A burning question – are beach fires okay in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore?

As a Friend of Apostle islands National Lakeshore, I have always puzzled over how to have a safe campfire on a beach, and leave no trace.

We did it with an aluminum garbage can lid, a bucket, and a shovel. We brought local wood and carried out the few remaining ashes.

We were determined not to add to the piles of charcoal randomly scarring the shoreline. There’s nothing like the combination of sounds… the crackling fire… the gentle waves lapping on the shore… the sounds of children playing in the distance.

The view towards Sand Island from the mainland was magical on this breezy summer evening with the Lake.

As night took over we watched a westbound Great Lakes Steamer, covered in lights, pass on the horizon as the night sky filled with stars and the milky way slowly emerged.

About the larger question, the National Park Service offers this leave no trace guidance: “Build campfires in fire receptacles where provided or on a sand beach near the water’s edge, below the vegetation line.

Beach fires are not permitted on beaches on Raspberry Island, Julian Bay, and Presque Isle Bay on Stockton Island, or on beaches within 150 feet of campsites where fire receptacles are provided. Fires should be no larger than three feet in height or diameter.”

For more information “leave no trace” principles and on campfires in the National Lakeshore see:https://www.nps.gov/apis/planyourvisit/camping-practices.htm

Thank you in advance for knowing the rules and for practicing “leave no trace” during your next visit to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

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