Happy Birthday, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore!

Watch the video join us in singing happy birthday as we share birthday wishes for our Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The park’s official birthday was September 26, 1970. We’re celebrating 50 great years!

We invite you to enjoy some virtual birthday cake, tell us where you’re from and what you like most about the park we all love. Park visitors, park staff and supporters, you’re all invited to join this virtual celebration.

We’ve created lots of ways for you to add your voice and your photos to our digital birthday card. Choose the method that works best for you:

  • Fill in the form below to send us your birthday greeting message. We’ll add it to the growing list at the bottom of the page.
  • If you want to share favorite photos of you, your family and friends enjoying the park, send those to us along with a little bit about the story behind them at our special email address, friendsoftheapostleislandsnl@gmail.com. We’ll be adding slide shows to this page as images come in.
  • You can also post birthday greetings and photos to the Friends facebook page and we’ll add them to the card.

Submit your Happy Birthday greeting below and read the greetings submitted so far.

Happy Birthday,
Apostle Islands
National Lakeshore!

Happy Birthday, Apostle Islands! I love kayaking the sea caves and exploring your rugged beauty. Introducing friends and family to the park doubles the fun!
— Jon Okerstrom, Madison, Wisconsin


I love kayaking in the islands.
— Ruth Oppedahl


Happy Golden Anniversary of the establishment of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore 50 years ago! We are so fortunate that these islands will still offer the same ecological, historic, spiritual and recreational resources to future generations yet unborn. Where else can you see deep clear waters, my favorite thing, like we have here?
— Mark Peterson, Bayfield, WI


 Happy 50th to this natural treasure! And my sincere gratitude to those who worked to secure the legacy of these beautiful islands. I have been lucky enough to spend the past 3 summers sailing in the islands and am continually awe struck by by the beauty of the Park’s beaches, sand spits, sea caves, and towering white pines. Hear, hear to many years more!
— John Boyle, Bayfield, WI


Happy 50th Apostle Islands National Lakeshore!

💙

 It is Always fun to come home to such a Treasure and enjoy the Beautiful Nature that Surrounds.
— Maria Bresette, Hagerstown, MD


Happy 50th. Thank you for allowing us to remain on our beloved Bear Island for the time that was given to us . Please keep her safe and loved.
— Joan Masotas-Hoel, Waukegan, IL


Happy Anniversary Apostle Islands National Park. I cannot imagine a better neighbor. Thank you for the countless hours you give all your visitors. I like most the sense of untrammeled wildness I feel with every visit, so important to my soul, and knowing that it will always be so.
— Erica Peterson, Bayfield, WI


Mino Dibishkaa – Happy Birthday – to one of the most sacred and beautiful areas of the world.
— Michele, Ashland, WI


When I was a kid, my best friend’s family would take me along on week-long summer trips to Stockton Island. We did that for a number of years, and it was really magical to spend time on the beach, explore the floating peat bogs, or hike the island trails. When I was in college my friend and I organized another week-long trip. I have always been impressed that the quiet seemed unchanged from the 1990’s into the 2000’s (I hope it is still that way.) I consider the Apostle Islands to be one of the most underrated park units. I no longer live in Wisconsin, but I hope to get back again some day again with my wife. (Though maybe to Outer Island, instead, or some kind of sea kayaking trip to multiple islands…) Thanks for everything you do to protect a place I consider truly special.
— Davyd Betchkal, Cantwell, AK


Business partners of the Friends of the Apostle Islands are celebrating too. See what they have to say on their digital birthday card to the park.

Want to learn more about the history of the National Lakeshore and the people who worked tirelessly to make it happen? Click here to read the story.

Where in the park is Neil? The week 22 answer is Rocky Island

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.

An unusual aspect of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is that hunting, trapping, and fishing are permitted in the park according to Federal and State laws.  

Now that Labor Day has passed, hunting seasons are beginning to open.  

Though deer populations on the islands are generally low today, that was not always the case.  In 1954, in order to thin the deer population, the Wisconsin Conservation Commission established an “any deer” season in the islands.  Hunters took 124 deer off this 1,100-acre island in just one year. 

Rocky Island, located at 47.0344° N, 90.6789° W, currently has five individual campsites, a group campsite, a picnic area, and a public dock that is popular with boaters in the summer.  

