Apostle Islands National Lakeshore increases recreational access

June 8, 2020

Bayfield, Wisconsin (National Park Service News Release) – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is expanding recreational access for self-contained boaters to include overnight use of most park docks. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis. As staff are being onboarded and COVID-19 prevention mitigations are being implemented, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is continuing to implement its phased plans to provide public access to the park.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore will reopen access:

  • June 10th – for self-contained boats to dock overnight at most park docks, when fees are paid and space is available. Campfires are not permitted.  Manitou and Michigan docks will remain closed until winter storm damage repairs are completed. 
  • June 20th – Little Sand Bay restrooms.

Select park locations will be staffed beginning Saturday, June 20th.  Phased opening of individual island campsites will begin after that, as COVID-19 mitigations can be implemented and operations can be modified.
The following areas/services continue to be available:

  • Day use areas, beaches and trails at Meyers Beach and Little Sand Bay
  • Day use areas, beaches and trails on 19 park islands from 7 am to 7 pm
  • Virtual visitor services from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm daily via email, social media, and phone

The park concession boat operator, Apostle Islands Cruises, resumed some boat tours using CDC safety guidelines for passengers. Visit www.apostleisland.com for more information and reservations.

Many local businesses began operating in the park. Visit go.nps.gov/outfitters for a complete listing are authorized businesses utilizing the park.

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:

  • Interiors of all lighthouses and visitor centers
  • Overnight tent camping on the islands
  • Full vault toilets at various locations, which will reopen as emptied

“All visitors are asked to continue to recreate responsibly by social distancing and congregating only with household members, wearing masks in areas with two-way traffic or congestion like stairs, trails & restrooms, and bringing their own hand sanitizing supplies since none are available on the islands. Slowing the spread of this virus by doing these things will help keep visitors, residents, and employees safe, and will help us keep this park open. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we move towards implementing safety precautions for our staff and providing safe public access to the park facilities”

Lynne Dominy, Park Superintendent

At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, carefully consider operating guidelines of outdoor facilities in nearby communities, and will be regularly monitoring the progression of the virus across the region. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and work spaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and residents. While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health guidancehttps://www.bayfieldcounty.org/1178/CORONAVIRUS-COVID-19, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

We have amazing virtual tours of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, all of the time, so for people who are still home schooling or not traveling at this time check out go.nps.gov/apostlevirtual.

For more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, visit www.nps.gov/apis, email apis_information@nps.gov or call (715) 779-3398. Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website go.nps.gov/ApostleConditionsand Facebook https://www.facebook.com/apostleislandsnationallakeshore/


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 www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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