As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we are collecting and sharing the stories of people connected to the islands, whether they are park guests, former residents or former park employees.
This is the 21st in our series called “Lakeshore Logbook,” a collection of memories provided by former National Park Service employees.
Living and working in the park on a day to day basis, they’ve experienced a lot to be sure. We hope you enjoy their perspectives.
Ian Williams served as Stockton Island Ranger during the summers of 1988 and 1989.
It’s strange to think that APIS was still a fairly young park when I worked there. The year I started was the year we moved into the new buildings on Stockton. It took the park 18 years to get to that point. I was the last ranger to live in the old fish camp and the first to live in the new ranger station.
What is the coolest thing you did in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (APIS) as part of your job?
Running boats on Lake Superior.
What is the most fun experience you had in the park?
SCUBA diving on the wreck of the NOQUEBAY.
Please share a memorable experience you had in the park.
Trapping a problem black bear that had broken into park housing and relocating him to the Chequamegon only to have him swim back to Stockton.
What is the most amazing thing you saw in the park?
The Northern Lights from the dock at Presque Isle.
Please share an accomplishment from your tenure at APIS that gives you pride.
After 31 years, there are few people who would remember me and probably little that I did that still remains. But if the exhibits in the Stockton Islands Visitor Center haven’t changed, Terry Daulton and I got to do the editing on those. If there’s a turtle exhibit that starts off with, “Is it a boy or a girl?,” that line was mine.
What story from your time at APIS do you share most frequently?
What I’ve probably described to people most frequently is how the lake acted as a heat sink and delayed the turn of the seasons. In the Spring the trees would leaf out inland before they did on the lake and in the Fall the leaves would turn color and drop inland, but still be in blazing color around the lake. I always enjoyed how long the colors lasted.
If you could return to just one place in APIS, where would you go? Why?
I’d love to go back on a flat, calm day and paddle my canoe around Presque Isle and along the sea cliffs north of Julian Bay. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and I was always enchanted by how still the lake could be at times.
Ian now works at Channel Islands National Park as a Safety & Occupational Health Specialist. We want to thank Ian for his entry into our 50th Anniversary Lakeshore Logbook. We look forward to sharing more Logbook entries with you in the coming weeks. You can find the whole series here.