Dear Friend of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore,
This was our year to celebrate the Apostle Islands 50th year as a National Lakeshore. So many great events designed to gather together, tell the stories, show off the new projects, and forge the next fifty years – are on hold. We are rebooting to celebrate “Caring for our place on Gichigami,” with a new kickoff date of the lakeshore’s establishment on September 26th until Apple Festival next year.
The virus hasn’t slowed much of the exciting work we’ve undertaken. In the past year, with your help and successful grant funding, we contributed over $100,000 for park needs focused on the following areas:
- Accessibility efforts included designs for a new beach ramp at Meyer’s Beach, a new amphitheater on Stockton Island, a scope & viewing platform at Little Sand Bay, & identifying future park accessibility priorities including boardwalk completion on Sand Island and development of an accessible trail at Little Sand Bay.
- Community Outreach efforts included recruiting 41 new business partners, improving the FAINL website, hosting community Zoom meetings to discuss COVID-19 prevention efforts, & starting social media campaigns including “Where in the Park is Neil”. Volunteer opportunities will return in 2021 if community events are rescheduled and if COVID-19 concerns are mitigated.
- Resource Stewardship efforts included partnering with Apostle Islands Historic Preservation Conservancy (AIHPC) to stabilize the icehouse and eroding shoreline at the West Bay Club, removing the unstable chimney from the West Bay Club, & supporting the 50th Anniversary Resource Stewardship Symposium with Northland College, which is being rescheduled – stay tuned for new dates.
- Visitor Experience efforts were focused on COVID-19 prevention including providing masks and supplies to park staff to help keep the lakeshore open this summer.
- Youth efforts included adding a Northland Student to the FAINL Board and improving the Stockton Island amphitheater for their use when Island School resumes.
Next our all-volunteer organization is seizing and embarking on a transformative growth opportunity. A report examining our organization determined that “Friends” is a fast-growing, healthy non-profit which can achieve much more with a paid Executive Director at its helm. Our exciting news is we received an anonymous $175,000 gift that will pay for half the cost of a full-time director over 4 years. By the fifth year, based on conservative projections of our financial situation, this position is projected to be self-sustaining. Our Board feels that with this strategic hire, we can accelerate our financial support for park resources and visitor experiences.
Please consider supporting us now more than ever – and if you have not before please step in and help us make this critical leap while keeping our projects and programs moving forward. Consider planned giving or monthly payments. To discuss further, call me. I welcome your thoughts. You can contribute via mail, or online at https://friendsoftheapostleislands.org/donate
In closing, think about the things you most cherish about the Apostle Islands. We look forward to contributing to your connection with us.
Your “Friends of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore,”
President, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
P.S. The Apostles remain for you as they have for over 12,000 years. Peaceful. Beautiful. Whole. Remind yourself of the sound of their waves on your choice of shoreline. Picture the blueberries behind the dunes; the beacon of a lighthouse across a reflective bay; the souls behind the stories of those who loved and toiled in the islands before it was a national lakeshore. With your help, the “Friends” works to preserve the wild and the wonder.