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'She'll come steaming in'; The S.S. Badger is expected to be back in the spring

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 19:42:22-05
  • The S.S Badger shut down for the season in August after an accident in Michigan.
  • Lake Michigan Carferry says the Badger is on track to return this spring.
  • Jaque Bartow, owner of Brix in downtown Manitowoc, says the Badger is huge for business so she's happy its returning.

After a disappointing end to the 70th season of the Badger, the wind is finally back in the sails. Here’s what you need to know with the Badger getting back out on Lake Michigan.
Lake Michigan Carferry says construction to bring back the S.S. Badger is moving along nicely.

The popular ferry's season ended several months early last year due to damage at the Ludington, Michigan dock.

Jacque Bartow owns Brix, a restaurant downtown Manitowoc.

"The badger is huge, I think, for downtown Manitowoc,” said Bartow "We could definitely tell the foot traffic just wasn't like it used to be, when the Badger broke down."

The car and passenger ferry carries as many as 600 people a day a boost for local tourism.

"I think it's just a neat way to make connections and then be able to go back and say, 'that was a really cool place to visit',” said Bartow.

Hype for a return is building online too. Doug Schwalbe's part of the S.S. Badger fan group on Facebook.

"That was a bummer,” he said of the shutdown. “But I’m confident she'll come steaming in mid may 2024."

Jacque Bartow could not agree more.

"We are going to be so excited to see that badger rolling in,” said Bartow. “We're going to have our little chalkboard outside, maybe we'll have some cheerleaders outside."

The ferry company says you can expect the badger to be back for the 71st season, on time, this spring.