The island also features an historic district composed of five fish camps that began in the 1930s on the island’s eastern shore.  Many of the cabins and docks associated with these camps survive today and are used seasonally by the families that once commercially fished the waters around Rocky Island.  

  • Deer hunters and their bounty
  • Aerial view of the historic district
  • Fish camps from the water
  • Boaters enjoy evening entertainment dockside
  • Rocky Island campsite

Camping is not currently allowed in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, due to the pandemic. Click here for information about the Rocky Islands campsites, all within a quarter-mile of the National Park Service dock.

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.

You can find updates about NPS operations on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. For more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore,  call (715) 779-3398 or visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions.

Sign up for the Friends newsletter

Sign up for our periodic Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore email newsletters, full of information about how you can get involved, what we’re doing to benefit the park and much more. We promise we won’t flood your in-box or your mailbox.

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Friends annouce new Executive Director position – applications now accepted

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT 

Executive Director, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

BACKGROUND:

Friends of the Apostle Islands (FAINL) are a diverse group of sailors, kayakers, boaters, divers, lighthouse lovers, hikers, campers, fishers, beachcombers, wildlife watchers, and many others, who share a love for the 21 islands and the 12 mile section of mainland that comprise the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore of Wisconsin’s Lake Superior north shore.  Our Mission is to promote an appreciation for, and preservation of, the natural environment and cultural heritage of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  Our Efforts connect people with the history, beauty, and adventure of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; support the educational, recreational, and resource protection efforts of the National Park Service; raise funds to support critical park projects and events; and increase community involvement with the Islands.  We work cooperatively with the National Park Service staff, similar to over 200 Friends groups across the country that are associated with other National Park units.

Established in 2002, the FAINL Board and dedicated volunteers have worked to build the organization with only a part-time administrative assistant.  Now, celebrating the 50th year of the National Lakeshore, and with a strong Board of Directors and a growing base of financial support and programmatic outreach, FAINL is poised for considerable growth and impact. Secure funding, a substantial and growing endowment, and tremendous growth opportunities makes it possible for FAINL to seek its first Executive Director.  

LOCATION: Proximity to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore headquartered in Bayfield, WI. 

RESPONSIBILITIES:

FUND-RAISING. Strategically lead the development and growth of FAINL’s philanthropic capacity to protect park resources, values and the visitor experience through fostering donor relationships, grant-writing, and fundraising activities.  Manage budgets effectively.

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. Cultivate strong productive working relationships with FAINL board, supporters, volunteers, local elected officials, partners, businesses, as well as the park superintendent and staff of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

COMMUNICATIONS. Develop effective communications and messaging to ensure they are effective and consistent with the organization’s objectives. Write for social media, website, newsletters, e-blasts and annual reports to communicate with supporters and build our network.

PROGRAMMING. Provide leadership in the direction, management and evaluation of FAINL’s four programmatic pillars: resource stewardship, visitor accessibility, visitor services, and outreach education. Develop and organize special public events to highlight the park and/or the organization.

VOLUNTEERS. Work to build a volunteer network for assisting the park staff with projects as well as FAINL directed projects.

SUPERVISION. Supervise one part-time Administrative Assistant and other staff as hired.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Self-motivated and able to work independently with direction from the Board President
  • Must have a commitment to, and passion for, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
  • An undergraduate degree with relevant work experience
  • Possess proven excellent written and verbal communication skills including interpersonal communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively. Comfortable presenting before groups.
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Experience and demonstrated ability to build effective relationships and partnerships, design strategic plans, and achieve programmatic goals
  • Demonstrated excellence in project management, record-keeping, budget and data management. Well-organized with attention to detail and follow-through to meet deadlines
  • Ability to develop, organize, promote and manage public events
  • Ability to organize and lead volunteers and partners
  • Ability to work productively with the National Park Service
  • Proficiency with PC computer systems, Microsoft Office, ability to learn Little Green Light donor database software
  • Ability to work some weekends and evenings
  • Demonstrated experience with fundraising, grant writing, and donor relations a plus
  • Experience with social media a plus

SALARY AND BENEFITS:

This is a full-time position working from your home. The annual salary is $60,000. Benefits include contribution towards health insurance, paid vacation, and flexible work hours.

