Officials and Tribal Groups Restore Wisconsin Point

The Takeaway: This revitalized Lake Superior peninsula—a win for cultural, ecological, and recreational reasons—was made possible by $1.5 million in grants administered by Wisconsin’s coastal zone management program.

The Wisconsin Point peninsula along Lake Superior is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and a living heritage site for the descendants of its Native American settlers. Following three years of work, much of it led by tribal groups, the point’s restored areas cover an acre of dunes, 85 acres of forest, and 150 acres of sensitive coastal habitat. Also, the lakefront, parking, and bathrooms now comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The City of Superior led the project in partnership with the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, and NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management provided $1.5 million in funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The Ojibwe people inhabited Wisconsin Point as early as the 1740s, and their villages thrived for more than a century. Restoration by today’s tribal members involved removing invasive species and replanting native vegetation, such as traditional medicinal plants.

The 228-acre peninsula features one of the largest freshwater sandbars in the world, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers it a critical habitat area for the piping plover, a small tan and white bird that is federally endangered. Several beach areas were widened and re-sloped to attract more of the species.

Wisconsin Point is treasured by walkers, swimmers, hunters, and bird watchers. The Superior Entry Lighthouse, at the peninsula’s tip, is one of the most-visited and most-photographed sights along Lake Superior. This completed project marks an important step forward in the environmental cleanup and restoration of the larger St. Louis River Estuary, a federal Great Lakes Area of Concern. (2020)

More Information: Wisconsin Point Pristine Again

Partners: City of Superior, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources