Friends News & Events
Normally, in late February, Friends board member Neil Howk would be planning cross country ski outings across the frozen lake to the old brownstone quarry at the south end of Basswood Island, to Honeymoon Rock at the north end of Basswood Island, or from Frog Bay...
Canoecopia 2024 includes presentations on protecting our Starry Skies, paddling the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
If paddling the amazing sea caves in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is on your bucket list, we invite you to see us at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin, March 8-10, 2024. This annual event includes more than 100 educational presentations and clinics on kayaking, canoeing and related topics, including presentations by Friends Executive Director Jeff Rennicke and Ranger Steve Ballou of the National Park Service. You’ll also be able to learn from the experts what gear you need to safely explore the islands.
Visitation to our national parks grew by 13 million or 4% over 2022. The long-term trend line for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is also up. However, visits to the national lakeshore in 2023 fell slightly to 247,167 from 254,952 visits in 2022.
Look up. There is an entire universe over our heads and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers some of the best night sky viewing in the upper Midwest. Here are a few places to go and tips to get you started. And when you're feeling inspired, be sure to support...
Safe boating is informed boating
Wave Watch is a partnership with UW-Madison and the National Park Service to deploy a system of 5-8 solar-powered buoys in the Apostle Islands, giving kayakers, sailors, and power boaters real-time wave and wind information refreshed every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day. Real information when you need it most.
Help us return the buoys to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in the summer of 2024 and beyond.
What are Friends for?
What is a Friends group? How do groups like ours help our national parks and specifically the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore? Watch our new video to learn the answers. We hope you’re inspired to join us.
Discover the Park
Twenty-one islands spread out over 750 square miles of Lake Superior, twelve miles of mainland shoreline, lighthouses, historic fisheries, sixty-six campsites, bears, beaches, sea caves, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a rich and complex landscape.
Explore the human and natural history of the lakeshore, explore each island, and start planning your next island adventure.
Friends is dedicated to enhancing the experiences of park visitors and supporting the priorities of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore staff. Founded in 2002, we undertake a wide variety of efforts, from fundraising for accessibility to tending historic gardens and supporting youth engagement programs.
Our priorities fall under four pillars. Learn more about them and how you can make a difference.
Our strong partnerships with the National Park Service, the community, and park user groups are helping to identify and remove barriers for people of all abilities – from accessible campsites and audio-enhanced interpretive displays to stability pads at kayak launching sites. Click here to learn what your donations can help achieve as we plan for even bigger, exciting opportunities ahead.
From youth engagement programs to symposiums and a podcast, lifelong learning is a key part of your park experience. You can support life-changing educational experiences for adults as well as the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates by exploring our online library.
Our parks are a legacy. To protect that legacy, Friends and its members work to preserve history through helping to fund the creation of a lighthouse tender now housed at Raspberry Island Light, installing bat houses and bear boxes to protect wildlife, working to fund the restoration of historic buildings and seeking the protection of our dark skies. Learn how you can help protect the legacy of your park through your support of Friends.
Roll up your sleeves and pitch in. Our volunteers tend the flower gardens at the historic Michigan Island Light, plant beach grass to protect fragile sandscapes, clear trails, participate in beach cleanup and trail clearing. Are you ready to help out? Click here to learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities.
Why We Give
I support Friends because …
“Silence does not protect, nor educate so I add my voice to protecting and celebrating the islands and the water and the communities in which they exist.”