Skip to Content

Is Lake Champlain a Great Lake? Sixth Great Lake Facts and History

Is Lake Champlain a Great Lake? Sixth Great Lake Facts and History

Lake Champlain has been labeled as the sixth Great Lake of the United States, but its Great Lake status was rescinded after a minor uproar.

Lake Champlain is a long and wide lake in upstate New York and northwestern Vermont. The Richelieu River flows northward into the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain. The lake collects water from other lakes in the area and drains nearly half of Vermont.

It is fed by various rivers in Vermont, New York, and Quebec and is connected to the Hudson River by the Champlain Canal. The average temperature of the lake is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

History of Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain has a long and rich history. The French explorer Samuel de Champlain inspired the naming of the lake. The lake was of significant commercial and military importance in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Champlain Canal was important in linking Lake Champlain to the Hudson River system, opening up north-south commerce. Numerous dignitaries from around the world attended the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the French discovery of the lake.

The first bridge across Lake Champlain was built in 1929, lasting until 2009. The first time boats sailed on the lake was in 1932. Lake Champlain was designated a Great Lake by the U.S. government in 1998, which allowed the states bordering Lake Champlain to apply for additional funding from the government.

The history of Lake Champlain is complex and filled with tension. The lake has acted as a border between different nations for centuries and has long been a source of conflict between the indigenous nations of New York and Vermont.

a small boat in a large body of water

Why is Lake Champlain sometimes considered a Great Lake?

Some people consider Lake Champlain a Great Lake because it was declared as such by the U.S. government in 1998. This allows additional funds to be applied toward research and education in the area. But the status was revoked within two weeks. This was done because Lake Champlain is too small and shallow to be considered a Great Lake.

The lake’s small size relative to other Great Lakes is also a factor in its favor. There has been some controversy over whether or not to make Lake Champlain a Great Lake, but progress has yet to be made on this front.

What are the 5 Great Lakes?

1. Superior

Superior is the largest, deepest, coldest, and most pristine of the Great Lakes. The water is clean, and the environment is pristine. Superior has many resources, making it a great place to live and visit. It is also a part of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

a rocky beach next to a body of water

2. Huron

Huron is one of the five Great Lakes located in North America. It is the second-largest lake in terms of surface area and the fourth-largest in terms of water volume. Huron is located in the northern part of New York State and covers an area of 5,359 square miles.

The lake is bounded by Ontario to the north, Minnesota to the west, Wisconsin to the south, Michigan to the east, and Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York to the northwest.

Lake Champlain is Huron’s largest waterbody, measuring 71 miles long by 23 miles wide at its widest point. The Saint Lawrence River flows through Huron and out to the Atlantic Ocean.

Aerial panoramic landscape view of a bay on the Great Lakes

3. Michigan

Michigan is the third Great Lake. It has a surface area of 244,100 km² and is home to many beautiful lakes and forests. The coast of Michigan measures 10,900 miles (17,549 km) long. Michigan is part of the Great Lakes system and is connected to the other two Great Lakes by the Straits of Mackinac.

a body of water next to the ocean

4. Erie

Erie is a large freshwater lake in North America on the Great Lakes. It is the fourth largest of the five lakes and has a depth of 248 feet. Erie has a diverse ecosystem with over 1,500 species of plants and animals. The Erie Canal was a project to create a water route from the Hudson River to the Great Lakes. The Erie Canal is part of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

a body of water with a city in the background

5. Ontario

The fifth Great Lake is Lake Ontario. It has a relative elevation of 535 m above sea level and an average depth of 914 m. The maximum depth of the lake is 2,295 m. Ontario has a volume of 8,058 km3.

The lake is located in North America and straddles the U.S.-Canada border. The Saint Lawrence River marks the international border for a portion of its course. The Saint Lawrence River interconnects the Great Lakes.

a small boat in a large body of water

Importance lake Champlain

A beautiful and unique Lake

Lake Champlain is a beautiful and unique Lake. It has the same depth as an average Great Lake, but its width is only half that of other Great Lakes. There are no rivers that flow into the lake. Lake Champlain is in a very strategic location, and it’s been important historically to many of North America’s wars.

Home to various plant and animal species

Lake Champlain is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. The lake has been named the most biologically diverse in North America because it contains three distinct regions, each with its ecosystem.

Popular tourist destination

Lake Champlain is a popular tourist destination because of its beauty and recreational opportunities. It is, however, not a Great Lake because it is too small and has no islands or reefs.

A significant source of drinking water for New York and Vermont

Lake Champlain is a very important water body to Vermont and New York. Lake Champlain provides drinking water for the two states and is an important source of recreation for both states.

Lake Champlain is also an important part of the history of the United States, as it was a major route for settlers moving westward from New England to Kentucky and beyond.

a large body of water


What are the main features of Lake Champlain?

