Celebratory candles, commitment and cupcakes mark finale of 50th Anniversary festivities

Happy Birthday to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. On September 26, 1970 Gaylord Nelson and others lit a light symbolically that has been shining brightly for over half a century.

On Saturday night, September 25, 2021 Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore held a candlelight ceremony on a Lake Superior beach to celebrate, to honor, and to recommit ourselves to keeping that light burning bright as we step into the next 50 years at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

There were speeches, a proclamation from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, flags created by the Stewards of Tomorrow students, cupcakes, candles, and all that Lake Superior beauty.

“When creating national parks or wilderness areas, politicians often speak of ‘future generations,’” Friends Executive Director Jeff Rennicke told the crowd. “Tonight, as we stand here on this beautiful Lake Superior evening in 2021, we are that ‘future generation’ that Gaylord Nelson had in mind. It is our turn now. We must take up the charge, we must become the light that sees this place into the future.”

Oleana Jurewicz, Stewards for Tomorrow student

13 year old Oleana Jurewicz said, “I love the lake. Plain and simple. It gives me a place to sail, to swim, even to relax and read a book. Not many people get to have the experiences it provides. These memories will stay with me forever. I wouldn’t have gotten to hike to a lighthouse on Sand Island if not for the Stewards of Tomorrow program. Nor would I have kayaked under the sea caves. We are so close to these activities and yet still many of us can’t enjoy them. When there are programs that take us out to see these new and exciting places, it benefits everyone – the people who get to go, the people who are inspired by the stories, and the awareness that is brought to the places we visit. To be able to share this place, explore it now, is a most remarkable gift.”

Governor Tony Evers, by proclamation, said, “Today, the state of Wisconsin joins the Red Cliff Band and Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and all other affiliated native nations, in continuing to utilize the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for cultural, economic, and recreational purposes, alongside the people who live in nearby communities and tourists who visit throughout the year, and in reaffirming our commitment to working with the National Park Service to maintain Wisconsin’s Jewel of Lake Superior as a center of cultural, historical, and natural importance for the entire nation.”

Read the Governor’s entire proclamation here.

Here’s to another 50 years in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, as we work to support the park in the areas of stewardship, accessibility, education and service. Join us and be the Light!

Luminaires on the Lake slideshow

Photos by Jeff Rennicke and Tad Paavlova