Photos: In defiance of winter, Duluthians skate the 'People's Rink' on frozen Superior

Ansel Cazier skates on Lake Superior with his friend George Belmore.
Ansel Cazier (right) skates on Lake Superior with his friend George Belmore (left) at sunset Thursday.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

About a quarter-mile offshore from Duluth's Leif Erikson Park, a hearty band of volunteers has carved a skating rink unlike any other on the frozen surface of Lake Superior.

Dubbed the "People's Free Skate Rink," by one of its creators, artist, writer, and videographer Jim Richardson, it's a long, serpentine rink, with narrow hand-shoveled paths twisting around islands of snow.

Lake Superior is now 94 percent covered by ice. And conditions like this year's are getting more and more rare, as warmer winters over the past few decades have resulted in substantially less ice cover.

People have flocked to the rink over the past month to enjoy this year's version, Richardson said. "It seems to inspire kind of wonder and joy and awe in people."

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