Join us for “Apostle Islands in National Geographic: the story behind the story”

Story behind the story graphic

March 14, 2023

The March issue of National Geographic magazine celebrates Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with the kind of global exposure few other publications can match. “Return to Wild Waters” describes the Islands as a “sublime, yet dangerous playground for kayakers, sailors and powerboaters to explore.” And on March 30th at 7 p.m., you’ll be able to experience the story behind the story during a special online event.

In the magazine and online, writer Stephanie Pearson and award-winning National Geographic photographer David Guttenfelder captured in words and images the alluring beauty, the cultural history, and what the future may hold for this untamed Lake Superior wilderness.

Return to Wild Waters - title of National Geographic story with image looking out at the lake from a sea cave

The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the National Park Service collaborated to help bring the story of the Apostle Islands to the world, through Guttenfelder’s lens and Pearson’s words.

They experienced the park first-hand and learned from a wide range of people for whom the islands hold special significance.

In August of 2021,  Guttenfelder and a team of equally experienced kayakers embarked from Little Sand Bay on an ambitious 18-day trip. The goal was to paddle to as many of the archipelago’s 22 islands as possible, while capturing the essence of the islands and the lake that shapes so much about them. They ran into rough weather and more than a few surprises.

Pearson joined the group for part of the journey. The Outside magazine contributing editor and author of “100 Great American Parks,” writes, “Along the way I met with conservationists, scientists, and community members, many of whom have lived and worked here for decades. Their backgrounds were diverse, but everyone shared the same deep veneration for the Apostles.”

You can hear the story behind the adventure during. a free Zoom webinar on March 30th at 7 p.m. central time. National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation Executive Director Tom Irvine talks with the author, the photographer and others. You’ll also see more of Guttenfelder’s stunning photographs.

If you have ever wondered how a story is selected for National Geographic, are curious to learn details beyond the scope of the story, see photos that didn’t make the article, and have a passion for Lake Superior’s National Parks–this event is for you!

Learn more about the speakers and register here. We’ll see you on March 30th at 7 p.m.

You can also order a printed copy of the March issue. of National Geographic through Friends of the Apostle Islands.

NOW it’s a real event: Join our WATCH PARTY at the Big Top Chautauqua “Back Stage” venue in Bayfield for the National Geographic in the Apostle Islands event. Beer and wine, a big screen to watch the show and all of it fun. Doors open at 6 p.m. for wine and beer for purchase, snacks to share, and socializing. The program begins at 7 p.m. Let’s celebrate! Co-sponsored by Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation and hosted by Big Top Chautauqua.

The Big Top’s headquarters, including the Backstage event center is now in Bayfield, in the remodeled building formerly known as the Northern Edge/Fore’n Aft.  It’s just outside Bayfield city limits at the intersection of Highways 13 and J.

National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation logo
Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

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