Construction work on the US 8 bridge over the Menominee River could impact the tourist industry in the region where river rafting and kayaking tours are big business. Marinette County Administrator John Lefebvre says because the bridge will be closed to traffic, these companies won’t be able to access their normal boat collection site across the Michigan border without traveling several miles out of their way, reducing the number of trips they would be able to offer during their busiest season. Lefebvre has now set his sights on developing a primitive boat landing on the Wisconsin side of the river adjacent to an existing DOT-owned public parking area.

Initial talks with the DOT have suggested they’re open to the idea of leasing the land to the county to create the boat landing. Lefebvre says he’s not ruling out the possibility of building a full boat launch there in the future, but the current focus is on working as quickly as possible to meet the rafting companies’ needs.

The cost of leasing the land, the landing design, and a final agreement with the DOT still have to be worked out. Lefebvre plans to present those to the Infrastructure Committee later this month.