The United States Coast Guard has announced the start of the spring ice-breaking operations on Lake Superior.

The 225-foot cutter Alder will depart its mooring in Duluth on Wednesday to prepare for this year's shipping season. Alder will then fracture ice through the Duluth and Superior harbors before heading north to clear ice from Two Harbors, Silver Bay and Taconite Harbor, according to a news release from the Coast Guard.

The ice-breaking operation will eventually reach Chequamegon Bay, Thunder Bay and possibly the west end of Keweenaw Waterway. The Coast Guard will issue public notices when it reaches those areas.

Ice-breaking activity can weaken ice far beyond the cutter's path, the release read. The Coast Guard asks those who recreate on the ice, particularly ice anglers and snowmobilers, to use caution on the ice and stay away from shipping channels.

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