Coast Guard finalizes plan to close Grand Marais station

The four-person seasonal crew responded to less than one call per year over the last decade.

Coast Guard building in Grand Marais
The Coast Guard building along the Grand Marais Harbor reflects the warm tones of a January sunrise.
(Clint Austin / 2018 file / News Tribune)
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GRAND MARAIS — After nearly 100 years, the U.S. Coast Guard is closing its station in Grand Marais, finalizing a plan it made public last year.

The station will be "consolidated" with the larger Duluth station, the Coast Guard announced in a news release Thursday. As the News Tribune reported last year , the Grand Marais station was staffed only in the summer months by four people and a boat from its "parent unit" in Duluth and responded to less than one call per year.

It's one of two such Coast Guard station consolidations on the Great Lakes. The other, on Lake Michigan, will mean the closure of the Holland, Michigan station and its consolidation with the Grand Haven, Michigan station.

“We would not consolidate these stations if we thought it would increase the risk to boaters or the maritime industry,” said Lt. Paul Rhynard, public affairs officer for the Ninth Coast Guard District said in the release. “This decision was made after careful research and with the safety of the public as our top priority. Modern boats, aircraft and strong partnerships with other search-and-rescue agencies allow us to eliminate redundancies and ensure the best use of limited resources.”

Grand Marais' Coast Guard station, called the Station (Small) North Superior, was established in 1928 and has been staffed on a seasonal basis since 1988. It sits on Artist Point near the walkway to the Grand Marais Lighthouse. According to the Coast Guard's website, it's responsible for the area of the lake from Taconite Harbor to the border with Canada, including Isle Royale.

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