McQuade harbor wins national awardThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently received a “Large Access Outstanding Project Award” for the McQuade Public Access and Small Craft Harbor on Lake Superior. The award was presented at the annual States Organization for Boating Access conference in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently received a “Large Access Outstanding Project Award” for the McQuade Public Access and Small Craft Harbor on Lake Superior. The award was presented at the annual States Organization for Boating Access conference in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The McQuade harbor is south of Two Harbors on Highway 61 and McQuade Road. The site has three ramps for boat launching and retrieval, one kayak launch ramp, 54 vehicle-trailer spaces, 23 vehicle-only spaces, and a 3.1-acre harbor, where small craft can seek protection from inclement weather.
The site was designed to have a park-like setting with walkways and benches along the harbor and breakwater, three platforms for fishing, and a restroom facility.
The site was developed by the DNR, in cooperation with St. Louis County, the city of Duluth, Duluth and Lakewood townships, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It’s the type of arrangement expected in Two Harbors as plans gel for a marina in Agate Bay.
Future plans call for a seven-acre safe harbor and marina, and a crib dock to provide additional protection for the launch area.
A volunteer group known as the McQuade Public Access Committee was instrumental in making that facility a success by assisting the DNR with project implementation and more than 16 years of support. The USFWS Boating Infrastructure Grant Program will provide two boat tie-up docks for the site.
The SOBA award committee judged the facility on specific criteria including sound engineering principles, innovative design, safety, and accessibility.
Several challenges unique to the location had to be overcome during the construction process. Scenic Highway 61 was realigned in order to install a bridge and pedestrian tunnel under the highway to allow safe access from the parking area to the launch ramps and harbor area.
Key elements of the award-winning design of the McQuade harbor include:
- Rock blasted to create the harbor was used to line the harbor basin as riprap and form one acre of new land.
- Breakwaters were designed to be low in height for unimpeded lake visibility.
- All stone materials used in the breakwaters consisted of either salvaged rock from road construction or low-grade by-products from a local ore mine.
- Renewable energy is provided by a solar panel that offsets much of the power used for the restrooms and lighting.
- The site, including walkways, a fishing platform, and restrooms, is also fully accessible.
- SOBA has members from almost all 50 states and works to promote the acquisition, development, and administration of public recreational boating facilities nationwide.
For more information, go to www.sobaus.org.
- For more information about Minnesota’s public water accesses and the Lake Superior Small Craft Harbor Program, including information on the Two harbors project, visit www.mndnr.gov/wateraccess or call 888-MINNDNR (646-6367).