About Us Articles

Learn more about the structure and purpose of Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

New Friends board member helps train Colombian national park rangers

New Friends board member helps train Colombian national park rangers

What do you do when you retire from sharing the stories of our national parks with thousands of park visitors for 40 years? One option is to teach others how to do it well. Newly-elected Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore board member Neil Howk recently joined a small group of retired National Park Service employees sharing their knowledge, experience, and some practical tools for planning and implementing the interpretation of the natural and cultural heritage with their counterparts in the National Natural Park System (PNN) of Colombia.Otún Quimbaya Fauna and Flora...

Friends launches new website focused on discovery and accessibility

Friends launches new website focused on discovery and accessibility

As part of our mission to inspire more people to fall in love with and help us support and protect the park, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore launched a new website. The new friendsoftheapostleislands.org offers stunning visuals, a new way to discover the park before your next adventure and new tools designed to make the site more accessible to people of all abilities. "The new website showcases the rugged beauty of the islands in a way that touches your heart," said Executive Director Jeff Rennicke. "From there, our goal is to help everyone learn about this wonderful place...

Friends Volunteers Tend Historical Gardens

Friends Volunteers Tend Historical Gardens

Imagine tending something that is 112 years old. Three volunteers (limited due to COVID safety protocols) recently joined two National Park Service rangers with shovels and watering cans to tend the gardens at Michigan Island.Flowers bloom in front of the old Michigan Island Lighthouse – Erica Peterson photo“We are the keepers of the light” is a tune often sung at Big Top Chautauqua. Michigan Light was first built in 1856. Lighthouse families there kept gardens to supplement both their food and leisure life. Volunteers from Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore helped the park...

What Friends Are For: Watch Our New Video Introduction

What Friends Are For: Watch Our New Video Introduction

What is a Friends group? How do they help our national parks? How many are there? Good questions.  Of the 423 units managed by the National Park Service, over half have supporting partner organizations or “Friends” groups. From Friends of Acadia to Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Friends of Virgin Islands, these groups support their parks in a diverse array of ways – from fundraising for the preservation of historic structures to organizing cadres of volunteers to plant gardens, clear trails, even pick up litter. Each year, the efforts of these combined groups contribute over...

Make a Friends Membership Part of Your Trip Planning for Your Apostle Islands Adventures

Make a Friends Membership Part of Your Trip Planning for Your Apostle Islands Adventures

Camping Permit? Check. Life Jackets? Check. Friends of the Apostle Islands Membership?  Launching an adventure into the Apostle Islands takes planning and all the right gear. Your membership with Friends can be an important part of it. Here’s why. Singing sand beaches, the whisper of waves against the shoreline, island nights strung with stars against velvety black skies, campfire stories of lighthouse keepers, shipwrecks, and strings of deer tracks on a sunrise trail. You are going to fall in love with the Apostle Islands, or if you’ve been here before, deepen your love and appreciation of...

In Memoriam: Walt Pomeroy

In Memoriam: Walt Pomeroy

Friends, and all who loved the Apostle Islands, lost a guiding light when board member Walt Pomeroy passed away on Tuesday, May 24th surrounded by his family including Lin, his wife of 43 years. Walt’s wisdom, guidance and unending ideas have been critical to the growth of Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and a myriad of other environmental organizations he worked with. The staff, board members, and volunteers of Friends send our most sincere condolences to his family and many friends. He will be missed and remembered. A ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 16 at Silver...

Stronger Together: The Lake Superior Summit

Stronger Together: The Lake Superior Summit

As remote and out of the way as some of our national parks can feel at times, the old adage still holds true: we are stronger together. In that spirit, a wide-ranging group of park superintendents and park partners staff came together for the Lake Superior Summit hosted by the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation, the Red Cliff Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa, and the National Park Service. The gathering included representatives from Isle Royale National Park, Voyageurs National Park, Pipestone National Monument, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Grand Portage...

Change Begins Here: Friends Represented at the Leadership Institute

Change Begins Here: Friends Represented at the Leadership Institute

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world,” Margaret Mead once famously said. “Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” From April 24th to the 27th, our Executive Director Jeff Rennicke joined a small group of thoughtful, concerned leaders from Friends groups across the country at the first in-person gathering of the 2022-23 Leadership Institute in Portland, Oregon. Representatives from Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Virgin Islands, Acadia, Shenendoah, and Cabrillo National Moment were also in attendance.   A program of the National...

Volunteers Gather for Earth Day 2022 Great Lake Clean Up Event

Volunteers Gather for Earth Day 2022 Great Lake Clean Up Event

Volunteers rolled up their sleeves up on Earth Day, 2022 for a beach and street cleanup in Bayfield, gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This Earth Day project is aimed at keeping trash off our islands by picking it up before it gets in the lake.  “Every piece of litter on our mainland shores will, if we don’t pick it up now, end up eventually in the lake and on our islands,” Executive Director Jeff Rennicke told the volunteers before the clean up. “Let’s stop the problem before it starts.”Jeff Rennicke talks to the groupThe two dozen volunteers included National Park Service...

By the numbers: Lakeshore visitation sets a record in 2021

By the numbers: Lakeshore visitation sets a record in 2021

Did you visit the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore during 2021? If so, you were part of a record-setting year. According to recently released figures compiled by the National Park Service, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore saw 290,961 visitors in 2021, an increase of approximately 70,000 over 2020 and a number that sets a new record just barely topping the 290,059 visitors recorded in 2014, the famous year of the ice caves. The Lakeshore was one of 44 park units nationwide to set a new single year visitation record.   Fueled perhaps by pent up desires to travel due to the pandemic,...