Peter Payette

News Director

Peter Payette is the News Director at Interlochen Public Radio, the broadcast service owned and operated by the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He manages the news department, has hosted its weekly program Points North, and reports on a wide range of issues critical to the culture and economy of northern Michigan. His work has been featured on NPR and Michigan Radio and in Traverse Magazine. He teaches radio storytelling to students at the Interlochen Arts Academy. He is also working on a book about the use of aquaculture to manage Great Lakes fisheries, particularly the use of salmon from the Pacific Ocean to create a sport fishery in the 1960s.

Peter loves telling stories about northern Michigan and hopes he never has to move away. He has vacationed in Benzie County his entire life. His wife Sarah is his biggest fan. They have three children, Isabelle, Amelia and Emmet, and live happily in Traverse City's Kid's Creek Neighborhood. 

Some of his favorite stories have been about the ongoing search for the wreck of the first schooner to sail the upper Great Lakes, or the prospects for obscure fish in the lakes, and any story that requires some knowledge of the past to understand what is happening today.

Ways To Connect

Peter Payette

Traffic over the Mackinac Bridge last year was down more than 20 percent compared to the late 1990s, and there is no single explanation for the trend. But there is one region where residents say they know what happened to their tourists and have a plan to rebuild.

Susie Keirns has been coming to the Les Cheneaux Islands area her whole life. She’s sitting next to a cabin on the beach in Hessel that her mom stayed in 70 years ago when she was expecting Susie’s sister.

“My sister’s 70 now,” she says. “So that tells you how many years we’ve been coming up.”

Peter Payette

For many families in Michigan, high summer means a trip to the Upper Peninsula. But the number of people who cross the Mackinac Bridge has been declining steadily for almost twenty years.

It looks like that trend could turn around this year. But it also appears that many longstanding ties between visitors and the U.P. have been lost along the way.

Taleen and Marshall Jackson live in Mt. Pleasant but their hearts are in the U.P.

“We try to get up here as much as we possibly can,” says Taleen at the end of a June weekend in St. Ignace.

Alan Newton / NewtonPhotography.us

For more than 30 years, Stone Circle has been a gathering place for poets, storytellers and musicians around the campfire on Saturday nights. Terry Wooten says the event, held at his home north of Elk Rapids, was inspired by his parents.


A pot of money used to clean up abandoned pollution sites in Michigan is just about gone. So in Antrim County, where a plume of contamination threatens drinking water, commissioners recently decided to spend $250,000 on the problem to partially match $750,000 the state offered in return.

It's a deal that could signal a new approach to environmental clean up for the state.

Great Lakes Exploration

The head of underwater archeology in France is still interested in a site in Michigan he visited in 2013, looking for the remains of the Griffin.

Michel L’Hour is listed as the project director in a proposal to the State of Michigan to take wooden samples from beams on the bottom of Lake Michigan. The beams, and other debris, were found off the Garden Peninsula near an area that was excavated two years ago.

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