Improvements at The Point considered
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people per day visit Artists Point during the busy summer season. Visitors are drawn to the Point to enjoy the view, explore shoreline rocks, experience its small forest, observe wildlife, and absorb the sights and sounds of this natural Lake Superior setting.
Few of the visitors know, however, that the area in Grand Marais known as Artists Point is actually part of the Superior National Forest.
The Point includes a well-defined and dense network of unmaintained user trails in its small forest. Soil erosion, soil compaction, root exposure, and vegetation trampling is abundant. Due to poor drainage and the natural topography of the peninsula, there are puddles and large muddy areas in the forested portion of Artists Point during the summer months. Poor access, water obstacles, and fallen trees impede easy access to the area by visitors, leading to the expansion of user trails and additional impacts.
The Superior National Forest is working to manage recreational use of Artists Point to improve visitors’ experiences at the site and protect natural resources. Beginning soon, a three-phase plan to improve the area will begin; plans call for completion by next spring.
The plan includes:
• Development of a trail through the interior of the forested portion of Artists Point with spur trails to access points of interest. A developed trail will provide safer and drier access to both sides of the Point.
• Replacement of the existing steps going up to the breakwater. New steps will be better designed, safer to use, and include even step height. The Army Corps of Engineers also plans to repair the handrail going out to the lighthouse.
• Replacement of the existing bulletin board at trailhead with a Superior National Forest kiosk welcoming visitors to Artists Point. It will include natural and cultural history interpretive information.
If you have questions or would like to help with implementation of this project, contact Gunflint Ranger District in Grand Marais at 387-1750.