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 30th 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.
Kellie Weidinger says Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was her first job in a national park. She worked here during the summers of 2015 and 2016, while attending college.
What positions(s) did you hold?
During the summer of 2015 I was a visitor use assistant in the law enforcement division. I acted as dispatch during emergency situations and performed administrative tasks. I was a visitor use assistant my second summer too, but within the interpretation division. That summer I was primarily behind the front desk answering visitor’s questions and assisting visitors with backcountry camping permits.
What is the coolest thing you did in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (APIS) as part of your job?
The coolest thing I did while working at Apostle Islands National lakeshore was perform a hazard assessment on the trail on Manitou Island. It was right after a huge storm had come through the area and had knocked down trees and power lines. I remember scrambling over fallen trees along the trail, gauging their approximate circumferences, and thinking I was lucky to have a job in such an incredible place.
What is the most fun experience you had in the park?
I grew up in Bayfield right outside of the park, so a lot of my childhood memories took place there, specifically at Meyers beach! My sister and I spent our summers splashing in the waves of Lake Superior, studying the tadpoles, and trying to avoid the leeches in the slough!
Please share a memorable experience you had in the park.
One of the most memorable experiences I had in the park was getting our boat stuck off Sand Island. The boat was anchored offshore in a foot or two of water, but by the time we came back, less than an hour later, the boat was settled in the sand in just a few inches of water! I remember learning about seiches in high school and thinking, that must be what this is! My coworkers and I spent the next twenty minutes trying to push the boat back out into deeper water.
What is the most amazing thing you saw in the park?
One of the most amazing experiences I had in the park was watching the northern lights from Little Sand Bay. It was mesmerizing to watch the green lights dance above Lake Superior and listen to the waves peacefully lap against the shore.
Please share an accomplishment from your tenure at APIS that gives you pride.
During my first summer at the park I often worked the Saturday night shift at headquarters by myself. My main priority on those nights was to monitor the radio for emergency traffic. Thinking back over my time at Apostle Islands, I’m most proud of how outwardly calm I was during those Saturday nights, even though on the inside I was really hoping there would be no emergencies!
What story from your time at APIS do you share most frequently?
The story I tell most often is from the sixth-grade camping trip my class took to Stockton Island. The most memorable part of the trip was probably the wood ticks taking over our tent and the sleeplessness my friends and I experienced because of that! But the highlight was hearing the singing sands for the first time.
If you could return to just one place in APIS, where would you go? Why?
I would go to one of the outlooks on the mainland trail. In the summertime It’s so relaxing to sit up there and watch the kayakers explore the sea caves. During the winter months I love admiring the ice formations on the caves.
Kellie is now a park guide at Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas. Her twin sister Karli is one of the Raspberry Island rangers this summer. We want to thank Kellie for her 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.