Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lake Champlain is a large lake in North America. Most of the lake is in the United States (the states of Vermont and New York) with a small portion in Quebec, a province of Canada across the international boundary.
In the United States, Lake Champlain is the country's sixth-largest body of water. It is situated between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains of New York, with its northern tip extending into Quebec, Canada. It is naturally drained by the Richelieu River (which runs north to the St. Lawrence River near Montreal), and is fed by Otter Creek, and the Winooski , Missisquoi , and Lamoille Rivers in Vermont and the Ausable, Chazy, and Saranac Rivers in New York. Lake Champlain also receives water from Lake George via the La Chute River. The region surrounding the lake is known as the Champlain Valley.
The lake varies from 95 to 100 feet above mean sea level. In the early 19th century, Lake Champlain was connected to the Hudson River system by the New York Barge Canal. The ports of Burlington, Vermont, Port Henry, New York, and Plattsburgh, New York are little used nowadays except by small crafts, ferries and lake cruise ships, but they had substantial commercial importance at one time.
Lake Champlain is one of a large number of large lakes spread in an arc from Labrador through the Northern United States and into the Northwest Territories of Canada. Although it cannot be compared with Ontario, Erie, Huron, Superior or Michigan, Lake Champlain is a large body of fresh water. Approximately 1130 km² (435 square miles) in area, the lake is roughly 180 km (110 miles) long, and 19 km (12 miles) across at its widest point. It contains roughly 80 islands including an entire county in Vermont.
Lake Champlain briefly became the nation's sixth Great Lake on March 6, 1998, when President Clinton signed Senate Bill 927. This bill, which reauthorized the Sea Grant Program , contained a line penned by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, declaring Lake Champlain to be a Great Lake. Not coincidentally, this status allows neighboring states to apply for additional federal research and education funds allocated to these national resources. Following a small uproar the Great Lake status was rescinded (although Vermont universities continue to receive funds to monitor and study the lake.)
One of the more enduring myths surrounding Lake Champlain is that of Champ. Reminiscent of the Loch Ness monster, Ogopogo and other phenomena of cryptozoology, Champ is purportedly a giant aquatic animal that makes the lake its home. Sightings have been few and far between (and come from sources of questionable veracity). Regardless, locals and tourists have developed something of a fondness for the creature and its legend and representations of Champ can now be found on tee shirts, coffee mugs, and many other tourist souvenirs.
In colonial times, Lake Champlain provided an easily traversed water (or, in winter, ice) passage between the Saint Lawrence and the Hudson Valleys. Boats and sledges were usually preferable to the unpaved and frequently mud bound roads of the time. The northern tip of the lake at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec (St. John in colonial times) is a short distance from Montreal. The Southern tip at Whitehall (Skeenesboro in colonial times) is a short distance from Saratoga, New York, Glens Falls, New York and Albany, New York. Forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point (Fort St. Frederic) controlled passage of the lake in colonial times. Important battles were fought at Ticonderoga in 1758 and 1777. Significant naval battles were fought in 1776 at Valcour Island and in 1814 at Plattsburgh.
Fort Blunder (aka Fort Montgomery) was built by the Americans on an arm of Lake Champlain after the war of 1812, to protect against attacks from British Canada. Its name comes from a surveying error that caused it to inadvertently be built on the Canadian side of the border.
The Alburg Peninsula (also known as the Alburg Tongue), extending south from the Quebec shore of the lake into Vermont, shares with Point Roberts, Washington, and the Northwest Angle in Minnesota the distinction of being reachable by land from the rest of its state only via Canada. However, unlike the other two cases, this is no longer of practical significance since highway bridges across the lake do provide access to the peninsula within the United States (from three directions, in fact).
The lake can be crossed by road at several southerly points including:
- Chimney Point
North of this point, the lake widens appreciably; ferry service is provided by the Lake Champlain Transportation Company at:
- Charlotte, VT to Essex, NY (may not travel when the lake gas frozen)
- Burlington, VT to Port Kent , NY (seasonal)
- Grand Isle, VT to Plattsburg, NY (year-round icebreaking service)
Grand Isle County, Vermont connects to the Vermont mainland via:
- Route 2 (the Sandbar Bridge) to Malletts Bay
- Route 78 to Swanton
Grand Island County, Vermont connects to the New York mainland via:
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details