Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is raising funds for their Wilderness Accessibility Fund to make the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (APIS NL) one of the most accessible, inaccessible national parks.
With the funds they will help the Park implement projects that would otherwise take decades to accomplish if park funding were the sole means of finance.
Why is this so important? One in five Americans, and growing with our aging population, has some form of disability. The National Park Service admits that it is “under serving people with varying abilities and their traveling partners (per Accessibility in the NPS, a report for 2015-2020).
For the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore this means an average of 18,300 potential visitors with a $2.3 million impact on the community will find experiencing the park difficult or impossible.
According to federal law (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) APIS NL is obligated to ensure their services and facilities are accessible to visitors of all abilities.
The Park has a plan (2012 Accessibility Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan) to address the needs commensurate with limited federal funding and the challenges of a park in Lake Superior.
Two priority projects, – access at Meyers Beach on the mainland and an amphitheater at Presque Isle on Stockton Island – both identified in the 2012 plan, need funding from new sources of revenue.