Ice Breaking Efforts Begin on Great Lakes

Lake Superior News Report

STANDALONE PHOTO -- The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder breaks ice near a windsled Wednesday, April 3, 2013 near the harbor in Bayfield, Wis. on Lake Superior. The Madeline Island ferry plans to resume running on Friday. Most traffic across Lake Superior between Bayfield and Madeline Island is either via the ferry or, in the depths of winter, the ice road. But when the ice is either breaking up or settling into its winter thickness, people can get across only by the wind sled - an enclosed boat-hulled craft with huge fans on the back that push the vehicle across the shifting ice.. The wind sleds are usually in action for 10 to 14 days at the beginning of winter and about a week in the spring, though the duration varies each year. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM
STANDALONE PHOTO -- The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder breaks ice near a windsled Wednesday, April 3, 2013 near the harbor in Bayfield, Wis. on Lake Superior. The Madeline Island ferry plans to resume running on Friday. Most traffic across Lake Superior between Bayfield and Madeline Island is either via the ferry or, in the depths of winter, the ice road. But when the ice is either breaking up or settling into its winter thickness, people can get across only by the wind sled - an enclosed boat-hulled craft with huge fans on the back that push the vehicle across the shifting ice.. The wind sleds are usually in action for 10 to 14 days at the beginning of winter and about a week in the spring, though the duration varies each year. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM

THUNDER BAY – Ice-breaking efforts to open the 2019 Great Lakes Shipping Season are underway. The CCGS Samuel Risley is making its way up the lake to Thunder Bay to begin icebreaking work.

The United States Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw, the Alder, and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Samuel Risley are transiting upbound into Lake Superior through the Sault Locks today.

The Mackinaw and Alder will transit the upper St Marys River, Whitefish Bay and then the ice-covered waters of Lake Superior in route Duluth, Minnesota, to prepare the twin ports for commercial vessel departures. After a crew change, CCGS SAMUEL RISLEY will make her way to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to begin ice-breaking work there.

Although not limited to any specific areas, the three icebreakers joined later by other ice-breaking assets, will focus initial ice-breaking activities on the western Lake Superior ports of Superior, Wisconsin; Duluth, Silver Bay, Taconite Harbor and Two Harbors in Minnesota; and Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The entire effort this year is being called Operation Taconite.

The campaign encompasses Lake Superior, St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac, Georgian Bay, Green Bay, northern Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.