Our Work Articles

Learn more about the work of Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore including projects focused on accessibility, conservation, education and preservation.

What a difference a year makes: A year-end letter from our Executive Directors

What a difference a year makes: A year-end letter from our Executive Directors

From the deck of a sailboat or the cockpit of a kayak, from a beach walk or the top deck of the cruise boat, when you look out at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore you are looking into deep time. The sandstone of the cliffs can date back 700 million years. The lakebed itself was scooped out by glaciers that retreated perhaps 12,000 years ago. Even a single drop of water can take a century to work its way out of the lake basin. Against such a timescale, what can a single year mean?For Friends of the Apostle Islands, 2022 meant a record number of new members and supporters, volunteers...

Giving Tuesday 2022 – Access for All

Giving Tuesday 2022 – Access for All

Tracy Tabaka looks out at the blue horizons of Lake Superior. There, just beyond the Meyers Beach parking area lie the green jewels of the wild Apostle Islands and the famous sea caves. She smiles, thinking of the freedom she will feel with a paddle in her hand, the wind in her face. She has been dreaming of this for years. But that smile fades as she looks down at the barrier before her – 45 steps tumbling down a 23-foot bank to the kayak launching area below – and then at her wheelchair. “When I pick up a paddle,” Tabaka says, “I am no more disabled than anyone else. The only real...

Getting things done: Black Spruce Fund makes $25,000 pledge to Access for All

Getting things done: Black Spruce Fund makes $25,000 pledge to Access for All

“We made an investment and things got done.” That is how Peter Tropman and Virginia Graves describe the satisfaction of donating to Friends of the Apostle Islands and the Access for All initiative through their Black Spruce Fund. “Friends is a dedicated and competent organization to work with and they continue to grow. It was satisfying to see an investment on our part get a lot of things done.”It seemed a natural connection. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY and living for years in Milwaukee, Peter says, “the Great Lakes have been a part of my life as long as I can remember.” For over 30...

Together we are stronger: Access for All Advisory Committee formed

Together we are stronger: Access for All Advisory Committee formed

The Access for All Advisory Committee brings together like-minded people who are committed to improving access to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for people of all abilities. We appreciate the expertise, enthusiasm and connections these committee members bring to this largest-ever fundraising and awareness campaign in the 20 year history of Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  Honorary ChairpersonGreg Lais, Founder and former Executive Director of Wilderness Inquiry Committee Chair for FriendsErica Peterson, Friends Board chair emeritus Committee MembersKelley...

Together we are stronger: Access for All Advisory Committee formed

Friends receives Memorial Medical Center donation for Access for All

Study after study has proven the myriad of health benefits from time spent outdoors. Yet, access to wild places is often a barrier to the very people who need those benefits the most. To aid in efforts to make one such wild place, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, more accessible, Memorial Medical Center in Ashland, Wisconsin recently announced a generous donation to Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for its “Access for All” initiative."We are happy to support the efforts of organizations that provide access to outside spaces that benefit individuals of all...

Friends organizations gather in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Friends organizations gather in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The autumn splendor and wispy fog of Great Smoky Mountains National Park may seem like a world away from the Apostle Islands, yet those Tennessee mountains were the backdrop for the recent fall 2022 Friends Alliance conference sponsored by the National Park Foundation.Nestled among the valleys of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, Tennessee served as the site for the annual gathering that brought together over 200 people representing 84 organizations – from Alaska Geographic and the Alliance for Florida’s National Park to the Zion Forever Project – and an array of personnel from the National...

Celebrating Friends: 2022 annual cruise a sweet success

Celebrating Friends: 2022 annual cruise a sweet success

At Friends, our staff, board members, and volunteers can often be found in deep discussions over issues, planning budgets, setting up meetings, the everyday stuff of any organization. However sometimes you just have to set that all aside and return to the heart of things: the reason for doing all of it. Sometimes, you just have to go to the islands. Recently 58 Friends members, donors, board members, and supporters boarded the Superior Princess at the Bayfield City Dock for our 2022 Annual Cruise, a signature Friends event, this year sponsored by Wickcraft Boardwalks.Superior Princess – Jeff...

State Leader Hears from Friends and National Park Service About Accessibility Projects

State Leader Hears from Friends and National Park Service About Accessibility Projects

Coastal management and accessibility projects were on the agenda, as Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore participated in discussions with Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld. The Secretary met on June 29th with representatives from the Ashland, Bayfield and Red Cliff communities in Northwest Wisconsin, as well as six organizations and community groups providing housing, coastal management and conservation services in Ashland and Bayfield counties. In Bayfield, the Secretary met with City of Bayfield staff, former Bayfield mayor and...

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...