Lake Champlain is a large freshwater lake in North America, Straddling the border between the Canadian province of Quebec and the U.S. state of New York. The lake is approximately 110 miles (180 km) long and 13 miles (21 km) across at its widest point, making it slightly larger than Lake George, another famous Finger Lake.

Champlain is also one of the deepest lakes in the region, with a maximum depth of just over 400 feet (122 m). The lake is named after French explorer Samuel de Champlain, who discovered it in 1609 while searching for a route to the Pacific Ocean. Today, Lake Champlain is a popular destination for tourists and fishermen alike.

The lake is home to several fish species, including bass, trout, and salmon, making it a popular spot for anglers. There are also several recreational areas around the lake where visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, and camping.

What is the size of Lake Champlain?

Lake Champlain is 106 miles long and has a basin collecting water from the Green and Adirondack Mountains. The size of Lake Champlain is 435 square miles. The lake has a 95.5-foot average yearly water level. There are 71 islands in the lake. The surface elevation of the lake ranges from 0 to 400 feet. Lake Champlain is a drinking water source for 200,000 people.

What is the watershed of Lake Champlain?

A watershed is an area of land draining into a particular water body. The size of a watershed depends on which drainage point is referenced. For example, the Lake Champlain Basin includes parts of New York, Vermont, and Quebec.

The Lake Champlain watershed is only about 25% the size of the Great Lakes’ largest watershed, which drains into Lake Superior. The lake receives water from more than 50 rivers and streams.

The Lake Champlain watershed includes parts of six states: Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and Quebec. The lake’s drainage basin is about 6500 square miles.

What is the water quality of Lake Champlain?

A multitude of environmental factors determines water quality in Lake Champlain. These include land use practices in the watershed, wastewater discharge into the lake, stormwater runoff carrying pollutants from urban areas, and atmospheric deposition of contaminants from the air.

Phosphorus contributes to algae blooms, damaging the environment and water quality. Lake Champlain’s main pollution source is phosphorus runoff from agricultural and urban areas. The cleanup plan for Lake Champlain in 2002 recommended reducing phosphorus discharges by 120 short tons per year.

However, progress has been slow due to a lack of funding and implementation.
In order to improve water quality, the state of Vermont has set goals for the cleanup of Lake Champlain. These include reducing phosphorus inputs, reducing toxic contamination, and controlling the spread of non-native species.

The Lake Champlain Model is a collaborative effort between different government agencies to improve water quality. The main goals of the Model are to reduce phosphorus inputs, reduce toxic contamination, and control the spread of non-native species.

Overall, the water quality in Lake Champlain is safe for swimming, fishing, and boating. However, pollution continues to be a problem that needs to be addressed in order to protect the natural resources of the lake.

What is the economic importance of Lake Champlain?

Lake Champlain is an essential economic resource. The Champlain Canal connected Lake Champlain to the Hudson River system, allowing north-south commerce by water.

The canal was celebrated in 1909 for its 300th anniversary. The first bridge across the lake was dedicated in 1929 and lasted until 2009. The Lake Champlain Bridge opened in 2011 and is a much more durable bridge.

Lake Champlain has a unique economic status because it affects neighboring states. Following a small uproar, the Great Lake status was rescinded, but Vermont universities continued to study the lake. The Lake Champlain Economic Development Council (LCEDC) was created to help manage and promote the economic importance of the lake.

What are the recreation opportunities on Lake Champlain?

Lake Champlain has many recreation opportunities, including parks, swimming pools, beaches, and charter cruises. Different parks have different features and amenities, so you’re sure to find something that appeals to you.

Burlington’s Waterfront Park is excellent for families to enjoy a day out. The Ausable Point State Park has hiking trails and plenty of space to play sports. Crown Point is a great place to explore Revolutionary War ruins on Lake Champlain.

What are the environmental issues facing Lake Champlain?

Lake Champlain is a freshwater lake located in North America between the states of New York and Vermont. The lake faces many environmental issues, the most pressing of which are high levels of phosphorus runoff from agricultural land and cyanobacteria blooms.

The high levels of phosphorus in the water cause algae blooms, which deplete the oxygen in the water and can harm humans and animals. The cyanobacteria blooms are also a result of excess phosphorus in the water and can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals.

These environmental issues are being addressed by a cleanup plan endorsed by the governors of New York and Vermont, as well as the regional administrators of the EPA, in 1996. The plan aims to reduce phosphorus inputs into the lake by 60% and 40%, respectively. The state of Vermont has also created a Clean and Clear Action Plan to clean up Lake Champlain.

What is the future of Lake Champlain?

The future of Lake Champlain is in question after the U.S. government rescinded the “Great Lake” designation. However, New York and Vermont universities continue to study the lake. There is renewed interest in making Lake Champlain a Great Lake, but the proposal was eventually withdrawn for lack of support.