Discover point beachThey’re back.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
They’re back. For the second time in a month, Discover Wisconsin film crews turned their lenses on Douglas County. Wednesday, Wisconsin Point beach got a close-up.
“We’re looking for unique and diverse beaches throughout Wisconsin,” said producer A.J. Marz. From the old New England look of Egg Harbor to the wild stretches of Wisconsin Point. The Superior beach was the fourth of eight to be filmed for the show, which airs April 19-20.
“Each place is different so we’re able to capture what we need,” Marz said.
“It tells its own story,” said Discover Wisconsin co-host Mariah Haberman.
What is Wisconsin Point’s tale?
“There are two unique things that are happening here,” Marz said. “There’s the port of entry and then there’s also piping plover reintroduction.”
Wisconsin Point is a 229-acre peninsula that, with its twin, Minnesota Point, makes up the largest freshwater sandbar in the world. It is an important bird habitat brimming with wildlife abutting Allouez Bay, the largest freshwater marsh in the Great Lakes.
The Superior Entry, the only natural opening through the twin sandbars, was charted in 1861 and the first ore shipped from the Mesabi Iron Range passed through it in 1893.
Wednesday, the film crew caught footage of powerboats zipping in and out of the entry and tested how close they could get to a flock of seagulls on the pier
A five-year local effort is underway to reintroduce the piping plover, one of Wisconsin’s most endangered birds, funded by a federal grant and headed by the St. Louis River Alliance. The last time the small shorebirds nested in the Superior area was in the mid-70s, according to Ted Koehler, biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The last nest observed was on Wisconsin Point. It’s important to bring them back, he said, because they are part of the natural ecosystem.
The five-year grant pays for monitoring and outreach efforts, and the annual installation of a grid on Shaffer Beach just outside of Superior.
“To this date, no nesting piping plovers have been observed or spotted,” said Julene Boe, executive director of the St. Louis River Alliance, but four swung through the area last year — three on the Wisconsin side, one on the Minnesota side.
“If we can improve the habitat and improve public input on this … we’re hoping they will come and they will nest,” Boe said. One of the biggest threats to the birds’ nesting sites, said Boe and Koehler, is unleashed dogs at the beach.
The Discover Wisconsin crew picked a beautiful day to film, said Mary Morgan, Parks and Recreation Administrator for Superior, with warm weather and families out for a swim.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to show viewers of Discover Wisconsin statewide that we have this beautiful gem in Superior that they may want to visit,” Morgan said.
Discover Wisconsin, the nation’s longest running tourism TV show, will undergo some changes this year.
Four co-hosts anchor the segments. With more hosts and crews, Haberman said, they can reach more areas of the state.
“Since I’ve had this job, it’s reminded me of how much I haven’t seen of this state,” she said. “It’s really exciting to see why people love this area so much, and they have every reason to, because it’s amazing.”
Discover Wisconsin Producer Casey Liddicoat was in southern Douglas County earlier this month, filming segments for a show on state ATV trails. He plans to return this winter for snowy trail and ice fishing shots.
“I think one of the things that makes our show easy to produce is that the people, especially up here, are willing to bend over backwards to help in any way they can,” he said.
Discover Wisconsin airs locally at 5:30 p.m. Sundays on WDIO/WIRT and 10 a.m. Saturdays on the Comcast Sports Network. Episodes and bonus footage can be accessed at www.discoverwisconsin.com.