HOUGHTON/HANCOCK — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay and its crew is making it’s way home after making a trip to open up the western half of the Keweenaw waterway earlier Tuesday.

The 225-foot ice cutter made its way through the Portage Canal, clearing a water path to the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, allowing for spring traffic to begin for the Ranger III. The National Park Service plans to launch the vessel later in the week and begin transporting staff and supplies to Isle Royale National Park.

The Morro Bay is a multi-mission vessel. Along with ice breaking, it is also used by law enforcement, Homeland Security and Marine Environmental Protection. It is also used for search and rescue missions .

The Morro Bay made the trip to the Keweenaw waterway from its home port in Duluth, Minnesota.