Where in the park is Neil? The week 8 answer is…

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand.

At the eighth stop on our digital tour, Neil is at Little Sand Bay on the mainland. You will find a brand new visitor center and outdoor exhibit building operated by the National Park Service and a campground operated by the Town of Russell. It’s located on Little Sand Bay Road, 13 miles north of Bayfield.

Before the onset of COVID-19, a grand opening for the new visitor center was scheduled for June 13. The building completed last fall replaces an older visitor center. It is designed to be very energy efficient and to honor the site’s rich history.

The pandemic forced a delay in opening this building to the public. However, new exhibits in the boat shelter and in the covered porch outside the visitor center are available to the public 24/7. 

Exhibits in the porch describe the area’s billion year geologic story and summarize the area’s human history beginning 5000 years ago with the first Indigenous inhabitants, to the arrival of the Ojibwe, the establishment of the Red Cliff Reservation, the founding of the South Shore Club in the Town of Russell, Hermie Johnson’s Little Sand Bay store and resort, and creation of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. 

The shelter for the historic fish tug TWILITE was completed last year. Exhibits in the boat shelter tell the history of the Hokenson Brothers’ fish tug TWILITE and use the brothers as an example of how area residents in the early 1900s often relied on multiple occupations (farming, logging, ice harvesting, and commercial fishing) to make a living. 

The exhibits include three audio boxes, each containing six 2-minute stories of life along the lake at Little Sand Bay.  A touchable terrain model of the Apostle Islands landscape and a collection of rock samples from area beaches are also included in the exhibits. 

Little Sand Bay is a great place to start your adventure in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Click here for information about the campground operated by the Town of Russell.

There’s lots more to explore! Look for another digital adventure next week. To play along, simply like the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page and check back next Wednesday for the clue to next week’s location. Make a guess in the comments and we’ll post the answer on Thursday. Click here to view the entire series.

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Apostle Islands National Lakeshore increases recreational access

Bayfield, Wisconsin (National Park Service News Release) – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is expanding recreational access for self-contained boaters to include overnight use of most park docks. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis. As staff are being onboarded and COVID-19 prevention mitigations are being implemented, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is continuing to implement its phased plans to provide public access to the park.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore will reopen access:

  • June 10th – for self-contained boats to dock overnight at most park docks, when fees are paid and space is available. Campfires are not permitted.  Manitou and Michigan docks will remain closed until winter storm damage repairs are completed. 
  • June 20th – Little Sand Bay restrooms.

Select park locations will be staffed beginning Saturday, June 20th.  Phased opening of individual island campsites will begin after that, as COVID-19 mitigations can be implemented and operations can be modified.
The following areas/services continue to be available:

  • Day use areas, beaches and trails at Meyers Beach and Little Sand Bay
  • Day use areas, beaches and trails on 19 park islands from 7 am to 7 pm
  • Virtual visitor services from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm daily via email, social media, and phone

The park concession boat operator, Apostle Islands Cruises, resumed some boat tours using CDC safety guidelines for passengers. Visit www.apostleisland.com for more information and reservations.

Many local businesses began operating in the park. Visit go.nps.gov/outfitters for a complete listing are authorized businesses utilizing the park.

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:

  • Interiors of all lighthouses and visitor centers
  • Overnight tent camping on the islands
  • Full vault toilets at various locations, which will reopen as emptied

“All visitors are asked to continue to recreate responsibly by social distancing and congregating only with household members, wearing masks in areas with two-way traffic or congestion like stairs, trails & restrooms, and bringing their own hand sanitizing supplies since none are available on the islands. Slowing the spread of this virus by doing these things will help keep visitors, residents, and employees safe, and will help us keep this park open. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we move towards implementing safety precautions for our staff and providing safe public access to the park facilities”

Lynne Dominy, Park Superintendent

At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, carefully consider operating guidelines of outdoor facilities in nearby communities, and will be regularly monitoring the progression of the virus across the region. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and work spaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and residents. While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health guidancehttps://www.bayfieldcounty.org/1178/CORONAVIRUS-COVID-19, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

We have amazing virtual tours of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, all of the time, so for people who are still home schooling or not traveling at this time check out go.nps.gov/apostlevirtual.

