All ice isn’t created equal.

That’s especially true when we’re talking about the ice that has begun accumulating along the Lake Michigan shoreline in recent weeks. This winter has been unusually warm until February, and it appears there is no hope West Grand Traverse Bay will freeze solid this year.

But that doesn’t mean some interesting ice formations haven’t or won’t collect along beaches in the region.

We’ve become increasingly concerned with photos we peeked in recent days of winter wanderers who decided to step out onto that shelf ice for a better look or a daring selfie. Make no mistake, those steps out onto the shelf ice are horribly dangerous.

No ice is safe ice — experts remind us with that mantra every year.

And while inland lakes have solidified into stable, solid ice in many places, the mountains of ice chunks pressed up against big lake beaches can be deadly. Those shelves can appear solid, but often are peppered with thin patches where “ice volcanoes” form above moving water.

Dave Benjamin, executive director of the nonprofit Great Lakes Surf Rescue project, warns once someone falls through shelf ice, it can be nearly impossible to escape.

We, like just about everyone who chooses to call northern Michigan home, can appreciate the beauty of the wintry Lake Michigan shoreline. And many of us recall years when frigid weather has allowed us to take a stroll out onto the big lake ice.

But this year we implore our neighbors to observe ice mountains, ice caves and ice volcanoes along our beaches from a safe distance.

Because this year, a stunning picture on the ice could cost your life.

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