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.
Beaches tend to be some of the most heavily used areas in the Apostle Islands. The fragile vegetation on these sandscapes cannot survive frequent trampling. Today Neil is taking a close look at efforts to help revegetate the sandscape on this island.
At the eighteenth stop on our digital tour, Neil is on South Twin Island. It is one of the northernmost islands, closest to Rocky Island, at 47.0678° N, 90.5868° W
The sandy shore on the west side of South Twin Island has been a popular spot for more than a century.
The Booth Fish Company established a commercial fish camp there in the late 1800s.
South Twin’s protected harbor attracted numerous commercial fishermen after Booth closed its operation there in the early 1900s. When Lenus Jacobson purchased the island in 1931, his treatment of the other fishermen quickly led them to move their fishing camps to other islands. Jacobson then opened the Troller’s Home Resort and began renting cabins to sport fishermen.
In 1959 John Atwood bought South Twin Island for a vacation retreat and built an airstrip on the island. Trees have reclaimed the airstrip and most of the old buildings have been removed from the sandspit.
The National Park Service planted thousands of plants to help restore the barren ground where the buildings once stood.
The island is still a popular anchorage for boaters and features a dock and four campsites. Due to the pandemic, the National Park Service is operating with limited operations. Overnight camping is not currently permitted. However, overnight docking for self-contained vessels and day use of the islands is permitted.
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.