Hello John et al.:
If John was "tossed out", I'd guess it was either because he wasn't at
Erie Pier, or he drove all the way in and was asked to leave because
he was in the way of some workers or they needed to close and lock the
entrance gate. In dozens of visits there since the 1980s I have never
been asked to leave (if there are any workers around, they just wave
as they pass by), and I have only rarely heard of unconfirmed second-
hand reports of birders not being allowed in. The small sign by the
entrance gate has been there for several years: when it first appeared
I called both phone numbers on the sign and was told it was OK to go
in. I have never heard anything otherwise about access, and no one
that I know of ever calls those numbers to ask permission.
To reach the 40th Ave West Erie Pier area (local birders simply call
it "40th"): take the 40th Ave West exit off I-35, cross over to the
bay side of the interstate, cross the frontage road, and you'll
immediately see a large yellow gate on the right at the beginning of
the gravel access road which parallels the frontage road. Park off to
the side anywhere outside the gate where your vehicle is not blocking
vehicle access. Even if the gate is open, it is recommended that you
NOT drive in, since the gate could be closed and locked behind you
while you are birding inside.
Walk past the gate down the gravel road parallel to the frontage road
for about a block. Here the road turns left away from the frontage
road, continues for about another block, and crosses some railroad
tracks. Immediately after the tracks you are at the near NE corner of
the rectangular berm enclosing the large Erie Pier impoundment. The
impoundment inside the berm is an ever-changing mix of water, tall
weeds, and sandy flats.
Recently, most birders have been walking the road to the right between
the berm and the railroad tracks. The road soon turns left away from
the tracks (this corner is where the White-winged Dove has most often
been seen this week late in the afternoon), and it continues along the
berm to the far SW corner of the area where there are large sand piles
and sometimes activity by workers.
If no one is working and the sand piles haven't moved, it is usually
possible to bear left here and continue walking along the berm and
road to the SE corner, and then left again and back to the starting
point at the near NE corner by the railroad tracks where you started.
In some years this last stretch has had the best birding, so birders
often choose to go here first by walking to the left at the near corner.
Hope this helps. Kim Eckert
On Oct 9, 2009, at 3:47 PM, John Lundy wrote:
> Can someone enlighten me about the Erie Pier / 40th Avenue West area
> of West Duluth?
> Today was the second time I tried to follow up a lead there, and the
> second time I got tossed out.
> I apologize to fellow birders for that ... I don't want to give bird-
> watching a bad name by being a scofflaw. And indeed, when I bothered
> to check the signs on the way out as I should have on the way in, I
> saw that I had been an unauthorized visitor on U.S. Army Corps of
> Engineers property.
> But I know that highly respected, experienced birders are seeing
> birds in that area.
> So my question is: Is there a place in that area where you can go
> legitimately? Is there a place where you can park legitimately and
> then walk legitimately? (Except for a little bit of roadway,
> everything seems to be either private property or government
> Or do birders who go there first obtain written permission from the
> U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and/or other property owners?
> I've read numerous references to birding at Erie Pier / 40th Avenue
> West over the years, but I don't recall anyone explaining what's OK
> and what's not OK.
> John Lundy
> West Duluth
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