After three years of work, Wisconsin Point will be fully open to the public Friday.
Updates to the 228-acre peninsula include coastal habitat restoration and improvements to beach access, bathrooms and parking — all of which make the point more accessible, said Linda Cadotte, director of parks, recreation and forest for the city of Superior.
Planning started in 2012 when an area management plan was finalized, which laid out needed projects and updates to the point, Cadotte said. The point remained open throughout the resulting work, but areas of it would close when work was underway.
Work included renovations to make the lakefront access compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Cadotte said she's hearing positive feedback.
"They couldn't be happier to get over the dunes and see the lake," she said. It's "pretty spectacular in that respect."
Wisconsin's Coastal Management Program received more than $1.5 million in grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to restore the point. Working with the city of Superior, the program restored over 85,000 square feet of habitat and shoreline, 85 acres of forest and 150 acres of sensitive coastal habitat, the news release read.
“This is one of the largest freshwater sandbars in the world providing a significant stretch of public access for residents in the state of Wisconsin and beyond. It will allow thousands of visitors to experience Lake Superior every year,” Jeff Payne, director of NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, said in the release.
Local leaders also worked with the Fond du Lac Band and other bands of Lake Superior Chippewa to maintain the culturally significant lands. Some of this work included stabilizing shorelines, removing invasive species, protecting medicinal plants, planting native species, restoring dunes and decreasing sites of human disturbance, the release read.
Cadotte said the public is invited to the ribbon-cutting event at the lighthouse parking lot Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will be held at the Lake Superior Estuarium if there's bad weather.
The project was delayed over the summer when fireworks damaged portions of the new boardwalk and people disrespected the area by ignoring signs and trampling new vegetation.