Five years of struggle have not eschewed the controversy over whether to build a “safe harbor” off McQuaid near Duluth in Lake Superior. Although the Duluth City Council has narrowly turned down the proposal, Mayor Gary Doty and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) project proponents continue to push for approval. Recently, the MN DNR renewed an offer to purchase the land for the harbor, but local environmentalists continue adamant opposition to the plan.
Opposition to the project is based upon several factors. First, a survey of existing area boat access sites reveals severe under-usage, suggesting little need for such a major development on Lake Superior’s shore. Also, the proposed area does not contain the natural features necessary to build a safe harbor, making excessive environmental damage (such as initial and repeated dredgings) necessary to complete the project. Studies done in other Great Lakes states have shown that negative environmental and aquatic habitat impacts are inevitable as a result of building, using, and maintaining safe harbors for boats. “In my opinion, projects like this should not even be considered unless a need is first shown”, said Craig Minowa from the Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education. Anyone interested in more information on this issue may contact Craig at email@example.com