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.
Today, Neil is traveling back in time 60 years to participate in what was probably the largest campout in the history of the Apostle Islands.
Where in the park is Neil?
In 1960, the Boy Scouts celebrated their golden jubilee with a four-day camporee on Otter Island, located at 46.9929° N, 90.7008° W. 1,500 Scouts, leaders, and personnel were transported to Otter Island three hundred at a time on the landing craft tank Outer Island.
Work parties from Bayfield equipped with shovels, axes, and chain saws began work two months in advance, preparing campsites and assembly areas, clearing out logging roads, and building a boat landing. The Boy Scout motto is “be prepared!” and they were.
Camping at Otter Island today is a much different experience. Evidence from the camporee is hard to find. There is a single campsite near the dock at the same landing used by the scouts. Storm damage to the dock was recently repaired and the dock is once again open to the public. A two mile trail leads from the dock and campsite to an overlook at the north end of the island.
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.
You can find updates about NPS operations on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. For more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, call (715) 779-3398 or visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions.