New accessible amphitheater to be built at Presque Isle on Stockton Island this summer

Friends announces work will begin on a new, universally accessible amphitheater at much-used Presque Isle on Stockton Island. This is the first of several big projects planned according to the Park’s 2012 Accessibility Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan. 

The new facility will replace the aging benches and fire ring in a clearing on a gentle, wooded hillside. It’s a natural place for presentations and gatherings of park visitors. In the spring, it is used by middle school students attending the residential Island School programs. Area archeology indicates use of this island for over 5,000 years. In Ojibwe, a gathering place is Maawanji’iding (place where) Maawanji’odiwag (they come together happens.)

The amphitheater site is close to a boardwalk connecting National Park Service facilities and campsites. As you can see in the slideshow, there’s no doubt that the new facility is needed. The existing benches and ground are tired after years of use. The final product will enable visitors in wheelchairs, using walkers or with mobility issues to move from the dock to the already accessible campsite, up to the contact station and onto the amphitheater.

Stockton Island is the only island served by the cruise service that can be made accessible at this time. This much-needed project fits within the Friends core commitment to removing barriers for people of all abilities to explore the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

“We are excited to see this finally happen. The board made accessibility for all an important pillar of our organization. We feel it is important that everyone have opportunities to experience  many aspects of this the park.”

Erica Peterson, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore President

“Friends” has raised $55,000 through grants and private contributions to build raised wooden platforms and will provide the only accessible amphitheater on the islands. We continue to seek funding for the benches and tables – to blend in with this place where forest meets shoreline. I’d like to help.

This project is also made possible by a funding award from the National Park Service and Outdoor Foundation. In addition: Funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act, Grant #NA17NOS4190035.

Boardwalk manufacturing company Wickcraft of Madison, Wisconsin has been contracted to do the preliminary work including site elevation surveys. They provided a CAD conceptual drawing of what the gathering place may begin to look like. You’ll see the conceptual design in the slideshow and in the video below. Wickcraft will build the platform off-site. Plans are for the National Park Service to install it this summer.

Produced by Wickcraft

In the next phase, Friends plans to do fundraising for the benches in 2021. We believe this will be a wonderful addition. We appreciate those who donate with purpose and passion, often with specific personal connections in mind. Friendsseeks to grow your investment. We will share updates on this wonderful project as the work continues.

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