One of the northshore islands, anchored in the churning rapids which once drew many Ojibwe to its rich fishery, South St. Marys Island today reveals two faces: the intricate system of nature and the revolutionary engineering work created by the human mind.
Along the Attikamek Trail, evidence of the builders, operators, and protectors of the Sault Canal lies hidden among the trees and underbrush to which the island is returning.
South St. Marys Island, layered with tons of rock and debris during canal construction, has since developed a thin cover of soil where plant life has become re-established. A cement foundation and other remains of military encampments can be seen. During The First World War the new 51st Infantry Regiment guarded the canal from possible sabotage while ships, forwarding vital war supplies, continued through the locks. During The Second World War, American servicemen joined the defensive efforts and a military camp was constructed to accommodate them.