Becoming part of the community
By Kris Leonhardt
ALGOMA – The River by Bay Shore and the Algoma Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting and “swan christening” on June 10 to highlight their newest addition.
The business rents out kayaks, canoes and paddle boards, and now, four large swan paddleboats that fit four.
The business is run by Bay Shore Outfitters and is located along the Ahnapee River.
Owners, Julie Wilson and Mark Schuster have been in business for 24 years and own three store locations — Sister Bay was the first store, opened in 1999, and a second store was established in Sturgeon Bay and has expanded since.
The outfitters have been in Algoma for three summers with kayaks, stand-up boards and canoes, and now their newest additions “Harvey, Emi, Carter and Ayden” the swans are named.
“We are very excited to have this going on down here, providing opportunities for people to get out on the river, also for people to use their own boats and get out on our dock. We opened this property up as a private-public piece of property, so you can bring your own boats right in and go up and go into town,” Wilson said.
“We love this idea of having them in an enclosed environment like this; having them where it’s safer to be in an enclosed environment — less water flow and boat traffic and everything else,” Schuster added.
“We knew coming to Algoma that we were pioneering a little bit, just by how small of a location it is, and they are really just starting to move into the tourism market in a bigger way.
“We saw the opportunity with this river, with the beach, with Ahnapee, and von Stiehl (winery) being here. The potential is enormous.”
But, while offering recreation opportunities is their business, that’s not all they are doing in Algoma.
The business is also working to remove invasive species at the site — particularly a type of Asian bamboo.
“We’ve done a lot of work just to bring it back, so it’s not overrun by that and clean up this area and beautification of the riverfront,” Schuster explained.
“And the big thing is, we worked with the city when we came down here. We said, ‘What do you need?’ Because, we’ve never been in a location where we are not part of the community; you have to be, and that’s why this location happened and that’s why we are keeping it as a public-private.”
The River by Bay Shore is located along the Ahnapee River at 87 Second St., Algoma.