If someone asked what you love the most about the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, what might you say?
Climbing the serpentine cast iron stairs to the top of a century-old lighthouse… Savoring wild blueberries during a family beach day at Julian Bay… Or maybe feeling icy-cold spray sting your face as you sail to weather in a stiff summer breeze.
Dig a little deeper and some park visitors might talk passionately about the thrill of paddling a sea kayak many miles from one island to the next. Hiking an island trail to discover decaying remnants of a logging camp slowly being reclaimed by the wilderness. Or maybe enjoying the quiet pleasure of sitting alone on a rugged shoreline, soaking in the solitude, surrounded by the vastness of Lake Superior.
Many of these captivating experiences and emotional connections are represented in the official logo of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Madison, Wisconsin-based photographer, journalist and graphic artist Jon Okerstrom created the artwork in collaboration with the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the National Park Service, The Red Cliff band of Lake Superior Chippewa and The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
Okerstrom used his own photographs and experiences on the islands as his inspiration.
“There’s so much to love about the National Lakeshore,” Okerstrom said. “I hope the artwork resonates with the many different kinds of park users and inspires future visitors to explore, enjoy and care for it.”
The color palette in the sky represents the moments before sunrise over the lake.
Okerstrom chose to feature the 90-feet-tall Outer Island lighthouse built in 1874 to represent historic aspects of the islands.
The floral design on the perimeter of the logo is a tribute to Native American beadwork.
He included an American Bald Eagle because of the raptor’s importance in Native American culture and because eagles are making a comeback on the islands. The National Park Service reported 46 nesting pairs in 2018, up from only 12 in 2006.
The text, ‘Caring for our place on Gichgami’ is as much a statement of purpose for the present as it is a call to action for future generations.
“We want to honor those passionate people who had the vision to create the National Lakeshore 50 years ago, as well as the ongoing stewardship of this national treasure by the National Park Service,” Okerstrom said. “We also want to raise awareness about the important work we all need to do to protect and enhance the park experience for the next 50 years and beyond. The Friends group and its supporters play an important role in that.”
The official logo is being used to identify an ongoing series of celebration events in 2020 and 2021. Many of those events have been and will be virtual due to the ongoing pandemic.
You can also find the logo featured on a wide variety of collectible keepsakes, many created by local artisans and business partners, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the park.
The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore 50th Anniversary Celebration is a collaborative effort by the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the National Park Service, event sponsors and celebration partners. Visit the 50th Anniversary page for information on events through the fall of 2021 and follow the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Facebook for event updates.