GRAND MARAIS, Mich. (AP) — A 94-foot tugboat owned by a Minnesota company is stuck in sand and silt along the Lake Superior coast.
Seneca, owned by Zenith Tugboat Co. of Duluth, Minn., is grounded about 20 miles east of Grand Marais.
"It's silting in fast," said Franz VonRiedel, captain of the Susan Hoey, an 88-foot tugboat that had been towing the Seneca last Saturday night when it broke loose in a whirling winter storm
VonRiedel, his crew and ice-crusted vessel sought refuge in the Grand Marais harbor. They headed toward Crisp Point on Monday in search of the Seneca, which was last seen drifting east.
A Coast Guard crew aboard the vessel Alder spotted the Seneca at its current location, about 8 miles west of Crisp Point. The Susan Hoey arrived soon afterward.
"We couldn't get to within five hundred feet of it," VonRiedel said Tuesday. "It's a salvage operation now."
The Seneca, reportedly in fine working order, was stuck in silt about 4 feet deep. It will remain there until a bigger tugboat with a stronger motor is dispatched.
CHASSELL, Mich. (AP) — Business owners in Houghton County's Chassell Township remain frustrated by the lack of a local connection with the Keweenaw Peninsula snowmobile trail network.
Snowmobilers can ride from Baraga north to Chassell, a village at the base of Portage Lake, but the trail dead-ends there.
Another trail running west to Painesdale provides the linkup with routes in the western Keweenaw, but it has been closed for two seasons. That has drastically reduced snowmobile traffic, said Harry Chinnock, owner of The Gaslight Restaurant, Lounge and Cabins in Chassell.
"That Chassell-to-Painesdale (route) was a trail for many years and it hurts the area not to have it out that way," Dave Mattson, president of the Chassell Snowmobile Club, told The Daily Mining Gazette for a Wednesday story.
"For the winter economy of our area, I believe snowmobile tourism is right up there at the top and if Chassell is left out of that, it just hurts all the businesses."
Snowmobiles can glide across Portage Lake when the surface is frozen, but Mattson wants a more reliable route.
A citizens' committee has recommended allowing snowmobiles to use a former railroad bed along U.S. 41 between Chassell and Houghton. But some landowners along the route object, and a lawsuit is pending between them and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
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