News Articles

Newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events and happenings.

Nearly a quarter million people visit Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in 2023

Nearly a quarter million people visit Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in 2023

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, a new report from the National Park Service says visits to the national lakeshore in 2023 fell slightly to 247,167 from 254,952 visits in 2022. Some of the decrease may be related to the summer closure of park headquarters in Bayfield for construction and an issue with the counter at Meyers Beach. The park service also noted that mainland campsites 2  and 3 (along the Lakeshore trail) were opened in 2023.The new park service visitation...

Outgoing board member Erica Peterson shares lifelong love for nature, passion for the Apostle Islands

Outgoing board member Erica Peterson shares lifelong love for nature, passion for the Apostle Islands

"Erica is a force of, and for,  nature." That's how park superintendent Lynne Dominy describes Erica Peterson, retiring president and board member of Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Erica finished her tenure on the Friends board of directors at the end of January.  Over the years, she devoted her heart, time and talent to supporting the national lakeshore and to building the Friends group into the strong and vibrant organization it is today. Friends Executive Director Jeff Rennicke says, "With all of her creativity, Erica came up with so many great ideas she started what...

Reading the sacred skies: new book offered by Friends

Reading the sacred skies: new book offered by Friends

Since long before books, humans have turned to the night sky to read portends, seek beauty and meaning, and to find their place in the universe. A new book, now offered on the Friends’ website, speaks to both the human connection to the night sky and hopes for its protection.Spirits Dancing: The Night Sky, Indigenous Knowledge, & Living Connections to the Cosmos features the photography of Travis Novitsky and text by Annette S. Lee. Novitsky, a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, uses his lens to capture the awe and wonder of the northern lights. Lee, both an...

Meet the park’s new Cultural Resource Manager Ed Jakaitis

Meet the park’s new Cultural Resource Manager Ed Jakaitis

The incoming Cultural Resources Manager at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore has big boots to fill and a lot of responsibilities to embrace. Edward Jakaitis started in October, taking the reigns from the now retired Dave "Coop" Cooper. In his new role, Ed serves as the park’s cultural resource subject matter expert and advisor to the management team. He secures funding for cultural resource projects and partners with non-profit organizations (including Friends), local tribes, agencies, academia and the public in the preservation of cultural resources. And that's just the start of his...

Beauty from above: A winter hike on the Lakeshore trail

Beauty from above: A winter hike on the Lakeshore trail

It has been a winter of extremes: the warmest December on record in many parts of the northland, historically low ice coverage on Lake Superior, and then the plummeting temperatures of mid-January. There were windless days on end with the lake barely rippled and then a storm bringing gusts up to 53 miles an hour at Devils Island churning the lake into waves of 12 to 15 feet.There is beauty in extremes, the kind of beauty that can turn a hike into a journey through a landscape of enchantment. Recently, our Executive Director Jeff Rennicke ventured into that enchanted landscape and sent back...

Bayfield’s Carnegie Library embraces dark sky protection with planned lighting changes

Bayfield’s Carnegie Library embraces dark sky protection with planned lighting changes

Teresa Weber, Library DirectorBayfield Carnegie Library’s motto is “A compass for curious minds.” One of the primary goals of library director Teresa Weber is to enlighten the public. Right now, Teresa is also trying to “enlighten” the walkways leading to the library without negatively impacting the dark skies over the city. Teresa recently spoke with Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore board member Neil Howk about this upcoming project. Neil also serves on the library board.Neil: What do you know about the history of the lamp poles presently at the library?Teresa: I have some...

Thin ice: How historically low ice coverage affects Apostle Islands, Great Lakes

Thin ice: How historically low ice coverage affects Apostle Islands, Great Lakes

It's open water - not ice - as far as the eye can see. Not only in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore but across all of the Great Lakes. As of New Year's Day, less than 1% of Lake Superior was ice-covered - a tiny percentage but still the largest percentage of any Great Lake. Combined, ice covered roughly one-third of one percent of the surface area of all of the lakes as of the first of the year; that's the lowest level in 50 years and the percentage is growing very slowly. As you can see on the map from the US National Ice Center, ice on Lake Superior is now mostly confined to the bays...

New year, new faces: Friends of the Apostle Islands adds three to its board of directors

New year, new faces: Friends of the Apostle Islands adds three to its board of directors

Fresh off the inspiring success of its Access for All capital campaign, Friends of the Apostle Islands recently announced the addition of three new members to its distinguished Board of Directors: Janet Bewley, Greg Lais, and Mary O’Brien.“New challenges require new viewpoints and voices,” says Jeff Rennicke, Executive Director of Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. “Each of the new board members will bring a fresh perspective and new energy to our organization.”Janet BewleyJanet Bewley understands northern Wisconsin. From acting as an original cast member of the Big Top...

Stories that capture the wonder and the possibilities of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are most-read in 2023

Stories that capture the wonder and the possibilities of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are most-read in 2023

As we raise a glass to embrace the new year, we look back fondly on the momentus year that was 2023 for Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and for the park we love. Thanks to your support, hard work by a growing team of passionate volunteers and by the Friends leadership team, we have a lot to celebrate. With your support we helped more people discover the islands, learn about them, and work to protect them than ever before. We set a record for membership, did more outreach trips, more programs, and successfully completed the largest initiative in our organization’s history:...

Retiring NPS Division Chief Julie Van Stappen reflects on decades of service to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Retiring NPS Division Chief Julie Van Stappen reflects on decades of service to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

After dedicating more than three decades of work to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Julie Van Stappen retires as Chief of Planning and Resource Management at the end of 2023. Julie grew up in Chicago; she spent vacations and later summers in northern Wisconsin. Her love of - and appreciation for - nature and science grew during her college years, during which she studied geology, earned an advanced degree in aquatic ecology and gained experience in the US Forest Service and at various locations in National Park Service before landing her dream job at the Apostle Islands National...