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Traverse City is a part of the greater Northern Michigan region. The city is the main inland port of the Grand Traverse Bay—a long, natural harbor separated from the waters of Lake Michigan by the Leelanau Peninsula, and divided longitudinally almost evenly by a narrow peninsula of tiered hillsides and farmland called Old Mission Peninsula.
The most prominent of the city's waterways is the Boardman River. Along with Boardman Lake, the river is part of the Boardman River Watershed. The Boardman’s 287-square-mile (740 km2) watershed contributes one-third of the water volume to the bay and is one of Michigan’s top-ten fisheries, with more than 36 miles (58 km) of its 179 miles (288 km) designated as a Blue Ribbon trout fishery. It is also a state-designated "Natural River".
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.66 square miles (22.43 km2), of which, 8.33 square miles (21.57 km2) of it is land and 0.33 square miles (0.85 km2) is water.
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