TO APPLY:

Please place your application materials in one PDF document that includes a cover letter summarizing your interest in and qualifications for the position, and your resume. Indicate your last name -first name in the file name and email it as an attachment with “Executive Director Search” as the subject line to: friendsofapostleislandsnl@gmail.com.  Professional references will only be required of final candidates.  

The position will remain open until filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply by October 15, 2020.

Where in the park is Neil? The week 21 answer is Otter Island

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.

Today, Neil is traveling back in time 60 years to participate in what was probably the largest campout in the history of the Apostle Islands. 

Where in the park is Neil? 

In 1960, the Boy Scouts celebrated their golden jubilee with a four-day camporee on Otter Island, located at 46.9929° N, 90.7008° W. 1,500 Scouts, leaders, and personnel were transported to Otter Island three hundred at a time on the landing craft tank Outer Island.  

Work parties from Bayfield equipped with shovels, axes, and chain saws began work two months in advance, preparing campsites and assembly areas, clearing out logging roads, and building a boat landing. The Boy Scout motto is “be prepared!” and they were.

Camping at Otter Island today is a much different experience.  Evidence from the camporee is hard to find.  There is a single campsite near the dock at the same landing used by the scouts.  Storm damage to the dock was recently repaired and the dock is once again open to the public.  A two mile trail leads from the dock and campsite to an overlook at the north end of the island. 

  • Scouts land at Otter Island
  • Scouts land at Otter Island

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.

You can find updates about NPS operations on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. For more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore,  call (715) 779-3398 or visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions.

Sign up for the Friends newsletter

Sign up for our periodic Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore email newsletters, full of information about how you can get involved, what we’re doing to benefit the park and much more. We promise we won’t flood your in-box or your mailbox.

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Bear Activity on Oak Island Causes Restricted Access

Bayfield, WI (National Park Service News Release) – All public uses on Oak Island within Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are temporarily restricted to trained park staff due to unusual bear behaviors. This restriction is in effect beginning 8:00 am on August 28, 2020 until the bear no longer exhibits these behaviors. Public uses on Oak island are temporarily closed however public access to the rest of the park’s 20 islands remains open. 

“Multiple reports were received this month of a bear following researchers, park staff, and visitors and ignoring attempts to scare it away,” said park superintendent Lynne Dominy. “For public and employee safety, we have restricted access to Oak Island to only park staff who are trained in bear deterrence techniques.”   

Oak Island, one of the largest and closest islands to the mainland, has a very high density of bears. This time of year, bears are in-between food sources.  The berry season has ended and acorns and other nuts are not yet available, causing a reduction in their food supply and changes to their feeding behaviors. This happens annually, although most black bears avoid human interaction, run from noise, and respond to human attempts to scare them away.  

“Trained staff haze bears with a variety of techniques, including those that make noise, have a flash of light, and rubber bullets to discourage their presence in visitor use areas and from approaching people,” said park Chief of Resource Management Julie Van Stappen. “Learning this behavior then enables the bears and the people to both use these islands without negative interactions.” 


Remember, the park is bear country and bears can occur anywhere within the park:  

🐻 Remain at least 50 feet from a bear.   

🐻 If you encounter a bear on the trail, let it know you are there and back away slowly. If it follows you or doesn’t back away, make yourself big (raise your arms), and yell, until it leaves the area.  

🐻 If a bear approaches you near a dock, campsite, or picnic area, make yourself big (raise your arms), and yell, until it leaves the area.   

🐻 Be sure to keep your food and other smelly items locked on a boat or in a bear resistant food locker when not in use.   


Thanks for your help staying safe and keeping our bears wild!  

go.nps.gov/ApostleSafety  

For your safety, we ask that you enjoy another island or mainland location within the park.  The many trails and beaches within the rest of the park remain open.  The closure will be re-evaluated weekly.  As soon as it appears the bear will stay away from visitor use areas, the public access to Oak Island will be restored. Trails on Oak were the hardest hit by recent storms and sections are currently impassable. Those trails will remain closed until trail crews can remove hazard and downed trees. 

