Voyageur Island

A unique spot to visit and a great location for paddling is located on the east side of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan near Rotary Park.  It is a small island just off the mainland that has been improved in the last couple years for more accessibility called Voyageur Island (aka Island #2).  It is part of a three island chain that was donated to the City of Sault Ste. Marie.  Previous use of the islands was for recreational cottages.  The islands lie along the southern river bank edge of the St. Marys River approximately 2.5 miles southeast of the Soo Locks.

Aerial Photo of Voyageur Island, SSM, MI. Photo Credit: Seward’s Photography

One of the wildlife viewing platforms built. Photo Credit: D. Dougherty

Starting in 2016, a large group of volunteers improved access to the Island, tore down and removed debris from a couple of old cottages that had rotted away, designed and brush cut  a trail system around the perimeter and interior of the Island.

Under the coordination of Volunteer Leader Dennis Dougherty, the volunteers completed accessible docks, boardwalk pathways with wildlife viewing platforms, and a compost toilet.

Accessible dock at Voyageur Island, SSM, MI. Photo Credit: D. Dougherty




Composting toilet facility on Voyageur Island. Photo Credit: D. Dougherty

Paddling is pretty easy between the mainland and little islands with shallow water and some protection from the current.  Around the perimeter of the island, the swift current of the St. Marys River and freighters in the shipping channel can change the paddling skill level to intermediate/advanced.  Always be safe and wear a PFD, stay clear of the freighters path, and be prepared for any of the ships wakes.  Park and launch either at Rotary Park or Harvey Marina.

Consider bringing a picnic and spending a fun day paddling and hiking in this wonderful, unique, diverse ecosystem.  Bring a camera for the wildlife.  You may be lucky enough to view activities from the local beaver and there are many birds to watch.

Photo Credit: E. Benoit

Shipwreck remains in Lower St. Marys River. Photo Credit: E. Benoit


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A Great Blue Heron hanging out at Rotary Park. Photo Credit: E. Benoit

Financial assistance for this project was provided, in part, by the Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program, Office of the Great Lakes, Department of Environmental Quality, under the National Coastal Zone Management Program, through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

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