The U.S. Coast Guard plans to close its North Superior Station in Grand Marais before next summer.
Lt. Paul Rhynard, the regional spokesperson for the Coast Guard's Great Lakes Region, told Bring Me The News Thursday the plan is to consolidate the North Superior station with its Duluth station "sometime before the 2022 summer season."
The North Superior Station is a seasonal station with an area of responsibility that stretches from Taconite Harbor near Schroeder to the Canadian border, including Isle Royal.
The station is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and has averaged about one case per year over the past 10 years, Rhynard said.
The station is staffed by crew members from the Duluth Station, who rotate in and out about once a week, with typically no more than four crew members in Grand Marais at one time, he added. The North Superior Station has a single small boat that's brought from Duluth at the beginning of the summer with the first crew rotation.
This consolidation means the North Superior Station, which has a prime location on Artist Point on Grand Marais Harbor, could eventually be used by the local community.
Rhynard said in the short term, the property is going to be placed in caretaker status and they'll conduct an environmental assessment.
"The Coast Guard will then determine what the best course of action for the property is with the goal of divesting the property possibly for use by the local community or other government agencies," Rhynard said.
According to MNOpedia, the Coast Guard opened the Grand Marais station in 1929, and crews have rescued hundreds of fishermen and boaters from the lake in the years since. However, the need for a fully manned station in Grand Marais has declined in recent decades as faster rescue boats were built.
The North Superior Station and the Duluth Station are the only two U.S. Coast Guard stations in Minnesota and are among the five stations on Lake Superior. The Duluth Station's coverage area stretches from Two Harbors to Port Wing, Wisconsin.