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Islands Summit

September 25, 2017, 9:00 amSeptember 26, 2017, 4:00 pm

©Frank Solle/StillPoint Photography Egg lake Islands Summit

Islands Summit Save the Date PostcardLaying the Foundation for a Great Lakes Islands Coalition

Thank you for your interest in attending the 2017 Islands Summit on Beaver Island. Below is some information to help orient you to the details about the event.


Beautiful Beaver Island is located in northern Lake Michigan, roughly 32 miles off-shore from the Michigan mainland.


The Beaver Island community is excited to serve as your hosts for this unique event.


The 2017 Islands Summit will bring together island community leaders from all around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region to discuss the unique challenges of living, working, and playing on islands.  Participants will identify common needs across islands and learn about best practices and other solutions that have already proven successful on islands.  Leaders from the Island Institute (Rockland, Maine) will be joining us to share their experience and help guide our discussions.  Here in the Great Lakes region, there is enormous untapped opportunity in establishing regular communication and collaboration between island communities and raising awareness among the mainland public.  We hope the Summit will lay the foundation for a new coalition of island communities, where islands would reap the benefits of a peer-to-peer network yet remain individually empowered to seek their own unique path for growth and sustainability.


Download a PDF of the full agenda.  The focus will be on group discussion.  There will also be a guided field trip of key island sites and lots of informal “down time” to meet people from other islands. Sorry, remote participation will not be available (nor would it be ideal for this setting and objective).


The Summit will start at 9:00 am on Monday, September 25 and conclude by 4 pm on Tuesday, September 26 (all times Eastern).  Due to travel logistics and to maximize our time together, we ask that attendees arrive on Sunday and depart on Wednesday (an abbreviated stay may be possible if flying – see below).  Free island shuttle service between the ferry terminal, island airports, and meeting venue will be provided.

Travel to Beaver Island is via a 2-hour ferry ride or 15-minute flight, both from the mainland city of Charlevoix, Michigan. The three transportation providers are:

  • Beaver Island Boat Company: $27.50/person each way (Sunday 2:30 pm departure from Charlevoix; Wednesday 8:20 am departure leaving the island)
  • Island Airways: $53/person each way (multiple flights each day, starting around 8am – check for times)
  • Fresh Air Aviation: $57/person one way, $112/person round trip (multiple flights each day, starting around 8am – check for times)

Driving time to Charlevoix is 50 minutes from Traverse City (Cherry Capitol Airport-TVC) or Pellston (PLN), 1 hour from Mackinaw City, 3.5 hours from Lansing (Capital International Airport-LAN), or 4.5 hours from Detroit (Metro Airport-DTW).


There is no fee to register for the Summit.  The following on-island, meeting-related costs will be covered:

  • Lodging at the venue (see below): available Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights
  • Meals: Sunday dinner, breakfast/lunch/dinner on Monday and Tuesday, and breakfast on Wednesday. There will also be coffee, water, and snacks provided throughout the meeting.
  • Facility fees
  • Island transportation (to/from ferry & airports, field trips, etc.)

Attendees are asked to pay for their own travel to Beaver Island.  You are also responsible for lodging and car rental if you choose to stay off-site at an island hotel or B&B, if you wish to extend your stay past the event timeframe, and any discretionary/leisure spending.

Venue & Housing Information

The Summit is a retreat-style event at Central Michigan University’s Biological Station (CMUBS) on Beaver Island.  In order to help develop relationships and meet Summit objectives, the hosts ask that attendees stay on-site at CMUBS.  Note: Housing is limited at CMUBS so we do not have the space to offer private housing. Therefore, accommodations will be shared with other attendees. We will primarily be using the faculty/staff units which each have 2-3 separate bedrooms and a shared bath.  Overflow attendance (or those wishing more rustic accommodations) can stay in cabins, also on-site.   A complete description can be found on the CMUBS website

If you are bringing your family or a large group and desire to stay together, you may want to explore housing options off-site.  Again, we will not be able to reimburse you for off-site lodging.  Please contact us if you have any questions.


Interest in the 2017 Islands Summit has been extraordinary and we have maxed out our space. Registration is now closed. If you would like to learn about the outcomes of the event, please contact Matt Preisser, Michigan Office of the Great Lakes.



September 25, 2017, 9:00 am
September 26, 2017, 4:00 pm


Biological Station on Beaver Island
33850 East Side Dr
Beaver Island, MI United States