Little Sand Bay Proposed Marina Plan

Proposed Town Marina at LSB

This memorandum describes the proposed improvements at Little Sand Bay Marina in the Town of 
Russell, Wisconsin.

The existing harbor is jointly owned and operated with the National Park Service, which uses the 
harbor as a base of operations for maintaining NPS facilities throughout the Apostle Islands. The 
existing docks and breakwater structures along the west side of the facility are owned and 
maintained by NPS, while the boat ramp and eastern breakwater are operated and maintained by the 
Town of Russell. The Town and NPS work together in a collaborative effort to provide the most cost 
effective and beneficial amenities to the public.

The purpose of this concept planning effort is to explore the potential expansion of the harbor to 
both address existing functional issues within the harbor and expand the facility to offer more 
boating and park facilities for the public. The primary issues within the existing harbor include 
the following:
• The existing crib structures allow sand and other materials to enter the harbor through littoral 
drift action.
• The existing alignment of the breakwater structures allow wave energy from the NE direction to 
enter the harbor.
• While the primary prevailing wind direction appears to be from the NW direction, the shape of the 
shoreline in this area suggests that littoral movement of sediments are driven from the NE. This is 
likely due to diffraction of the NW arriving waves bending the waves to approach the shore from an 
“apparent” NE direction. This is qualitatively consistent with the need for increased wave 
protection from the NE.
• The accumulation of sediments creates the need for more frequent dredging operations, at 
significant cost.
• There is insufficient capacity for recreational boaters to moor seasonally or as transients, and 
the existing harbor requires expansion and greater protection from waves to more effectively 
provide a harbor of refuge during storms. This is particularly important since there are no other 
harbors of refuge between Bayfield and

The improvements proposed to address these issues include:
• NPS will incorporate steel sheet pile to the exterior of their existing crib structures to reduce 
transmission of sand through the existing cribs.

• An extension parallel to shore from the end of the outermost point of the NPS breakwater 
approximately 275′
– 300′ will provide an overlapping entry to protect the harbor from waves out of the N and NE.
• The existing Town breakwater structures forming the east side of the harbor will be removed in a 
subsequent phase, and a new breakwater constructed along the eastern property line of the Town of 
Russell parcel will nearly double the size of the existing harbor by excavating the harbor 
approximately I 00′ to the south of the
existing shoreline.
• The new breakwater forming the east side of the harbor will be designed to prevent sand from 
moving through the structure, while also maintaining the harbor entry far enough off shore to 
reduce the need for dredging to maintain navigable depths.
• Within the harbor, the boat launch is proposed to be reconfigured to a two-lane launch, coupled 
with a dedicated barge landing well for the NPS to more easily load and unload their work barges. 
The new boat
launch will include a movable skid pier to facilitate boat launching. Additionally, a new transient 
pier of approximately 180′ in length will allow flexible broadside mooring to support nearly any 
size recreational vessel seeking transient mooring or shelter from storms.
• Approximately 54 new 30′-40′ slips provided on a mix of fixed and floating docks will greatly 
increase the potential for seasonal and transient mooring.
• A new boater services building with marina staff facilities, restrooms, showers, and a small food 
operation is proposed adjacent to the expanded boat launch.
• Proposed shoreside amenities include a new promenade, event lawn, and play area adjacent to the 
• Additional parking to support the increased number of slips is proposed on Town property along 
the entry drive is also proposed.