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.  As of September 3rd, community spread of the virus continues and forty-seven 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 www.nps.gov/apis or call (715) 779-3338. Virtual park visitor centers are open with hours and services shown on the park website and Facebook.

(Editor’s note: The bear image is a file photo)   

Where in the park is Neil? The week 20 answer is the Lakeshore Trail

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.

Though the National Park Service’s goal is to preserve the Apostle Islands “unimpaired” for future generations, the fact is that the area changes all the time.  When you visit the same area repeatedly, you can often note of the changes.  Today, Neil is visiting an area that he has been to many times over the past 35 years. 

Where in the park is Neil? 

Neil Loves hiking the Lakeshore Trail to overlooks of the mainland sea caves.  Wind and waves are constantly carving the Devils Island sandstone that forms these cliffs.  

The cliffs and sea caves are not the only features along the trail that change.  The forests along the top of the cliffs change dramatically from season to season, and sometimes from day to day.  

Powerful windstorms this summer toppled hundreds of trees throughout the park, including a stand of century old red pines just north of the “Bowl” at the mainland caves. 

The slideshow below shows one of the views from the mainland trail in all seasons… winter, spring, summer and fall.

The Lakeshore Trail starts at the Meyers Road parking lot. The trail extends about 4.5 miles, from Meyers Road, past the cliffs above the mainland sea caves, and approximately halfway along the lakeshore’s mainland unit ending at a backcountry campsite.

You will find a boardwalk covering the first 0.7 miles of trail. A little more than a mile down the trail, you’ll find a natural bridge and the first of several sea cave overlook points. Click here for more information on hiking the Apostle Islands.

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.

You can find updates about NPS operations on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. For more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore,  call (715) 779-3398 or visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions.

Sign up for the Friends newsletter

Sign up for our periodic Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore email newsletters, full of information about how you can get involved, what we’re doing to benefit the park and much more. We promise we won’t flood your in-box or your mailbox.

Subscribe

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Shaw Point on Sand Island designated a National Register Historic District

Bayfield, WI – (National Park Service News Release) Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is pleased to announce that the Shaw Point Historic District on Sand Island in Lake Superior was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 27, 2020. 

Located in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the newly designated historic district holds a unique collection of three neighboring properties at Sand Island’s southeastern edge.

The district’s buildings and landscape reflect the interconnected commercial, agricultural, recreational, and seasonal residential development of the island. Shaw-Hill Farm started in 1870 as a commercial fishing camp and farm. Camp Stella, a summer resort founded in 1886, came next in the district’s evolution. In 1909, the Campbell-Jensch property was the first on Sand Island’s southern shore to be used solely as a second home. Eventually, Shaw-Hill Farm and Camp Stella became private seasonal getaways as well.  

The lengthy process behind the district’s designation was made possible by a public-private partnership overseen by Apostle Islands National Lakeshore staff, and funded and coordinated by the Apostle Islands Historic Preservation Conservancy (AIHPC) with donations from historic Sand Island families. Previous collaboration between the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and AIHPC was successful in nominating Sand Island’s West Bay Club to the National Register in 2014. The designation of the Rocky Island Historic District in 2008 also had financial support from the AIHPC member Benson family, which previously had a fish camp and cabins there. 

For Shaw Pont, AIHPC hired a multidisciplinary team lead by historian Charlene Roise of Hess, Roise and Company to assess the district’s significance. After extensive research, fieldwork, and evaluation, the team concluded that the property qualified for the National Register. Hess Roise subsequently prepared the nomination in close consultation with AIHPC, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and the Wisconsin Historical Society’s State Historic Preservation office. All in all, the assessment and nomination process took seven years. 

“Although most people know Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for its dramatic sea caves and offshore beaches, every island is layered with human history extending thousands of years back in time. This national registry designation assures that we will remember that people have and always will be an integral part of this landscape.”

superintendent Lynne Dominy

AIHPC chairman Tom Gordon said, “A major part of what makes the Apostle Islands so special is the connection of the people who have lived here to the land and water. We are delighted to have been able to work with the National Park Service to achieve this designation that recognizes that historical connection.” 

The properties included in the historic district are subject to reserved rights held by the Sand Island families. The properties are not open to the public, except by appointment, however, the families are working on virtual ways to share these stories and on future ways to host public open houses.  The families maintain these properties to preserve the stories, structures, and landscapes for future generations.  

