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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

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CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood

(Music up and under: Harmonica Gold, "The Sidewalks of New York")

CURWOOD: One hundred and forty-five winters ago, a bridge of ice linked Brooklyn and Manhattan, not far from where the present-day Brooklyn Bridge now reaches. The East River ice bridge put a halt to ferry runs on the cold, cold night of February 10th, 1856. One icebound boat was stranded for six hours. It hasn't gotten cold enough to form an ice bridge in New York City lately, but the frozen structures remain a part of the winter commute and custom in other parts of the country.

(Music up and under: Budgie, "Melt The Ice Away")

CURWOOD: On Mackinaw Island in Michigan's Lake Huron, the formation of the ice bridge to the mainland is a nearly annual event. As soon as the ice over the strait is deemed thick enough, residents mark out a highway across the ice using Christmas trees as borders. And snowmobiles become the fast track to and from the mainland. Travelers can also cross the four-mile bridge on foot. The Mackinaw ice bridge may last for only a few days or endure for up to two months. And unlike usual ferry or plane service, crossing the ice bridge is toll-free. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

(Music up and under: Budgie, "Melt The Ice Away")



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