Winter storms damage docks in Apostle Islands

Bayfield, Wisconsin (National Park Service) – Two docks and a vault toilet in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore were damaged by winter storms.

The Michigan Island and Manitou Island docks will remain closed until work crews can fully assess and repair damages to these docks. Island access is still possible along the shorelines when weather permits.

The York Island vault toilet is buried by sand and debris and will remain closed until it can be excavated. Beaches on York remain open for day use.

“Every year the winter storms take their toll on docks, buildings, and trees on all of the islands. It will take many weeks to fully assess the extent of damages and to begin repairs.”


Within Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, there are 155 miles of shoreline, 15 public docks, 59 miles of hiking trails, 35 vault toilets, 65 campsites, 7 historic light stations, and over 150 historic buildings, spread out across 21 islands in 270 square miles of Lake Superior.

“This is an especially challenging year for everyone.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work hard to integrate CDC recommendations into all park operations so it will be safe for park staff to accomplish their work and to enable us to provide as much safe summer access to the park as possible,” said Dominy.

“The late start of our work season this year combined with the need to address these storm damages means that we will have phased openings and closing of areas as issues are identified and resolved.”


The park remains under the Wisconsin Safer at Home order to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Areas in the park where social distancing, cleaning, and staffing are not possible will remain closed until those issues are resolved.

This includes interiors of all historic and public buildings, including the lighthouses and visitor centers. Outdoor areas like beaches, trails, boardwalks, lighthouse lawns, and docks will remain open for day uses as long as visitors socially distance and avoid congregating.

All overnight uses including camping and overnight docking remain closed (7 pm until 7 am) until further notice. Offshore mooring is permitted. Virtual visitor services via phone and email will continue, and staff will be present in many outdoor areas at Little Sand Bay, Meyer’s Beach, Raspberry and Stockton islands beginning June 20, 2020.

If contemplating a visit to a national park during this pandemic, the NPS asks visitors to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees.  This includes staying at home, with limited exceptions and, if using shared or outdoor space, maintaining social distancing of at least six feet.  

Three cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Bayfield County and the county is asking all seasonal residents to stay in their winter homes due to limited health services and supplies in this area.  A high percentage of the local population is over 65 so COVID-19 exposure could have devastating consequences to this at-risk community.

The NPS encourages you to take advantage of the many digital tools already available to explore Apostle Islands National Lakeshore from home, including the lakeshore website and Facebook page. 

Teleworking park educators are creating fun learning tools for kids. Parents and teachers can find resources at, with more resources added every week. 

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operationsFor more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, visit or call (715) 779-3398.

Virtual visitor centers will open closer to Memorial Day, with hours and services to be announced on the park website and Facebook.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

You may also like…