SAULT STE. MARIE — After 122 days, U.S Coast Guard vessels on the Western Great Lakes are getting a break from breaking the ice, at least until next winter.

Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie announced Monday that Operation Taconite has concluded. Operation Taconite is the name given to the Guard’s domestic ice breaking operation, and with ice throughout the lakes nearly melted, the cutters are no longer needed to assist commercial ships in navigating the waters.

Coast Guard officials say cutters assisted 677 vessel transits this season in delivering an estimated $829 million of dry bulk and liquid cargoes.

[Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City]