Listing on the National Register offers some legal protection for historic properties and can help maintenance and preservation. It is also raises public awareness of the significance and condition of the broad array of properties that represent America’s history. 

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/ApostleConditions and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/apostleislandsnationallakeshore/

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center renamed to honor David Obey

Supporters of The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center gathered virtually and in-person on August 28, 2020 to celebrate the center’s renaming as the “David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.”

The Center opened in 1998 and is a unique partnership involving The US Forest Service, National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Historical Society, University of Wisconsin – Extension, and the Friends of the Center Alliance, Limited.

David R Obey
Former Congressman David R. Obey

Congressman Obey was instrumental in establishing the Center which showcases elements of Great Lakes history, natural resources, and visitor information under one roof. The Center includes indoor exhibits and activities as well as interpretive nature trails on the grounds.

Obey served in the House of Representatives for Wisconsin’s 7th congressional district from 1969 to 2011.

He served as Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations from 1994 to 1995 and again from 2007 to 2011.

Obey said of the renaming, “I am honored to join Gaylord Nelson and Martin Hanson as the junior partner in long term efforts to remind the public where human beings fit in the scheme of things.”

He went to on to say, “Wisconsin is known as the environmental and conservation center of the Great Lakes region. This facility is here as a reminder that forces far greater than human will have shaped the land that we love.”

Obey continued, “This building is a reminder in this era of political divisiveness that cooperation and teamwork are still useful tools in the hands of public servants. That’s what it took to produce this educational tool for the public, adults and kids alike.”

Speakers lauded Obey for his commitment to “fighting the good fight,” to environmental protections and to representing the people of northern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers

Governor Tony Evers said, “Dave has been there fighting the good fight for progress. He offered a lot, he accomplished a lot. He understood our state at its best. I know the people of Wisconsin our communities, their land and water will benefit for generations to come, for your work, Dave. Congratulations on this incredibly well-deserved honor. Thanks, Dave!”

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin

Senator Tammy Baldwin said, “This place is special. And it reflects Dave’s love and appreciation for the environmental beauty of the north woods. And it honors his years of public service and commitment to making environmental protection and conservation a top priority for our state and our nation. Generations of Wisconsinites will know your hard work, defending Wisconsin’s Great Lakes and protecting the natural treasures of this great state.”

Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson

Governor Tommy Thompson said, “I was proud to work with him on this project when I was governor, like we did on many, many others.” Thompson said, “The end result is a wonderful welcome to those visiting Wisconsin’s north coast up on the big lake.”

Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan

Congressman Mark Pocan said, ” I am really happy to be here today to honor Dave Obey. Dave is an institution in Washington. Dave is truly a master of making sure that we put our values through our investments… where you really care about things is where you put your money. Thank you for all you’ve done for Wisconsin. The visitor center wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for you. We need to make sure we recognize the value… You have made a profound impact.”

Former Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch

State Senator Bob Jauch said. “You are a cherished friend and mentor. I can’t think of a better way to honor your career.” Jauch added, “In naming this center, we are recognizing your legacy… Over four years you never lost sight of where your heart was… that was in northern Wisconsin.”

Tia Nelson

Tia Nelson, daughter of former Senator Gaylord Nelson said, “Dave is, like my father, the embodiment of what it means to be an honorable public servant, to fight the good fight for what’s right, no matter the obstacles. Certainly had to do that to get the Visitor Center built.” Nelson said, “Dave, my father, Martin – they fought long and hard, they faced many obstacles, they never gave up.” She also shared some historic photographs that will hang in the Visitor Center.

Lynne Dominy, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Superintendent

Lynne Dominy, Superintendent of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore said Obey saw the importance of the National Lakeshore and public lands. “We appreciate all of the things you’ve done for us, your service, your support, your visision and your stewardship and your commitment to National Parks and to public land.”

You can watch the ceremony on Obey’s Facebook page.

