People Articles

Articles specific to prominent people in the park’s past, present and future.

“It basically becomes your life” – Lance Twombly reflects on more than a decade of service in the Apostle Islands

“It basically becomes your life” – Lance Twombly reflects on more than a decade of service in the Apostle Islands

"Once you work for the park service it becomes basically your life." After nearly a quarter century in the park service and a dozen years at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Supervisory Park Law Enforcement Ranger Lance Twombly is retiring at the end of March.  Lance sat down with Friends of the Apostle Islands board member Neil Howk to reminisce about his chosen career path and most memorable moments in the park, and to talk about what's next.Neil: Where did you grow up, Lance? Lance: I was born and raised in Northwood, New Hampshire until just after high school. It’s a small New...

Introducing Faces of Friends: Sue Nelson

Introducing Faces of Friends: Sue Nelson

The heart and strength of Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is people. People who love the islands and step up to support the national lakeshore with their time, talent and treasure. With that in mind, we're launching Faces of Friends, a new series where we introduce some of our Friends and explore their personal connections to the islands. So many of our Friends have great stories to tell, whether they're park lovers, volunteers, donors, business members or board members. During the coming weeks, we'll be sharing these stories, starting with charter boat captain Sue Nelson,...

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...

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...

NPS craftsman Dave Brunsvold hangs up his tool belt

NPS craftsman Dave Brunsvold hangs up his tool belt

The rich history of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore lives on through the historic buildings and artifacts you'll discover throughout the park. The man you are about to meet is one of the talented craftspeople dedicated to restoring, preserving and presenting these treasures to teach and inspire generations of park visitors. Dave Brunsvold devoted 23 years to that effort, before transitioning into retirement on October 19, 2023. Friends board member Neil Howk sat down Dave, saying it's important to give him a tiny bit of the recognition he deserves for the marvelous work that he...

Meet the new Apostle Islands National Lakeshore division chief: Lucas Westcott

Meet the new Apostle Islands National Lakeshore division chief: Lucas Westcott

It takes a strong team to protect the natural and cultural resources of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, while enhancing the experience for more than a quarter-million people who visit the park every year. With that in mind, Friends board member Neil Howk sat down with the park's new Director of Communications and Education, Lucas Westcott. They talked about the skills and experience Westcott brings to the park, his first impressions about what makes the Apostle Islands a special place and about the important work that's ahead.Neil: Where are you from Lucas?Lucas: Originally, I’m from...

New Ojibwe educator hired for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore  (Wenabozho ominisan)

New Ojibwe educator hired for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Wenabozho ominisan)

Bayfield, WI – (National Park Service news release) Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in partnership with Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, announce Peyton Martinson as the newly appointed park ranger cultural educator for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. “In her new role, Peyton will work with the park’s visitor service and education team to enhance public and staff understanding of Ojibwe culture and help integrate Ojibwe language, traditional knowledge, and Ojibwe perspectives into park operations,” said Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Superintendent Lynne Dominy. “She...

Jewels on the water: Two artists share the inspiration of the islands

Jewels on the water: Two artists share the inspiration of the islands

The Apostle Islands have long inspired artists, from songwriters to painters, potters, and poets. Recently, two local artists – photographer Jeff Rennicke and silversmith Lissa Flemming – combined their talents in a unique tribute to the inspiration they find among these islands. The result was a one-of-a-kind line of jewelry created by Flemming inspired by Rennicke’s photography, both unveiled during a joint presentation at Canoecopia, the country’s largest paddling expo recently held in Madison, Wisconsin. It began with a photograph.Photographer Jeff Rennicke aboard Little Dipper“I have...

Deep roots and a love of fishing: the passing of former Friends Board Member Charles “Chuck” Ludwigsen

Deep roots and a love of fishing: the passing of former Friends Board Member Charles “Chuck” Ludwigsen

For some, the ties to the Apostle Islands and Lake Superior run deep. For Charles “Chuck” Ludwigsen, who passed away peacefully on October 12th, those roots ran as deep as a fishing line. Born in Lombard, IL on April 17, 1937, Chuck traveled widely for both business and pleasure. Yet he never forgot his deep connection to the big lake and the Apostle Islands. His childhood summers were spent working the nets with his grandfather who had immigrated from Norway and became a commercial fisherman in the islands. When not fishing with nets, Chuck could often be found trolling or casting a line...

Friends mourns the passing of sailing pioneer and Island friend George Hansen

Friends mourns the passing of sailing pioneer and Island friend George Hansen

If you have been in Bayfield in the days surrounding the Fourth of July and seen the bay filled with the colorful sails of Bayfield Race Week, you have witnessed at least a part of the legacy of George M. Hansen. Hansen, the founder of Bayfield’s famous Race Week and a long-time supporter and member of Friends of the Apostle Islands passed away in his sleep on October 4th at his home in Medina, Minnesota. Born September 25, 1936, Hansen grew up in Minneapolis, served as a tank commander in the Army, and worked as an accountant for Haskins & Sells as well as the George M. Hansen Company...