The Lake Superior Estuarium

A Gathering Place for Exploration

With support from NOAA and UW-Extension, the Reserve is in the midst of renovating a disused building on Barker’s Island for our new public science and interpretive learning center, The Lake Superior Estuarium, which we expect to open in fall 2017. This new public space will become a destination for residents and tourists alike to learn how ecology and culture can coexist and thrive in the Lake Superior watershed.

The Lake Superior Estuarium will house fun, family-centered exhibits that tell the story of the St. Louis River Estuary, Lake Superior and the communities on their shores. It will also include a well-equipped classroom and meeting space and offices. Exhibits will provide an engaging, intuitive environment that reflects the integration of our communities and Lake Superior ecosystems. The Estuarium will offer a hopeful story of the St. Louis River Estuary and Lake Superior watershed and coasts.


3 Marina Drive
Superior, Wisconsin 54880
Get Directions

Opening Fall 2017

Donations welcome

Construction inside the estuarium
Workers on a lift in the estuarium
Union construction workers outside the estuarium
illustration of the future estuarium

Explore the Estuary

A Local Gem with Global Signficance

The Lake Superior Reserve spans more than 16,000 acres on the Wisconsin side of the confluence of the St. Louis River and Lake Superior—the largest and most pristine of the Great Lakes. The Reserve adjoins the Superior-Duluth harbor, which has been the economic center of the Twin Ports region for over a century and remains the largest freshwater port in the world. The Reserve’s location within the St. Louis River Estuary is important not only because of its proximity to the industry that drives our local economy but because the estuary is deeply connected to the health of the entire region, its ecosystems and human communities.

The Reserve is comprised exclusively of public lands and waters and contains many terrestrial and aquatic habitats in a relatively small area, including riparian and riverine habitat; riverine islands; emergent freshwater marshes, interdunal wetlands and scrub swamp; aspen, dry and hardwood forests; and open sand beach and dunes. Although the Lake Superior Reserve’s technical boundaries lie within a small portion of Wisconsin, our work directly benefits Wisconsin and Minnesota residents in the Twin Ports area and residents and natural communities throughout the Great Lakes.

Public Access Points

Explore on Your Own

The St. Louis River Estuary is a rich, unique and diverse place to explore. From sandy beaches to protected bays valued for bass, walleye and muskie fishing, to the wild Red River Breaks, the river provides a wilderness experience within 10 minutes of the Twin Ports.

These locations are in or near the Reserve boundaries and offer a great introduction to the estuary.

Wisconsin Point and Allouez Bay (wild rice waters- no wake during June and July)
Access to Lake Superior, Wisconsin Point and the mouths of Bear and Bluff creek, as well as the southeastern portion of Park Point in Minnesota.

Pokegama Bay (wild rice waters- no wake during June and July)
This unimproved launch into the Pokegama River provides access to the wilderness-like Pokegama Bay with Clough Island at the mouth, where the river merges with the St. Louis.

Barker’s Island
Barker’s Island offers an improved launch, small beach, public dock, and access to Lake Superior and Superior Bay. Charter fishing operations leave from this location.

Arrowhead Fishing Pier and Boat Launch
This NOAA funded pier on Belnap Avenue in Superior offers great views of the middle estuary and Minnesota hillside.

Barker’s Island
The City of Superior offers free day docking on Superior Bay behind The Lake Superior Estuarium.

Chambers Grove (Fond du Lac neighborhood, Duluth, MN)
Natural stone projects into the water for fishing and launching boats in this newly restored park.

Munger Landing (Riverside neighborhood, Duluth MN)
Munger Landing offers plentiful parking, an improved boat launch, portable restrooms and a fishing dock across the River from Spirit and Clough Islands.

Millennium Trail
A flat, 10-foot wide, out and back blacktop trail through tall pines in the Superior Municipal Forest

Pokegama Trail
Primarily a mountain bike trail, these 6+ miles are designated multi use.

Superior Skiing/Skijoring Trails
The City of Superior grooms 26km of trail for skiing in the Superior Municipal Forest. See the City website for trail locations and call the grooming hotline at (715) 395-7299 before you go.

Western Waterfront Trail (Duluth, MN)
This 5-mile gravel trail hugs the Minnesota shoreline in the upper estuary. Spot birds, wildlife, and even a shipwreck.

Wisconsin Point
The beach at Wisconsin Point offers a panoramic overview of the Wisconsin and Minnesota shoreline.

Ely’s Peak
Access this steep overlook from the Superior Hiking Trail, which runs from Jay Cooke State Park to the Canadian border, on Duluth’s Midway Road


Piping Plover Restoration is Topic for Next River Talk

Oct 31st, 2016, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute - Marie Zhuikov

UWS students lead beach cleanup .pdf

Oct 2nd, 2016, Duluth News Tribune - Aloysia Power

Celebrate National Estuaries Week

Sep 21st, 2016, University of Wisconsin Superior

Rivers2Lake Program receives grant, expands program

Sep 21st, 2016, University of Wisconsin Superior


Live Data

65.5° F

18.6° C

Pokegama Bay

08/23/2017 13:00 (LST)

Wind Speed
1.5mps - 3.4mph
Max Wind Speed
3.9mps - 8.7mph
Wind Dir From
271° To E
Rel Humidity
Bar Pressure
Total PAR
Cum Precip

All Data is property of NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) / National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS)