Discovery Pier sign July 2020

Discovery Pier in Traverse City opened to the public in July 2020.

GREILICKVILLE — Discovery Pier, now that a first phase of construction is nearly complete, is open to the public.

Excavation at the former coal dock began last fall to create a deeper port and channel. The project includes new docks for the Inland Seas Education Association, Maritime Heritage Alliance and Tall Ship Manitou, as well as transient boats.

Rotary Charities in 2016 closed on a $1 million deal to purchase the city’s coal dock property. The action ended two years of negotiations between the involved parties with a goal of recreational use of the site, adjacent to Greilickville Harbor Park.

The public is welcome to check out the tall ships or fish from the Discovery Pier, according to a release from the Discovery Center — Great Lakes.

“Smallmouth bass, rock bass, and perch are now being caught along the east wall of the pier, and lake trout and salmon are often seen cruising along the wall in the spring and fall,” Discovery Center CEO Matt McDonough said in the release.

Specially-designed ramps and boarding platforms now accommodate people of all abilities, allowing everyone to access the fleet of tall ships and educational boats that dock at the pier.

Discovery Pier is home to ships operated by Inland Seas Education Association, Maritime Heritage Alliance, The Watershed Center, and the Traverse Tall Ship Company.

A double-deck tour boat called The Discovery, beginning in 2021, will offer tours on West Grand Traverse Bay. It will dock at Discovery Pier, said McDonough.

Future plans for the pier include a universally-accessible kayak launch, a picnic pavilion, a walkway around the perimeter of the pier, shade structures along the east wall and an open-space lawn.

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