Where in the park is Neil? The week 12 answer is Manitou Island

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand.

At the twelfth stop on our digital tour, Neil is on Manitou Island, at 46.9640° N, 90.6594° W. This island is near the center of the archipelago.

Beginning in the late 1800s, commercial fishermen built fishing camps on most of the Apostle Islands so they could live closer to locations where they set their nets.  Fishermen began to use the camp on Manitou Island in the early 1900s, occupying a log cabin built by Swedish loggers.  

Hjalmer Olson, known to his friends as the “Governor”, bought the Manitou fish camp in 1938.  He and his brother Ted moved another log cabin from Ironwood Island to the site and constructed additional buildings.  The Olsons used the camp year round, but also allowed other fishermen to stay there for short periods of time, especially in winter.  

The “Governor’s” cabin and the log bunkhouse were restored by the National Park Service in 1984.  The cabins are still furnished with many of the Governor’s personal belongings and fishing equipment.

Manitou Island has a dock near the fish camp that is very popular with boaters.  Though damaged by winter storms, the dock was repaired and reopened in June.  Manitou Island also has a small picnic area near the fish camp and a single campsite near a small beach on the west side of the island about two miles north of the fish camp.

Look for another digital adventure next week. To play along, simply like the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page and check back next Wednesday for the clue to next week’s location. Make a guess in the comments and we’ll post the answer on Thursday. Click here to view the entire series.

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