For more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, visit www.nps.gov/apis, email apis_information@nps.gov or call (715) 779-3398. Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website go.nps.gov/ApostleConditionsand Facebook https://www.facebook.com/apostleislandsnationallakeshore/

www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Where in the park is Neil? The week 7 answer is…

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand.

This week, Neil is on one of the least-developed and least-visited islands: North Twin. The island is among the northernmost in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. It is located roughly midway between Outer Island to the east and Devils Island to the west. North Twin has no docks, trails, or campsites. It’s located at 47.0678° N, 90.5868° W.

The nearly pristine forest features ancient trees, tangles of windblown timber, and tall patches of Canada yew. The rocky shoreline poses a formidable barrier to large waves and visiting boaters.

These sandstone cliffs also provide a sheltered habitat for a few arctic remnant plant species that grow no place else in the state. The long winters and cool summers provide the necessary conditions for plants like arctic primrose and the rare elegant groundsel to survive.

Island habitat for these plants has steadily declined in recent decades as warming conditions have infiltrated even these last strongholds.

North Twin is one of the wildest islands in the national lakeshore and there’s lots more to explore! Look for another digital adventure next week. To play along, simply like the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page and check back next Wednesday for the clue to next week’s location. Make a guess in the comments and we’ll post the answer on Thursday. Click here to learn about Neil. Miss an adventure? you can explore the entire series here.

Plan your visit to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore before you go. Here’s a great starting point on the National Park Service website.

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New accessible amphitheater to be built at Presque Isle on Stockton Island this summer

Friends announces work will begin on a new, universally accessible amphitheater at much-used Presque Isle on Stockton Island. This is the first of several big projects planned according to the Park’s 2012 Accessibility Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan. 

The new facility will replace the aging benches and fire ring in a clearing on a gentle, wooded hillside. It’s a natural place for presentations and gatherings of park visitors. In the spring, it is used by middle school students attending the residential Island School programs. Area archeology indicates use of this island for over 5,000 years. In Ojibwe, a gathering place is Maawanji’iding (place where) Maawanji’odiwag (they come together happens.)

The amphitheater site is close to a boardwalk connecting National Park Service facilities and campsites. As you can see in the slideshow, there’s no doubt that the new facility is needed. The existing benches and ground are tired after years of use. The final product will enable visitors in wheelchairs, using walkers or with mobility issues to move from the dock to the already accessible campsite, up to the contact station and onto the amphitheater.

  • Location of the amphitheater on Stockton Island (Courtsey Google Maps)
  • The existing boardwalk ends prior to the amphitheater, making it challenging for people with mobility challenges
  • At times, the amphitheater can become a muddy mess. This project solves that challenge.
  • Artist's rendering of what the new amphitheater might look like
  • The raised deck surface and boardwalk make this location more accessible to park visitors who may have mobility challenges.
  • A survey crew arrives at Presque Isle to make measurements in preparation for construction
  • The crew will use elevation information to design the new amphitheater structures.

Stockton Island is the only island served by the cruise service that can be made accessible at this time. This much-needed project fits within the Friends core commitment to removing barriers for people of all abilities to explore the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

“We are excited to see this finally happen. The board made accessibility for all an important pillar of our organization. We feel it is important that everyone have opportunities to experience  many aspects of this the park.”

Erica Peterson, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore President

“Friends” has raised $55,000 through grants and private contributions to build raised wooden platforms and will provide the only accessible amphitheater on the islands. We continue to seek funding for the benches and tables – to blend in with this place where forest meets shoreline. I’d like to help.

This project is also made possible by a funding award from the National Park Service and Outdoor Foundation. In addition: Funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act, Grant #NA17NOS4190035.

