Group photo of most of the 2022 GLIA Summit attendees

The 2022 Great Lakes Islands Summit
on October 2 - 5, 2022 was a great success.

After two years of pandemic delays, the voluntary, bi-national Great Lakes Islands Alliance (GLIA) recently held its marquee event, the Great Lakes Islands Summit, across four island communities in Lake Erie: South Bass (Put-in-Bay), Middle Bass, and Kelleys Islands in Ohio and Pelee Island in Ontario. This was GLIA’s fourth such Summit since 2017 and the first to span multiple islands. The Summit rotates to a different island(s) each year and allows that community to showcase its successes and challenges to visiting leaders from other islands across the vast Great Lakes region and beyond.

In 2022, a total of 89 participants came from eight states and one province, including as far away as Maine and Florida. This included islanders from 13 Great Lakes island communities plus additional partners and advocates from mainland organizations. As a sign of the times, a number of additional people sent late regrets and had to cancel due to family, COVID, professional commitments, and even Hurricane Ian complications. Read More.

The 2023 Great Lakes Islands Summit
will be on Drummond Island, MI.

At the end of the 2022 Summit, we announced that the 2023 Summit will be held on Drummond Island, Michigan. Thanks to all our friends on Drummond Island who helped to make that possible. The dates will probably be in early October again, but have not been fixed. Read More About Drummond Island.


Aerial View of Drummond Island, MI

Great Lakes islands are critically important places for a variety of bird species, such as land birds (e.g., sparrows, warblers), waterbirds (e.g., herons, loons, plovers), and waterfowl (e.g., ducks, geese, swans). Unfortunately, these species face a variety of threats on a local, regional, and global scale. Maintaining a variety of habitats – forests, wetlands, grasslands, beaches, and even residential backyards – will play a role in bird conservation by providing feeding, nesting, wintering, and migratory stopover sites. This webinar was originally held on April 7, 2022

Our first webinar, "Building Leadership to Strengthen Island Community Resilience"

was held on February 24, 2022 and featured Kate Tagai of the Island Institute in Maine
speaking about their development of a leadership framework for islands
and the successes they have had with it. Click on the above image to view it.

Click on the map below for a quick overview of the member islands in the alliance. More detail and more photos are in the island showcase below.

Our mission

The Great Lakes Islands Alliance encourages relationship building, fosters information exchange, and leverages resources to address shared challenges and embrace opportunities to benefit islands.
Since 2017, the Great Lakes Islands Alliance has been connecting islanders and amplifying their voices. As core functions, GLIA hosts robust Zoom discussions every month plus the annual Great Lakes Islands Summit. Our membership is now over 150 people from 19 different islands - the crown jewels of the Great Lakes!




Links for information and registration for the Fall, 2022 Islands Summit will be available early in 2022. The summit will be based on
South Bass Island in Lake Erie.

The Great Lakes contain the largest, most diverse collection of freshwater islands in the world. Of the 32,000 islands, nearly twenty continue to host communities of people, typically a mix of year-round and seasonal residents and visitors.

While present-day island communities are uniquely distinct from one another in character, traditions, and geography, they share a number of complex, inter-related challenges, including: access to public services and quality education; supporting a diversified economy; managing natural, cultural, and historical resources across public and private boundaries; and changing demographics (size, age, seasonality, ownership, economic status, etc.).

These challenges are hurdles, not immovable barriers. In fact, some island communities have already independently developed their own “island solutions to island challenges.” Island communities are finding they often have more in common with one another than to their adjacent mainland. There is great value in islanders learning from other islanders about best practices that work, as well as those that don’t.

Island Updates

The monthly GLIA call on April 1, 2020 was dedicated to sharing coronavirus information (status, good ideas, specific challenges) from each island. GLIA members from each community were asked to provide an informal, 5-10 min update. Note: with a few exceptions, the summaries below are not a verbatim, nor are they intended to represent a full or formal or fully vetted record from each island community. Please contact GLIA leads from each island for clarifications.

Reports from past great lakes islands summits

Resources & Webinar


Webinar: Great Lakes Water Levels 101

Learn about Great Lakes water levels from one of the leading experts in the region, Andrew Gronewold, PhD, PE, physical scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)–Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory and adjunct professor at the University of Michigan.
watch webinar
webinar Q&A

2019 Great Lakes Islands Basketball Tournament

The tournament was held on Dec. 6-7, 2019 on Mackinac Island. Teams were from Washington Island (Lake Michigan), Mackinac Island (Lake Huron), South Bass Island (Lake Erie) and Beaver Island (Lake Michigan).