2 City (1990 pop. 46,042), Kalamazoo co., SW Mich.; inc. 1963. There is printing, tool and die manufacture, and motor vehicle assembly. Other manufactures include metal and plastic products and chemicals.
3 City (1990 pop. 8,640), seat of Columbia co., central Wis.; inc. 1854. In 1673, Louis Jolliet and Father Marquette were the first Europeans to use the important portage link in the water route from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi. The path has become a ship canal, and the city is an agricultural trade center with some light manufacturing industry. Part of Fort Winnebago (1828) has been restored as a museum. Zona Gale and Frederick Jackson Turner were born in Portage.
Historic site, northeastern corner of Minnesota, U.S. Located on Lake Superior near the Canadian border, it was designated a national historic site in 1951 and a national monument in 1958. It covers a 9-mi (14-km) overland trail from Lake Superior's northern shore that bypassed the obstacles to early canoe travel. Used by early explorers, the portage marked the end of travel on the Great Lakes and the beginning of the interior river route. The portage trail now bisects the reservation of the Grand Portage tribe of the Minnesota Chippewa Indians.
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Portage refers to the practice of carrying a canoe or other boat over land to avoid an obstacle on the water route (such as rapids or a waterfall in a river), or between two bodies of water (such as over an isthmus). A place where this carrying occurs is also called a portage, while a person doing the carrying is called a porter.
Over time, depending on the importance of the portages, they were sometimes upgraded to canals with locks, and even portage railways. Portaging generally required unloading the vessel and carrying vessel and contents across the portage in multiple trips. Voyageurs would often employ a tump line on their head to carry a load armfree on their back. Small canoes can be portaged by carrying them inverted over one's shoulders and the center thwart may be designed in the style of a yoke to facilitate this.
Portages can range in length from dozens of meters to many kilometers in length (the famous 19 km Methye Portage being a good example), and often cover hilly or difficult terrain. Most portages are the result of elevation changes, either changes in elevation from one body of water to another, or changes in elevation of the land in between. This results in most portages involving some measure of climbing or descending. However some, such as Mavis Grind in Shetland exist on an Isthmus where it is easier or safer to transport a boat over-land than round it. In these cases the climbing or descending required is often minimal.
In the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries, the Viking merchants-adventurers exploited a network of waterways in Eastern Europe, with portages connecting the four most important rivers of the region: Volga, Western Dvina, Dnieper, and Don. The portages of present-day Russia were vital for the Varangian commerce with the Orient and Byzantium.
At the most important portages (such as Gnezdovo) there were trade outposts inhabited by a mixture of Norse merchants and native population. The Khazars built the fortress of Sarkel to guard a key portage between the Volga and the Don. After the Varangian and Khazar power in Eastern Europe waned, Slavic merchants continued to use the portages along the Volga trade route and the Dnieper trade route. The names of the towns Volokolamsk and Vyshny Volochek may be translated as "the portage on the Lama River" and "the upper portage", respectively (the word "volok" means "portage" in Russian, derived from the verb "to drag").
Portages existed in a number of locations where an isthmus existed that the local Māori could drag of carry their waka across from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean or vice versa. The most famous ones are located in Auckland, where there remain two 'Portage Road's in separate parts of the city.