New sign helps visitors interpret the spectacular Apostle Islands view from atop Mount Ashwabay

Apostle Islands sign at the top of Mount Ashwabay - Jeff Rennicke

December 13, 2023

Whether they’re riding the fatbike trails through the woods or hiking up the hill before a Big Top Chautauqua show in summer or carving turns on fresh powder in winter, Mount Ashwabay visitors now have a new connection to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Wenabozho ominisan). This week, crews installed a new interprative sign near the top of the hill at the recreation area just south of Bayfield. The sign aligns with the spectacular view of the lake and the islands, providing visitors with information about what they’re seeing from 700 feet above lake level.

Mount Ashwabay sign artwork showing the view and naming the islands in English and Ojibwe

Based on a design by Friends Business Member Jamie Penney-Ritter of Bemused Design with help from board member Neil Howk and approved by the National Park Service, the 32×48 inch sign names each of the islands you can see on a clear day. The sign features the island names in English and Ojibwe languages. It also includes a statement about why the park is so important. “The 62,373 acres of the national lakeshore protect vital wildlife habitat, important cultural sites, lake fisheries, historic structures including the greatest collection of lighthouses in any national park, and offer adventure, education, and enjoyment for all.”

“This sign fits into our education pillar — our committment to helping as many people as possible learn about the islands and why protecting them is so important,” says Friends Executive Director Jeff Rennicke. “We want to thank Doug Olson of Mount Ashwabay for the idea, the Mount Ashwabay board for the outreach opportunity, and artist Jamey Penny-Ritter for putting the final touches on the design.” 

Superior Princess

The welded steel frame for the sign

Superior Princess

The concrete base takes shape

In 1877, the Bayfield Press described the islands as being “Like gems of living green” glittering in the distance.The next time you visit Mount Ashwabay, we hope you’ll make the climb, enjoy the view and the new sign. 

New sign is installed on a snow-covered Mount Ashwabay - Jeff Rennicke photo

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