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Arts & Life

One man's mission to map Michigan's waterfalls

Letherby Falls on the west branch of the Huron River in Baraga County
Credit Courtesy of Phil Stagg
Letherby falls on the west branch of the Huron River in Baraga County.

You’ve heard of storm chasers and tornado chasers.

Phil Stagg is a waterfall chaser.

He runs a business in Cadillac, but his real passion lies in taking photographs of Michigan.

He’s especially interested in the hundreds of waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula.

Stagg says he’s always been drawn to photography.

“For some reason or other, I don’t have a visual memory,” Stagg says, “and because of that, when I have a photo I can at least remember an event, because I can’t pull it up in my mind.”

He’s channeled his love for taking photos of Michigan’s waterfalls into a project, compiling all of the photos and information he’s accumulated into a series of guidebooks.

“It all started back about ’08 when I accidentally took a really good picture of Tahquamenon Falls,” Stagg says.

Since then, Stagg says he’s documented some 580 waterfalls in the U.P., making for about 1,000 pages of guidebook so far.

He’s even found waterfalls that previously didn’t appear on any map.

“That’s one reason I’m doing this project, is to make things accessible and knowable to the general public,” he says.

More information about Phil Stagg, his photography, and the upcoming guidebooks can be found on his website.

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