Boardwalk manufacturing company Wickcraft of Madison, Wisconsin has been contracted to do the preliminary work including site elevation surveys. They provided a CAD conceptual drawing of what the gathering place may begin to look like. You’ll see the conceptual design in the slideshow and in the video below. Wickcraft will build the platform off-site. Plans are for the National Park Service to install it this summer.

Produced by Wickcraft

In the next phase, Friends plans to do fundraising for the benches in 2021. We believe this will be a wonderful addition. We appreciate those who donate with purpose and passion, often with specific personal connections in mind. Friends seeks to grow your investment. We will share updates on this wonderful project as the work continues.

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Park Service provides FAQs about visiting the Apostle Islands

(National Park Service) To protect public health and safety, all visitors to the park are encouraged to:

  • Stay home if sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms- Bayfield County has no hospital and limited emergency services.
  • If an island or dock is crowded, choose an uncrowded destination to visit. 
  • Stay 6 feet back from all other boaters and park visitors in all locations. Maintaining safe distances in areas will result in the ability of popular areas to stay open.
  • Wear a mask when other people are present in centralized areas including docks, restrooms, staircases, and trails.
  • Please use the restroom before your visit to the islands and bring portable waste management supplies on your boats. Un-managed waste creates a health hazard for our employees and for other visitors. Island vaults receive very infrequent cleaning. Boaters need to utilize their on-board heads or carry portable toilets. 
    • Bring hand cleaning supplies including soap/bucket and sanitizer. These items are not available on the islands.
    • Remember islands are home to many black bears. Keep food stored in bear proof boxes or on your boats and keep picnic sites very clean. Take your trash with you when you leave. 
    • Weather & winds on Lake Superior change constantly while water conditions are frigid. Know the forecast and safest destinations before you go. Carry safety equipment for self-rescuing and a marine radio for communications. Cell service is unreliable on the lake. For Apostle Islands wave and wind conditions on Lake Superior weather visit http://www.weather.gov/dlh/anchord . 


Tips to Recreate Responsibly:

We encourage you to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and follow Leave No Trace principles when you visit.

  • Know before you go. Visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions for current park conditions and availability of restrooms and other facilities. Make a plan and if you are sick, stay home.
  • Keep it close. Consider recreation areas near your home to help limit travel. Follow the state, county, & local orders governing the open status of the Bayfield community and Lakeshore.
  • Keep your distance. Recreate with the people in your household. Give others plenty of room whether you are on a trail, at a boat launch, on docks, or in a parking lot. Follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines for staying six feet away from others. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth if you’re near others.
  • Know your limits. Postpone challenging hikes & kayaking, or trying new activities while first responders, parks, and communities continue to concentrate on responding to the pandemic.
  • Keep it with you. If you brought it, take it with you. Trash pickup and restroom facilities will continue to be limited in many park areas.

Where do I go to get information after I arrive?

  • The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Visitor Center in Bayfield and Little Sand Bay Visitor Center will be open as “virtual visitor centers” for the summer. Buildings will be closed to the public, but park rangers will be available by phone and email and some brochures will be available:  
    • Bayfield VC – Daily from 8:30am – 4:30pm, beginning 5/23. 
    • LSB VC – Opening June 20th.
  • The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is hoping to provide visitor services later this summer. 

Are there restrooms in the park & are they open?  

  • At Little Sand Bay there are currently no bathrooms or running water available. Bathrooms at Little Sand Bay are scheduled to open on June 20th
  • Vault toilets at Meyers Beach are open and cleaned daily during the summer, as staffing allows. 
    • Running water is not available at this time. Bring your own soap and hand sanitizer to maintain personal hygiene. 
  • Vault toilets or privies can be found near most campsites and docks on the islands. These remote toilets are cleaned infrequently, so should be used at your own risk. Most do not have soap or sanitizer. 
    • Use the toilet on your boat if available. Come prepared to manage your own waste.
    • Running water is not available on the islands. Bring your own toilet paper, soap, and hand sanitizer to maintain personal hygiene.
  • If using the bathroom in the woods, be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles, including proper cat hole use and packing out toilet paper. 

How can I social distance and explore the park?   

