Michigan Counties
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Michigan Counties

The boundaries of the eighty-three counties in Michigan have not changed substantially since 1897. Wayne County was the sixth county in the Northwest Territory, formed 15 August 1796 and organized in 1815. Wayne County was created 21 November 1815 as an original county of Michigan.

Kalkaska County, Michigan

Kalkaska County Education, Geography, and HistoryKalkaska County, Michigan Courthouse

Kalkaska County is a county located in the state of Michigan. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 17,153. The county seat is Kalkaska. The county was set off in 1840 as Wabassee County, and renamed in 1843. It was organized in 1871. The county's name is a Native American, but its meaning is uncertain.

Kalkaska County is included in the Traverse City, MI Micropolitan Statistical Area. The county is considered to be part of Northern Michigan.

Etymology - Origin of Kalkaska County Name

The name Kalkaska is thought to be a Chippewa word meaning flat or burned-over country.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Kalkaska County History

Set Off: 1840 as Wabassee County. Renamed Kalkaska in 1843

Organized: 1871

The first settler in Kalkaska County was an Englishman named William Copeland, who purchased land in the northwest corner of the county in 1855. The county was originally called Wabasee. The name Kalkaska is thought to be a Chippewa word meaning flat or burned-over country. Logging was the first important industry.

The discovery of substantial deposits of oil and natural gas resulted in the construction of a processing plant by Shell Oil Company in 1973 and a major economic boom in the community.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 571 square miles (1,480 km2), of which 560 square miles (1,500 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (1.9%) is water.

Kalkaska Sand, the state soil of Michigan, was named after the county because of the large amounts deposited in the area from the glaciers in the Ice Age.

Kalkaska County has over 80 lakes and 275 miles (443 km) of streams and rivers. Much of the county is marshland. County elevation ranges from 595 feet (181 m) to about 1,246 feet (380 m). This makes it one of the more uneven counties in the Lower Peninsula.

The Pere Marquette State Forest covers much of the county. Glaciers shaped the area, creating a unique regional ecosystem. A large portion of the area is the so-called Grayling outwash plain, which consists of broad outwash plain including sandy ice-disintegration ridges; jack pine barrens, some white pine-red pine forest, and northern hardwood forest. Large lakes were created by glacial action.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Antrim County (north)
  • Crawford County (east)
  • Missaukee County (south)
  • Grand Traverse County (west)


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