Monthly Archives: December 2014

Black Mountain Yacht Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in the mid-70’s West Bay Boat Works (Bob Core and Bob Sprenger) leased the Coal Dock harbor from Traverse City Light and Power, adding some docks and a travel lift. Sail North (Mike Wills) acquired WBBW in 1984 and with it, the coal dock marina lease, adding about 60 slips to Sail North’s 20 or so (still in use since about 1973).

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The coal dock would get 3 or 4 deliveries by self-unloading ships every year. Between deliveries, coal was taken from the pile every day for the power plant and wind blowing across the pile would coat the boats in the marina with fine black dust. The worst was when off-loading coal from ships to the dock by conveyor.

There was nothing we could do about the dust except clean our boats frequently; we had to accept the dust as a condition of the lease with TCLP. So, instead of grumbling and complaining, we decided to make diamonds out of coal! The marina was dubbed “Black Mountain Yacht Club” and a high-contrast photo of the marina and black mountain became the logo.

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Boaters were given membership cards and BMYC T-Shirts became a hot commodity, proudly worn in yachting circles around the area and by customers of Sail North’s bareboat yacht charter fleet.

bmyc_shirtWant to place and order? Maybe we will resume production if there is high demand!

Black Mountain Yacht Club was extinguished in about 1995 when TCLP decided to remove the docks because of the cost to replace the rotting wooden sea wall along the west side of the harbor. Today, the harbor is home to the Maritime Heritage Alliance’s schooner Madeline, cutter Champion and other vintage wooden boats, along with the Traverse Tall Ship’s charter sailing ship Manitou. The school ship Inland Seas ties up frequently, too, when plying lower West Bay. Preserving dockage for the tall ships and opening the dock to the public is the Discovery Center’s primary goal.

 

 

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Tall Ships at the Discovery Center

 

We are the first to admit that parking on the dock is NOT ideal, nor the highest and best use of the dock. But, in the short term, it makes this project feasible and without it, not. Once pedestrians have a way to safely get across the highway (think medians with safe at-grade crossings, bridges, tunnels, shuttles, trams, trolleys) to remote parking lots, we can move parking off the dock. Those solutions will take time and money, but when they are in place, parking can be moved off the dock to free up activity space. In the meantime, there is room around the perimeter for fishing, picnicking, strolling and interpretive displays

We are the first to admit that parking on the dock is NOT ideal, nor the highest and best use of the dock. But, in the short term, it makes this project feasible and without it, not. Once pedestrians have a way to safely get across the highway (think medians with safe at-grade crossings, bridges, tunnels, shuttles, trams, trolleys) to remote parking lots, we can move parking off the dock. Those solutions will take time and money, but when they are in place, parking can be moved off the dock to free up activity space. In the meantime, there is room around the perimeter for fishing, picnicking, strolling and interpretive displays

Discovery Center Refines Its Waterfront Plan

We continue to work to ensure that we have fulfilled our responsibilities for both the economic and environmental due diligence associated with our proposed project. As a result, we are scaling back our original vision for a Community Harbor and Marina and are focusing just the Community Harbor and Pier, for now. All of our current efforts will be toward developing the best plan that we can for the area shaded blue below (the Community Harbor). The Community Marina is no longer a focus of our current plan.

Harbor & Marina

There is a unanimous sentiment among all of the Discovery Center partners that preserving the former coal dock for our community’s tall ships must be a paramount goal. None of us can imagine our region without the glorious sight of the gaff-rigged schooners plying the waters of West Bay throughout the summer. After 25 years, the tall ships have become integrated into our community’s unique identity.

Aerial photo of DCGLWe are developing a phased approach as we re-envision all of the opportunities for a regional waterfront attraction created from the former coal dock, including a safe harbor for the tall ships, a deep water port and access to West Bay fisheries, and general access to West Bay for our community’s residents and visitors alike. This phased approach will allow us to better focus our effort on working out a mutually agreeable arrangement with the City of Traverse for the use of the former coal dock to preserve existing and create new recreational and educational activities that will benefit Traverse City and the region. It will also make future development of the project more manageable.

Slide36Our vision and goals have always been to achieve the maximum community benefit for everyone involved. Converting our community’s former industrial waterfront into a public attraction will have a powerful impact for years to come. We will continue to work our environmental and economic due diligence to help make sure that this project will happen successfully and be sustainable in the long run. Please support our efforts.

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