  • Avoid crowded areas. If you arrive and it is busy, then simply select a different destination.
  • Photograph attractions from your boat or kayak, including lighthouses and sea caves instead of going ashore. 

Do I need to wear a mask in the park? 

  • Covering your face when around others can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Trails, staircases, & boardwalks have people using them in both directions and may be narrow. Try to maintain a 6 ft distance from other people when passing or wait for them to pass, and/or cover your face. 
  • Some areas like bathrooms will have lines. Be sure to maintain a 6 ft distance from others and wear a mask if the area is being used by others.

Can I stay overnight on the islands?   

  • Overnight use of campsites and docks is closed at this time to enable the limited staff to focus on keeping the entire park open for day use and to maintain social distancing in centralized access areas. You can continue to moor offshore overnight. 
  • Check with local Chambers of Commerce for information on drive-up camping on the mainland.

Can I have a campfire in the park?  

  • No. Fire danger is currently high and the park is dryer than most of the county, having missed recent rainfall events.  There are limited staff to respond to wildfires & ensure campfires are fully extinguished.  

What are the safest options for kayaking? 

  • Kayaking on Lake Superior is only recommended for experienced kayakers who are familiar and prepared to paddle on large, open bodies of water. 
  • Inexperienced kayakers interested on paddling Lake Superior…
    • Are encouraged plan a trip with a certified local guide. A list of guides who are authorized to work in the park can be found at go.nps.gov/Outfitters
    • Or consider other areas to paddle, such as inland lakes, rivers, or the more protected shorelines in Chequamegon Bay.
  • Kayakers need to be prepared to self-rescue and for cold water and rapidly changing weather conditions. Visit http://www.weather.gov/dlh/anchord for local wind and wave conditions.
    • Kayakers should have the proper gear for safely traveling on Lake Superior, including a 15’+ sea kayak, PFD, wet/dry suit, VHF radio, etc. More information can be found at go.nps.gov/ApostleKayak.
    • Check out the Sea Caves Web Cam at go.nps.gov/ApostleWaves.
    • Consider closer islands and shorter distances when planning day trips.
    • Have a float plan in place and leave it with someone responsible, anytime you are traveling on the lake. 

How do I visit the islands if I don’t have my own boat?  

  • Apostle Islands Cruises (www.apostleisland.com) will be running this summer with an amended schedule (beginning June 6. Trips throughout the islands will be available. 
  • Water taxi services and sailing charters are available. A list of services who are authorized to work in the park can be found at go.nps.gov/Outfitters

Can I visit the inside of any lighthouses? 

  • Lighthouse interiors are closed due to the inability to socially distance, staff, and clean interiors. Light station grounds are open for day use. 

Where can I visit on the mainland? 

  • Meyers Beach and Little Sand Bay are both open.  
  • Meyers Beach has the trailhead for the mainland trail, a sand beach, and kayak launch point for the mainland sea caves. There is a fee for parking at Meyers Beach. 
  • Little Sand Bay has sand beaches, new outdoor exhibits, kayak launch, a marina, and the Town of Russell boat launch and campground. There are currently no bathrooms or running water available. 

Where in the park is Neil? The week 6 answer is…

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand.

At the sixth stop on our digital tour, Neil is on Oak Island. The island rises to 1081 feet above sea level, making it one of the tallest points in the national lakeshore. The island is a little more than 5,000 acres in size. It’s located directly off-shore from the Red Cliff Reservation at 46.9297° N, 90.7144° W.

Oak Island – National Park Service Map

Neil is at the Hole-in-the-Wall on the north side of Oak Island. Since the last glaciers retreated about 10,000 years ago, lake waters have carved and shaped island shorelines. This process of erosion happens every day, sometimes in dramatic fashion. The Hole-in-the Wall arch on the north side of Oak Island is an excellent example. Sometime during the winter of 2009-2010 a combination of wind, waves, freezing and thawing caused the arch to collapse. Though no longer an arch, Neil says he supposes it still is a hole in the wall.

