DNR sets open house on plans for Eagle Harbor State Harbor in Keweenaw County


EAGLE HARBOR– An open house will be held by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Eagle Harbor later this month to showcase three development concepts being considered to replace aging infrastructure at the state harbor there.

The open house will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the Eagle Harbor community center, located at 8276 M-26 in Eagle Harbor. Parking is limited. Attendees are reminded not to block residential driveways.

“We encourage boaters, day users, and the community to participate along with the general public in this open house session to help shape future development of the harbor,” said Bob Wild, unit supervisor for Fort Wilkins Historic State Park and Eagle Harbor State Harbor. “At this session, participants will be able to learn more about each of the potential development concepts and offer input to the planning process.”

On Aug. 16, three proposed design concepts for the harbor upgrade will be posted at Michigan.gov/DNRPublicInput. After this date, those who are unable to attend the public open house but would like to review the plans and contribute comments, visit this same webpage or the Fort Wilkins Historic State Park headquarters in Copper Harbor.

In the meantime, a DNR Harbor Upgrade Feasibility Study, which investigates the facility’s existing infrastructure and conceptualizes potential development options, is available now.

The Aug. 21 open house kicks off a 15-day public comment period that will run through Sept. 6.

Eagle Harbor is situated off M-26, between Eagle River and Copper Harbor, and features three transient, and three seasonal broad-side, slips with available electric and water utilities. The harbor also includes public restrooms, showers and a popular boating access site on Lake Superior.

Major improvements at the site have been minimal since 1976.

“This planning and design effort is in response to the aging infrastructure at the harbor,” said Eric Cadeau, a DNR regional field planner. “The study of options and review of public comments will provide a template for the development of infrastructure improvements.”

The work involved

The total cost to develop the study of development options was approximately $95,000, funded by the state’s Waterways Program Fund.

“Once the public input process has been completed, the DNR and the State of Michigan Waterways Commission will recommend a prioritized scope of work to be advanced through design and construction.” Cadeau said. “Design of the improvements will extend through the year 2020, with construction of improvements desired to begin in 2021.”

Total planning, design and construction costs are estimated at roughly $825,000. This project is funded through the Michigan State Waterways Fund, a restricted fund derived from boat registration fees and Michigan marine fuel tax for the construction, operation, and maintenance of public recreational boating facilities.

Additional funding is provided through a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Program.


The harbor was originally established as a U.S. Life Saving Station in 1912 and functioned as a U.S. Coast Guard Station from 1915-1950, servicing Lake Superior. The Coast Guard Station included crew quarters, a boat house and observation and radio communication towers. 

The boathouse, constructed in 1939, has been preserved at the site and has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The structure is currently managed by the Keweenaw County Historical Society as a museum celebrating the efforts of Lake Superior lifesavers.

The steel sheet pile seawall was constructed in 1960 with the upland area behind the wall filled to the existing grade. Additional harbor improvements constructed in the 1960s include a harbormaster’s building and electrical, water and sewer utilities.

The facility underwent a second round of improvements in 1976 that included construction of a new, larger boat ramp and expanded parking lot. 

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