Public Access at the Port
This letter clarifies and reinforces public access availability as well as safety and security requirements on Port Milwaukee grounds at Jones Island. This guidance is in accordance with City of Milwaukee ordinances as well as State and Federal regulations regarding the Port’s secure and safe operation.
Adherence to these rules helps to protect the public as well as Port workers and Port cargoes stored on Jones Island
Public Access is Permitted on Jones Island
- Jones Island is closed to the public from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. daily under Milwaukee Code of Ordinances Section 118-66.
- Public access sites, including Kaszube’s Park, are available for community enjoyment during approved hours.
- Public access locations at the Port for picnicking, fishing, and other outdoor leisure are available. These locations are shown on the below map.
- Community members are encouraged to visit alternate public fishing sites, including those north of Jones Island (on or near the Henry Maier Festival Grounds) and south of Jones Island (adjacent to South Shore Park).
- Public pedestrian and vehicular access near dockwalls and between Port terminal facilities is strictly prohibited.
- Public access to Port terminals, warehouses, leased properties, and external storage sites, including salt piles, is strictly prohibited.
UPDATE 3/2/2023: Port Milwaukee is temporarily expanding public access hours for the area under the Hoan Bridge to accommodate requests from residents who are wishing to participate in this year’s traditional smelting season. Effective March 15 through April 15, 2023, the gates under the Hoan Bridge on Jones Island will remain open for public access throughout the evening and into the early morning. However, due to upcoming construction work beginning under the Hoan Bridge later this year, 2023 will be the last smelting season for the foreseeable future where the area under the Hoan Bridge will be accessible to the public. Learn more HERE.
Mass gatherings at Port public access sites, including at Kaszube's Park, are only allowed by City of Milwaukee special event permit
- To request a special event permit application, please visit https://city.milwaukee.gov/SpecialEvents/Online-Event-App.
- Special event permits must be processed at least two weeks prior to the event. Individuals hosting unpermitted events are subject to fines under City of Milwaukee ordinance.
- Port private security and/or the Milwaukee Police Department will be contacted for any unauthorized or unpermitted gathering.
South Lincoln Memorial Drive, South Harbor Drive, and South Carferry Drive are City of Milwaukee public rights of way
- These public streets are the main public thoroughfares of the Port.
- Members of the public may not utilize private Port service drives or terminal drives elsewhere on Jones Island.
- The entrance to Jones Island at Carferry Drive will be closed nightly from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. with a temporary barrier.
- Overnight access to Jones Island will remain available via the entrance at South Lincoln Memorial Drive.
- There are no sidewalks on public streets at the Port; pedestrian activity is discouraged
Law enforcement officials may ask for identification at any time for any reason
- Port staff, private security, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and other security and law enforcement officials may inquire about the purpose and length of any visit to the Port.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will issue fines for any disturbance of federal security zones on Jones Island.
Boat watchers and community photographers must adhere to all security requirements
- Visitors must respect all fencing, roadways, and other private property security perimeters at the Port.
- Ladders may not be used in effort to scale Port fencing or for photographic vantage.
- Vehicles may not park in the public right of way.
- Members of the public are encouraged to speak with on-site security personnel to fully understand and comply with Port security requirements upon visiting.
- Unauthorized visitation to non-public access sites on Jones Island for these purposes is prohibited
Criminal activity of any kind is not permitted at the Port and/or on Jones Island
- Illegal activity at the Port includes street racing, theft of property, trespassing on Port or leased property, etc.
- Individuals loitering near Port secure facilities, particularly those outside of designated public access locations, will be asked to move immediately.
- Abandoned vehicles and/or vehicles disruptive to active Port operations, including the blocking of railways and rail crossings, are subject to immediate towing at the owner’s expense.
Port employees and tenants are focused on maintaining the security and integrity of Jones Island
- Port staff, tenants, and security personnel will continue to verify visitors’ identities with frequency and, as a case may require, to ask for personal or vehicle relocation.
- Port representatives seek to maintain courteous and respectful engagement with our community members, customers, and other Port stakeholders on an ongoing basis.
For our safety and yours, please maintain a level of vigilance and precaution when publicly visiting Port Milwaukee and Jones Island. In doing so, we can together maintain the integrity of the Port’s shipping and multimodal transportation operations under DHS and USCG requirements.