Oak Island, also known to the Ojibwe as Mitigominikang Miniss (Acorn Island), features one of the tallest bluffs along Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline. The bluff is composed of layers of sand, pebbles and clay contained in the glacial till left behind by melting glaciers. A trail leads to an overlook at the top of the bluff, from which you can see 11 islands and the Hole-in-the-wall.

Oak island offers five individual camp sites and two group camp sites.  Click here to learn more about the sites. You can learn more about Oak Island here, in a National Park Service publication. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required.)

Oak Island is one of the larger islands and there’s lots more to explore! Look for another digital adventure next week. To play along, simply like the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page and check back next Wednesday for the clue to next week’s location. Make a guess in the comments and we’ll post the answer on Thursday. Click here to learn about Neil.

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Virtual Video Tour: Raspberry Island

Raspberry Island hosts one of six lighthouse stations in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This one has been meticulously restored inside and out. It’s a regular stop for the tour boats and a must-see destination.

The lighthouse building appears a lot like it was in 1906. It includes keeper’s quarters in one half and a wonderful museum in the other half. No tour of the museum is complete without climbing up the wooden staircase to see the view from the top of the lighthouse. You might even find a lighthouse keeper dressed in his uniform, ready and willing to tell you stories about what life was like back then.

While we’re all practicing social distancing in the pandemic, join us on a virtual tour through the lens of Friends volunteer photographer Jon Okerstrom. As we celebrate 50 years of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re looking forward to the day when lighthouse tours resume and you can see it for yourself in person.

We hope you enjoy our virtual video tour of Raspberry Island. We invite you to like Friends of the Apostle Islands on Facebook and to choose “see first,” so you’re in the know when we post our next virtual video tour stop.

Learn more about this history of the Raspberry Island lighthouse in this detailed story from the National Park Service. Click here for a deep dive into the history of the lighthouse and the people who lived on the island.

The Friends are proud to share the natural and cultural beauty of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and to support the National Park Service in its mission to protect and preserve the park and the park experience for generations to come.

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operationsFor more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore,  call (715) 779-3398 or visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions.

Where in the park is Neil? The week 5 answer is…

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand.

At the fifth stop on our digital tour, Neil is on York Island. Also known to the Ojibwe as Miskwabimijikag Miniss (Willow Tree Island), this island features a lovely sand beach on its north-facing bay. It’s located to the east of Sand Island, on the western side of the archipelago at 46.9833° N, 90.8622° W.

York Island is an example of the rich history you’ll find on the islands, and a fitting stop as we prepare for Memorial Day. The Alden and Eleanor Allen family owned York Island for more than 30 years before the island was acquired to become part of the national lakeshore.

York was a special place for Merlin Allen who lived at Little Sand Bay and graduated from Bayfield High School in 1965. After high school Merlin joined the Marines and served in Vietnam, where his helicopter was shot down in 1967. More than 40 years later, his remains were identified and returned to his family.

46 years after his death, Merlin was buried next to his mother and father on York Island in a small plot still held by the Town of Russell. In observance of Memorial Day, we honor Merlin’s ultimate sacrifice. Read more about Merlin Allen here.

York Island offers three campsites on the northern end of the island.  Click here to learn more about the sites.

York is one of the smaller islands and there’s lots more to explore! Look for another digital adventure next week. To play along, simply like the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page and check back next Wednesday for the clue to next week’s location. Make a guess in the comments and we’ll post the answer on Thursday. Click here to learn about Neil.

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Where in the park is Neil? The week 4 answer is…

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand.

At the fourth stop on our digital tour, Neil is at the fog building on Outer Island. Outer Island is the easternmost, northernmost and largest island in the National Lakeshore, in the at 47.0478° N, 90.4330° W.

Many light stations included steam whistles or horns to warn mariners of danger when the lights were obscured by fog, smoke, or precipitation. When the Outer Island Light Station was completed in 1874, it was the first station in the Apostles to include a fog signal.

The first fog signal building did not last long, however. It was built near the dock at the base of the bluff and destroyed in a landslide before it was a year old. A new fog signal building was constructed in its present location at the top of the bluff in 1875.

