DNR: Port Austin State Harbor partially closed for renovations

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that, due to renovations, the Port Austin State Harbor in Huron County will temporarily close for the 2012 season. A limited number of slips on the West Dock will be available for transient boaters only.

Construction is under way for the second phase of a three-phase renovation project that began in 2010. This phase of renovation is expected to be completed in December 2012. Funding for this project is generated from the Michigan State Waterways Fund. Waterways funding is derived from boat registrations, marine fuel taxes and user fees, and is, by law, restricted to uses related to land acquisition, development, operation and maintenance of recreational boating facilities. No funding for this project comes from the state’s general fund.

This phase of the renovation project includes the removal of the fixed piers on the East Dock, installation of floating docks and upgraded services, rebuilding of sheet piling on the East Dock, complete overhaul of the fuel and sanitation systems, demolition and replacement of the public restroom building, and dredging a portion of the harbor.

For the duration of the project, the closures will include the boat ramp, the East Dock slips, a portion of the West Dock slips, the fuel and sanitation system and the public restroom building. For information on availability, contact the harbor directly at 989-738-8712.

Alternative boat launching sites for smaller craft are available at the neighboring Port Austin Marina located at 119 E. Spring St. in Port Austin. Contact Chris Boyle at 989-551-1311 for facility information. The Grindstone City boat access site is expected to be available for the Memorial Day holiday weekend and through the remainder of the 2012 boating season.

The DNR Parks and Recreation Division has collaborated with the Village of Port Austin on the renovation plans. We apologize for the inconvenience, but the new renovations will make Port Austin a prime boating destination.

Port Austin Harbor management is located at 6573 State Park Road in Caseville. For more information, contact Kim Kaufmann or Rob Hamilton at 989-856-4411.

The Recreation Passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan. By checking “YES” for the $10 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at www.expresssos.com or at branch offices), Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, nonmotorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches. In addition, Recreation Passport holders can enjoy real savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program. The Recreation Passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) at any state park or recreation area or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.

Learn more about this creative way of sustaining Michigan's outdoor recreation and natural resources at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport. For information on Passport Perks shopping discounts or how businesses and retailers can enroll in the program, visit www.michigan.gov/passportperks.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.