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Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Reopening of Wisconsin Point to Public

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: September 20, 2019 07:45 PM

A ribbon cutting celebrated the reopening and restoration of the Wisconsin Point, a valuable and historical 228 acre peninsula filled with majestic views of nature.

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"It provides one of the most pristine beach shoreline access points to the entire state of Wisconsin along the Lake Superior shores," said Heather Stirrat, The NOAA Great Lakes regional lead for the Office of Coastal Management.

The Wisconsin Point has a rich history as a sacred Chippewa burial ground and being the home of the Superior entry lighthouse. An opening ceremony by the Bad River Singers kicked off the celebration. City officials and chamber ambassadors were at the ceremony. As well as members of the Fond du Lac of Lake Superior Chippewa and NOAA. 

Human use took a toll on the sensitive dune and forest ecosystems on the point. 

"People would just walk and haul their gear and coolers right over the dunes, causing heavy damage and erosion to this unique space," said Superior Mayor Jim Paine.

The $1.5 million project to restore Wisconsin Point was focused on the goal to preserve the dunes and coastal habitat. The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program received Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants from NOAA's Office of Coastal Management to restore it. 

"We must be better to our state's land and water and all of our natural resources. We must do everything we can to protect our waterways and rivers," said Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

Removing invasive species, stabilizing shorelines, protecting medicinal plants, planting native species, and decreasing sights of human disturbance were several things done to improve the point.

Other improvements included changing the parking and beach access.

"We're limiting the amount of places people can get into the point while improving parking spaces so more people can use fewer amounts of spaces," said Paine.

"We removed 14 of those 20 turnouts and made the remaining turnouts large and more accessible," said Stirrat.

Boardwalks were added to make it an accessible place for people of all abilities to visit and take in the breathtaking views.

"We'd love to see additional economic and tourism value come from this restoration we're really excited about that," said Stirrat.

Bathrooms and garbage and recycling bins were added as well to keep the area clean. 

The restoration was a dedicated effort to keep one of the largest freshwater sandbars a respected and special place that community members will visit and enjoy for years to come.

"The people of Superior and visitors can experience it so everything you're seeing here is about improving that use," said Paine.

The project covered over 85,000 square feet of habitat and shoreline, 85 acres of forest, and 150 acres of sensitive coastal habitat.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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