Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore announces new board of directors co-chair

October 25, 2021

Bayfield, Wis. – Anniversaries are a time to honor the past and prepare for the future. As the Friends of the Apostle Island National Lakeshore wraps up the park’s 50th anniversary year, the organization is pleased to announce the appointment of a new co-chair of its board of directors, Kelley Linehan. Linehan is now working alongside Erica Peterson, who has been chair since 2014, and will take over the chair position in February 2022. Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is the officially recognized philanthropic partner of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Linehan is no stranger to the Apostle Islands. She spent her childhood summers adventuring amongst the Apostle Islands with her family. Saturday evenings were spent in rapt attention at the campfire talks on Stockton Island, taking in the stories of the flora, the fauna and the geology of the islands. Fish camps and lumber camps were discovered and thoroughly investigated, shipwrecks were scouted and lighthouses were toured and explored.  

After living in Milwaukee for nearly a decade, Linehan moved to Bayfield permanently in 2013 to accept a position at the Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau as the Director of Marketing and Events. It was an opportunity to return to the region that had captured her heart and to be of service to help share the stories of a very special place with a wider audience. 

Within her first couple of months in that position, the world was unexpectedly taken by surprise by the beauty and grandeur of the Apostle Islands Ice Caves (something the locals had known all along.)

Visitors at the mainland ice caves

Visitors at the mainland ice caves

As many of thousands of people flocked to the area to see them in person, Linehan coordinated directly with the staff of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, local businesses, elected officials and non-profits to help direct the messaging, both for the benefit and safety of the visitors and for the local businesses and organizations. Those collaborative efforts between all parties helped generate significant overall awareness of the Park and spurred additional, ongoing interest in the islands. 

Linehan previously served on Friends of the Apostle Islands board from 2015 to 2018.

“It is my great honor to work with the Friends board once again and to help move it forward based on the foundation of excellent work that has been done thus far. We have several significant projects and outreach opportunities already in progress, with many more to come. It’s an exciting time.”

Kelley Linehan

“Kelley is the perfectly positioned to lead our organization into the future,” said Executive Director Jeff Rennicke. “Her energy, her knowledge of and love for the islands, as well as her life and professional experience make her the right person at the right time for Friends.”

Currently, Linehan is the Director of Marketing for Nokomis Energy, a Minneapolis-based clean energy developer. She lives and works out of her historic apple orchard, just outside of Bayfield, Wis.

The mission of the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is to promote an appreciation for, and preservation of, the natural environment and cultural heritage of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was established in 1970 to preserve the naturally wild and beautiful Lake Superior islands in northern-most Wisconsin.

For more information about Friends, email or call 715-449-6900. You can also learn about the Friends leadership team on the Friends website and follow the Friends on Facebook and Instagram.

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