August 1st, 2009 @ 18:24:30 | Share your thoughts!
Before you start getting your hopes up, I’ll warn you that this isn’t going to be the beach that blows your mind away. It is, however, the most interesting beach posted to date. This was the second beach of my tour, 26 (ish) miles South of Houghton on US-41, and a mere stone-skip from Baraga. Getting to this beach is a little tricky if you’re from out-of-town, but any local would know the way. For beaches in the Baraga area, Sand Point is arguably the most popular.
To get to the beach, take Lighthouse Road which is less than a mile North of downtown Baraga on US-41. This land is owned by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), who maintains a campground that includes some nice spots along the beach but are mostly spread throughout a Red-Pine forest. The road heads East toward the lake, and is immediately South of the cemetery. Lighthouse Road splits shortly, but either path will head to the water. Aside from the campground, the KBIC property also features a Pow-Wow Arena, Archaeological Site, Wild Rice Beds, Fish Ponds, Water-Cross Pond, Sand Point Lighthouse, a small Marina, and the beach itself. I’m unsure actually if the rice beds are still in use, or if the fish ponds are still stocked…
The beach itself is actually quite extensive, although the beach-sand portion is exclusive to the southern end. Actually, the northern beach comprises most of the length, but is much less interesting and has been the unfortunate deposit site of large amounts of stamp sand carried South by Lake Superior currents. A Copper Stamp Mill in Keweenaw Bay operated from 1902 – 1919 and generated an estimated 6 billion pounds of stamp sand deposited into the bay. The beach is quite large with lots of room for activity. In fact, it’s a particularly good location for flying kites. There is also a pond used for the Baraga Watercross, which was canceled in recent years (I believe).
Dividing the North and South beaches is an inlet to a small pond. Just South of the inlet is the lighthouse, which began operation in 1878 and was moved closer to shore in the 1890’s. It is no longer in operation, trees have grown up around it, and an automated light now sits out at the beach. South of the inlet, the beach is sandy. Check out the Lake Superior Shoreline Viewer at SuperiorWatersheds. The beach is actually quite nice, especially further South toward the marina. The sand is great, and the swimming is good, although it’s not typically warm swimming due to the currents streaming through. I took these pictures just on the South side of the inlet, North of the automated shore-light.