Photo of Park Point Boat Launch in Minnesota

Weekly Gem #110 A man walked onto a bar ...

Published 3/19/2017

Location:  This 'hidden gem' is located on Minnesota Point - a very long and narrow spit of land strung between Duluth's famous lift bridge and Wisconsin, and which separates Lake Superior from Superior Bay and Superior, WI (see the Clue Me! Map).  From this boat ramp, you can indeed reach the ocean, traveling solely by water. 

Minnesota Point was called Onigamiinsing (meaning: 'at the little portage') by the Ojibwe because it was a short portage across the Point to get from Gichigami (Lake Superior) to Gichigami-ziibi (the St. Louis River). The portage was called “little” because it is only about 500 feet, compared to Grand Portage between Lake Superior and the Pigeon River which is 9 miles! This 500 foot walk to carry the canoes saved about 14 miles of paddling to get from Lake Superior's North Shore to the St. Louis River.

Minnesota Point is a sandbar; one of the longest naturally formed freshwater sandbars in the world. It is formed as the sediment flowing out of the St. Louis River runs into the incoming waves of Lake Superior. A few thousand years worth of sediment delivery and wave action created this sandbar, which is almost ten miles long and a tenth of a mile wide.

It became an island in 1871 when a canal was dug between Lake Superior and Superior Bay to allow easier ship traffic. It wasn't until 1905 that the lift bridge was built, connecting Duluth to the sandbar once again.

The approximately 1,500 people living on the sandbar call it getting “bridged” when they are stuck waiting for a ship to pass under the lift bridge. Locals were surveyed. Among the things they (and you) might do while bridged? Double checking travel supplies (especially if heading to Stockholm), tidying up the car, reviewing Grog's Index of Boating knots, … and even catching up on overlooked dental hygiene (everyone has dental floss in the car, right?).


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


Next stop, Stockholm!


Park Point Boat Launch

Why It's Interesting

This public access boat launch is an ideal place to embark on your European vacation. It's just a hop, skip and a jump (2,345 miles) from Duluth to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway, and from there the world is your oyster!

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