribune, provides more reason for concern, from another resident. It detailed her observations as supervisor of a prison cleanup crew that cleaned a block long stretch of the ditch. The "small trash" included 27 extra large contractor garbage bags filled with smaller garbage and trash from the upper reach of the watercourse, some 500 yards upstream from the area shown in this article's photograph. The contents included animal carcasses, used hypodermic needles, broken bottles, rotting garbage, used personal hygiene devices, car batteries, paint cans, and lots more to create a public health hazard, in which local children play.

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