SPEAKERS:
FOCAL President Mary Motiff (emcee)
USFS Forest Supervisor Paul Strong
Apostle Islands Nat’l Lakeshore Sup. Lynne Dominy
Gov. Tony Evers
Sen. Bob Jauch
UW System President Tommy Thompson
Rep. Mark Pocan
Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Congressman Dave Obey
Tia Nelson
Mic Isham, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission


The David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is located on County Highway G just off of US Highway 2, two miles west of Ashland.

The Visitor Center is closed until further notice to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. The trails and grounds remain open. The Spirit of the North Gift Shop is open and employees will be providing Visitor Services outside on a limited basis. Click here for more information.

The Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore join the distinguished speakers in congratulating Congressman Obey on this special day and in thanking him for all he has done. We look forward to seeing the newly renamed Visitor Center open and thriving once again.

David R. Obey Great Lakes Visitor Center photo credit: US Forest Service

Where in the park is Neil? The week 19 answer is Bear Island

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.

Neil is on Bear Island, located at 46°57′55″N 90°39′51″W.

From the sandstone ledge on the shore of this island named for a large furry animal you can see Devils Island across the lake to the north.   

Though Bear Island may be a relatively lightly visited island today, it has seen a variety of uses in the past.  

The sandspit on the south end of the island supported a commercial fishing camp for many years.  

A few log walls near the north end of the island mark the remnants of a logging camp from the late 1930s.  

A few families also built summer cabins on the island.  

  • Bear Island shoreline
  • Bear Island shoreline
  • Sea kayakers paddling near shoreline sea caves on Bear Island
  • Bear Island fish camp
  • Fisherman John Fried at Bear Island fish camp
  • Fisherman John Fried at Bear Island fish camp
  • Remains of logging camp structure on Bear Island
  • Abandoned summer cabin (from expired use and occupancy lease)

 At this time the island does not have any docks, campsites, or trails.  Bear Island does have some lovely beaches and dramatic shoreline cliffs.  It is a popular rest spot for paddlers heading to Devils Island. 

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.

You can find updates about NPS operations on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. For more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore,  call (715) 779-3398 or visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions.

Sign up for the Friends newsletter

Sign up for our periodic Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore email newsletters, full of information about how you can get involved, what we’re doing to benefit the park and much more. We promise we won’t flood your in-box or your mailbox.

Subscribe

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Shoreline stabilization to protect historic Apostle Islands buildings completed

A high-priority shoreline stabilization project completed this month now protects historic buildings on Sand Island in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Extremely high water and wind-driven waves have gradually eroded the fragile clay shoreline in front of the historic West Bay Club. This property, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has been threatened since 2015. The erosion undermined and damaged the ice house building which was built near the shore in 1913.

This photograph, made in May of 2020 shows the eroded shoreline before the repair project began – NPS photo

Crews stabilized the structure last fall until the shoreline work could be completed. The goal of this project was to prevent further building damage and erosion.

Ice house stabilized and anchored in October of 2019 – NPS photo

Bad weather delayed the project but this month, crews transported tons of boulders from Bayfield aboard a World War II-era landing craft now named the Outer Island. This vessel has a long history in the area; the owners of the Lullaby Furniture Company used it to haul logs from the islands in the 1950s. The vessel is now used for dredging, setting docks and for projects like this one.

C&W Trucking of Bayfield provided the rock and excavator and the skilled operator to place the rock.  This is very skillful work: landing an excavator on an exposed beach, offloading 100 cubic yards of rock, and carefully placing the rock to form a solid line of armor stone is not an easy task. The operation took two days.

  • The LCT Outer Island departs Bayfield. Photo credit: Leonid Gurevich
  • The LCT Outer Island delivers rock and equipment to Sand Island
  • An excavator operator moves the boulders into place
  • Crews stabilized the damaged structure to prevent it from falling into the lake before these repairs were made
  • Anchored ice house
  • Building the historic West Bay Club Lodge
  • Historic West Bay Club Lodge
  • Collapsed shoreline, May 2020
  • Restored shoreline


This collaborative effort was made possible the Apostle Islands Historic Preservation Conservancy, Friends of the Apostle Islands, private donors interested in preserving the cultural story of Sand Island, national lakeshore staff and community businesses.

The AIHPC has proudly committed $29,470 to the the riparian work project and ice house restoration. All involved want to move our attention next to preserving the integrity of the icehouse and the main lodge at this beautiful location. 

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