Monday, March 7, 2011

Grand Marais Bay Photos

At the request of some locals, I was asked to take photos from the south side of the bay. I'll get into the reason in a minute. First, here are a couple of shots of the bay and the lighthouses from the south side. The ice accumulation has been encouraged by the high winds we have had as of late.

While walking along the south side of the bay, I cam across this wooden walk-way -- at least it used to be. There is so much sand accumulating on the south side of the bay that this former walk-way now looks more like a table.

Some of the locals monitor the ice to check where and when it is thick enough for dragging their ice shanties out into the bay. The place varies from year to year, but this year they are in the southeast corner. We have had some very cold nights lately so at this point the ice seems solid. I would like to advise visiting snowmobilers that it IS NOT SAFE to drive your sleds across the bay, even if it looks like it might be.

The reason why I was snowshoeing on the south side of the bay is that local residents asked me to document the path that snowmobilers are taking. We realize that many do not like taking the trail around town, nor do they like driving on H-58 East given the minimal snow along the road and all the driveways, but it is not legal to drive on private property along the bay. Because of the ice, many are driving up near the houses along the dune. In some cases there are hidden boulders and other landscaping items that the snowmobilers can hit. This is a major problem since the sleds are driving within a few dozen feet of the houses. Not only are these snowmobilers trespassing, but they are endangering local residents, their pets, as well as themselves. Plus they are damaging the fragile dune grass that helps try to hold the sand in place. They are also driving sleds across fragile wetlands. As spring approaches, this situation could even get worse. Years ago I remember when one sled went through the ice of one of the creeks and the snowmobiler was severely injured when his face hit the ledge of ice. If you or anyone you know is driving their sleds around the south side of the bay, please refrain from doing so and use the legal trails and/or roads.

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