Though the fog horns are no longer used, the fog signal building on Outer Island is the only one in the Apostles that still contains most of the equipment that once operated them.

  • Outer Island Lighthouse from the water
  • An aerial view of the fog building from the top of the lighthouse
  • Outer Island fog building
  • Outer Island fog building interior

The Outer Island lighthouse is located on the northern tip of the island. From the lighthouse, there are two hiking trails. One leads to remnants of the Lullabye Furniture lumber camp. You’ll find old buildings and rusting vehicles there. The other is a 7-mile hike to the sand spit on the southern end. The trail to the sand spit follows the old railroad bed that was used 100 years ago. It is not an easy trek. There is a single campsite on the southern end of the island. Click here to plan your trip to the islands.

Outer Island is a wonderful place and there’s lots more to explore! Look for another digital adventure next week. To play along, simply like the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page and check back next Wednesday for the clue to next week’s location. Make a guess in the comments and we’ll post the answer on Thursday. Click here to learn about Neil.

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Winter storms damage docks in Apostle Islands

Bayfield, Wisconsin (National Park Service) – Two docks and a vault toilet in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore were damaged by winter storms.

  • Michigan Island dock debris
  • Michigan Island Dock Damage
  • Manitou Island Dock Damage
  • Manitou Island Dock Damage
  • York Island Vault Toilet

The Michigan Island and Manitou Island docks will remain closed until work crews can fully assess and repair damages to these docks. Island access is still possible along the shorelines when weather permits.

The York Island vault toilet is buried by sand and debris and will remain closed until it can be excavated. Beaches on York remain open for day use. 

“Every year the winter storms take their toll on docks, buildings, and trees on all of the islands. It will take many weeks to fully assess the extent of damages and to begin repairs.

park superintendent Lynne Dominy

Within Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, there are 155 miles of shoreline, 15 public docks, 59 miles of hiking trails, 35 vault toilets, 65 campsites, 7 historic light stations, and over 150 historic buildings, spread out across 21 islands in 270 square miles of Lake Superior.

“This is an especially challenging year for everyone.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work hard to integrate CDC recommendations into all park operations so it will be safe for park staff to accomplish their work and to enable us to provide as much safe summer access to the park as possible,” said Dominy.

“The late start of our work season this year combined with the need to address these storm damages means that we will have phased openings and closing of areas as issues are identified and resolved.”

PARK SUPERINTENDENT LYNNE DOMINY

The park remains under the Wisconsin Safer at Home order to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Areas in the park where social distancing, cleaning, and staffing are not possible will remain closed until those issues are resolved.

This includes interiors of all historic and public buildings, including the lighthouses and visitor centers. Outdoor areas like beaches, trails, boardwalks, lighthouse lawns, and docks will remain open for day uses as long as visitors socially distance and avoid congregating.

All overnight uses including camping and overnight docking remain closed (7 pm until 7 am) until further notice. Offshore mooring is permitted. Virtual visitor services via phone and email will continue, and staff will be present in many outdoor areas at Little Sand Bay, Meyer’s Beach, Raspberry and Stockton islands beginning June 20, 2020.

If contemplating a visit to a national park during this pandemic, the NPS asks visitors to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees.  This includes staying at home, with limited exceptions and, if using shared or outdoor space, maintaining social distancing of at least six feet.  

Three cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Bayfield County and the county is asking all seasonal residents to stay in their winter homes due to limited health services and supplies in this area.  A high percentage of the local population is over 65 so COVID-19 exposure could have devastating consequences to this at-risk community.

The NPS encourages you to take advantage of the many digital tools already available to explore Apostle Islands National Lakeshore from home, including the lakeshore website and Facebook page. 

Teleworking park educators are creating fun learning tools for kids. Parents and teachers can find resources at go.nps.gov/ApostleKids, with more resources added every week. 

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operationsFor more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions or call (715) 779-3398.

Virtual visitor centers will open closer to Memorial Day, with hours and services to be announced on the park website and Facebook. www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.