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To say that Lake Superior is the greatest of the Great Lakes is to say much, but it draws no picture of the vastness of this haughty queen of fresh water who has a copper crown, the iron hills for a footstool, and the coldest blue eyes in creation… Facts and figures are poor measures of true greatness, which goes beyond reason and must be judged by impressions.
— —W. Ratigan, “Pretty Tall Water Here,” in Shipwrecks and Survivals (1969)

When you live in Duluth, everything is oriented around the Lake. She is the largest body of fresh water in the world: as large as all the other Great Lakes combined, plus three extra Lake Eries for good measure; 10 percent of the world’s fresh water; enough water to cover all of North and South America in a foot of water. The average temperature of the Lake is 40˚F even in midsummer; the average drop stays in the Lake for 191 years. The water in the Lake, which scientists have referred to as “a distilled water ice bath,” is so clear that on a calm day you can sometimes see 75 feet through the water. If you look out at Lake Superior, she is as vast and incomprehensible as an ocean—yet she has the life-giving intimacy of fresh water. As a friend of mine once described it, “the Lake makes mystics of all of us.”

You could say that we here in Duluth have a, ahem, Lake Superiority complex.


But it's not easy being a lake these days.

Our water sources, including our beautiful Great Lakes, are threatened in many ways.  Climate change is warming the Lake up, changing its ecosystems.  Invasive species threaten the native species.  New types of proposed mines could threaten the Lake's watershed with toxic runoff.  Plastic pollution has clogged up our world so thoroughly that microplastics can be found in more than 90% of the world's fresh water, including the Great Lakes.

We LOVE our magical, magnificent Lake. 

So we're launching a water campaign to learn more about Lake Superior and what we can do to protect her.  As a business, we've already implemented a closed water cooling system to dramatically reduce our water use, and we've implemented a zero-waste strategy to eliminate waste that goes to landfills.  Now it's time to learn and discover what to do next.  

What are you doing to protect our water?  What should we do next? Let us know by emailing or with #lakesuperioritycomplex on social media.  We'll be sharing stories all summer long.


Get involved:

Here are just a few of the great organizations working to protect Lake Superior and the surrounding waters:

Alliance for the Great Lakes

Clean Beach Collective (@cleanbeachcollective)

Duluth for Clean Water

Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy

Save the Boundary Waters

Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust