State News

Gallery: Ice show draws photographers and gawkers to the jammed St. Clair River

February 08, 2021, 7:29 PM by  Alan Stamm

A Canadian buoy tender, the Samuel Risley, carves through the blockage this weekend. Eight more scenes are below. (Photo: Instagram/Jennifer Terhune)

Outdoor scenes nearly as captivating as some on National Geographic or the PBS "Nature" series unfold daily along the ice-clogged St. Clair River between Port Huron and Algonac.

Residents and visitors watch American and Canadian ice breakers clear channels for freighters heading from Lake Huron to Lake Erie, amid a creaking, groaning, crunching soundtrack. Marine City Park at the foot of Pearl Street provides a prime vantage for photographers and zipped-up tourists. (A livecam "freighter watch" is here for armchair gawkers, or as motivation to drive up.)

Nature vs. Marine City Park deck looks like a mismatch. (Photo: Instagram/Lori Hannon)

"This could be Alaska or something," young Macomb resident Daniel Goigorea tells Fox 2's Camille Amiri in the two-minute video below. 

Others come with binoculars and look up as much as at the ice. "More ice = more ducks = more bald eagle sightings," posts an environmental nonprofit, Friends of the St. Clair River. "Waterfowl flock to open water to find food as Lake Huron becomes frozen over. The river is still flowing under all that ice, which attracts more waterfowl for bird-watching opportunities. We’re hearing reports of dozens of eagle sightings along the 40-mile St. Clair River -- theree, four, even eight at a time."

The spectacle that entertains some spectators also brought problems before a U.S. Coast Guard cutter from Detroit, the Bristol Bay, began working last Thursday to restore the river's flow. "Some neighborhoods from Algonac to Port Huron are covered in sheets of ice," WXYZ reported Saturday. "Some homes filled with freezing cold water." 

The Coast Guard also is sending a cutter from St. Ignace and one from Cleveland. The ice gets broken up so it can flow downriver and not pile up along shorelines.

Scenes below from this weekend and late last week are shared on Instagram by Jennifer Terhune of Cottrellville Township and Lori Hannon, a St. Clair Middle School art teacher in the East China School District. "I feel fortunate to have these daily views," Hannon posts at her website, where the Wayne State graduate offers wall art prints.

Rachel Wilson and James Durow of Marine City also snapped one each.

Sunrise from Algonac on Sunday. (Photo: Lori Hannon)

The 140-foot cutter Bristol Bay is based at Belle Isle in Detroit. (Photo: Jennifer Terhune) 

A risky winter playground for local youngsters at Marine City Beach. (Photo: Facebook/James Durow)

Crunchy Sunday view from Marine City. (Photo: Instagram/Rachel Wilson)

A 70-year-old tugboat, the Maniutou, churns through the icy channel. (Photo: Lori Hannon)
Freighter wakes and heavy ice chunks have hammered this Algonac dock. (Photo: Lori Hannon) 
Winter sunrise over the Great Lakes waterway. (Photo: Jen Terhune)

Fox 2 coverage:


Leave a Comment:

Photo Of The Day