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Manitowoc Small Boat Harbor

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Features

  1. Fishing
  2. Picnicking
  3. Restrooms
General Information
Manitowoc's Small Boat Harbor is classified as a special use facility serving the recreational boating needs of the residents and non-residents of the area.

Blue Rail Park Map
Blue Rail Park Beach Map

Additional Amenities & Facilities
The harbor's current facilities include breakwater structures, a confined disposal facility, a travel hoist, 233 slips / 17 full swing moors, a parking stall, restroom facilities, a fish cleaning station, a six-lane launch ramp, a fuel dock, a marina administration building, a repair building, a ship store, charter fishing, shoreline and pier fishing, a boat storage facility, Paws & Play Dog Park, picnic tables, park benches, Mariners Trail, and a sanitary disposal station.

Lakeshore Birding Area
The Lakeshore Birding Area, which includes Lake Michigan, the harbor, containment, and bluff areas, is one of Wisconsin's best birdwatching hotspots.  In April of 2017, this area was named in honor of Charles Sontag.

The Manitowoc Containment Facility or CDF is a man-made structure designed to hold material excavated during harbor dredging activities.  Because it is essentially an island and lies along the Lake Michigan shore, an important migratory route for many species of birds, it is an important stopover area for many of them.  More than 300 species of birds have been recorded here - some nesting, others feeding or resting during migration.  While at the Lakeshore Birding Area, you may see waterfowl, pelicans, gulls, terns, songbirds, hawks, falcons, eagles, osprey, wading and marsh birds, and shorebirds.

Starting in the fall of 2016 and continuing into the fall of 2019, a cooperative project to improve the quality of habitat for songbirds and people who use the CDF for recreation is being done by the City of Manitowoc and Woodland Dunes Nature Center with support from the U.S. Dept. of Interior - Fish & Wildlife Services, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership.  The scope of the projects consists of the addition of 2.17 acres of wildlife habitat, an 875' walking trail, and the control of 8.1 acres of invasive and undesirable species that are currently serving as a seed source to adjacent coastal areas.  The partners will be planting native shrubs and trees along with a native seed mix that includes a diverse mix of nectar producing forbs, constructing a walking trail with interpretive signage through the new pollinator planting, and growing and strengthening partnerships between local conservation partners and community members.

In 2017, the Woodland Dunes staff installed purple martin birdhouses at the CDF.  Martins enjoy visiting the area, and the birdhouses will encourage them to nest in the area.  Martins are beneficial to the area, because they eat lots of mosquitoes and flies. Click 
here for a link to a video about purple martins by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology or here for a link to Cornell University's online bird guide about purple martins.

CDF Wildlife Enhancement Project Sign