National parks belong to all of us. Our strong partnership with the National Park Service, business partners, and organizations is removing barriers for people of all abilities to explore the Apostle Islands. Our Access for All fund is helping to leverage funds and support in a variety of ways, from the creation of the all-accessible Stockton Island amphitheater to captioning videos and alt-text features on our internet offerings. The need to enhance park accessibility for all is a major goal of Friends and the National Park Service and an important focus of our work.
The heart of our parks is the people who explore them, learn about them, love them, and then work to protect them. If the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is to thrive in the face of changing times, we must work to keep (or make) the park relevant to both current and future generations. Friends works to connect with all demographics including those who have yet to experience our national parks to ensure a strong base of park users, park supporters, and park lovers through our support of programs like Stewards of Tomorrow, and Island School. We also offer adult education through programs, publications, outreach, podcasts, and more.
To love a place is to give back. Friends offers our members a wide variety of ways to give back to the islands. Plant beach grass on the Raspberry Island sandspits or mainland beaches to prevent erosion, tend the historic gardens at the Michigan Island Lighthouse or the Gaylord A. Nelson garden on the headquarters grounds, build bat houses, participate in litter pickups to keep trash out of the lake and off our islands, educate beach walkers about the fragility of nesting piping plovers, help with public outreach at events, all of these and more help you help the islands you love.
How do we preserve history in the park? How do we ensure that others can experience the dark skies or diversity of wildlife for generations to come? We become stewards of this place. Friends works with the park to provide funding for projects like the restoration of historic structures, purchasing bear boxes to keep both campers and wildlife safe, exploring the role of Citizen Science projects in the park, purchasing solar shares for the new Visitor Center at Little Sand Bay to lower its carbon footprint, and considering a Dark Sky designation to keep the stars shining bright. We all have a hand in the future. Help us use it wisely.
Safe boating is informed boating
Wave Watch is a partnership with UW-Madison and the National Park Service to deploy a system of 5-8 solar-powered buoys in the Apostle Islands, giving kayakers, sailors, and power boaters real-time wave and wind information refreshed every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day. Real information when you need it most.
Help us return the buoys to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in the summer of 2024 and beyond.
Starry Skies Initiative
You can help keep those stars shining bright.
Click each of the tabs displayed below to learn more about projects related to our four pillars.
If your travels bring you to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore this month, stop by the park’s Meyer Beach trailhead. If it’s a Saturday, chances are good that you might find a Friends of the Apostle Islands board member ready and eager to meet you at this popular...
Rennicke told the audience, on the radio and online, that “we are about half way in our fundraising efforts. We’d like to get them done by the end of October and you can help us do that by helping us with our Access for All initiative.” You can donate here. Dominy said the goal is to match the money Friends is raising with money from the National Park Service or its partners. “We’re hoping to raise enough money to make that match at the end of this summer, so we can move this project forward and and potentially fund it next year to get it fixed,” she said.
Supporters urged to “dream of what the Apostle Islands could become” during Madison Access for All event
Dreams of a more accessible Apostle Islands National Lakeshore met reality as dozens gathered at Rutabaga Paddlesports in Madison for an Access for All event. The gathering brought together donors, potential donors, Friends members and anyone interested in the Apostle Islands for an evening of food and conversation. Representatives from Senator Tammy Baldwin and the Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation attended the event to learn more about the Access for All campaign.
Friends of the Apostle Islands is working to support the accessibility projects of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore through its Access for All initiative. This free gathering on Tuesday, June 27th from 6:00pm to 7:30pm will both celebrate what has already been accomplished and let you know how you can add your support to major new accessibility features within the park including a 520-foot wheelchair accessible ramp at the popular Meyers Beach kayak launch. Come see the new home of Rutabaga Paddlesports. Come talk paddling in the Apostle Islands. Come help make one of the country’s best paddling destinations even more accessible for all. Join the fun and make a difference, for everyone.
“Why I support the Meyers Beach accessible ramp may surprise you.” Public comment period ends May 12th
An unseen patch of late-winter black ice changed my life in an instant. My feet took flight as I went airborne. I landed on my side with a bone-shattering thud, a shout and a groan. In that instant, I became something I never expected. I became physically disabled....
Friends endorses Meyers Beach ramp, Little Sand Bay trails, encourages you to show your support before comment period ends
With the public comment period winding down, now is the time to show the National Park Service your support for Access for All and the exciting Meyers Beach accessible ramp project, as well as a companion project that includes a new trail system at Little Sand Bay. You only have until May 12th to add your voice on the National Park Service website.
The March issue of National Geographic magazine celebrates Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with the kind of global exposure few other publications can match. “Return to Wild Waters” describes the Islands as a “sublime, yet dangerous playground for kayakers, sailors and powerboaters to explore.” And on March 30th at 7 p.m., you’ll be able to experience the story behind the story during a special online event.
The Apostle Islands are a national treasure. In its March 2023 issue, National Geographic magazine celebrates their beauty and importance.
Full Circle: Second and third grade students from Georgia visit the Apostle Islands on a virtual tour of our national parks
With Education as one of our pillars, opportunities to learn and teach others about the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore have always been an important part of the mission of Friends. Recently, Executive Director Jeff Rennicke, a former teacher himself, had the chance to speak by Zoom to the second and third grade students of Ms. Hildebrandt’s class from High Meadows School in Roswell, Georgia.
The new friendsoftheapostleislands.org offers stunning visuals, a new “Discover the Park” section and new tools designed to make the site more accessible to people of all abilities.
By Erica Peterson For me, the history of the Apostle Islands School reads like a logbook—full of sketches, personal reflections, images, challenges, and surprising outcomes. It’s stuffed with lesson plans, menus, Ojibwe words, and most importantly, the life changing...
Raise your right hand and repeat after the ranger: “I am proud to be a National Park Service Junior Ranger. I promise to appreciate, respect, and protect all national park places. I also promise to continue learning about the landscape, plants, animals, and history of...
The northern lights, or the “aurora borealis,” is one of the treasures of the dark skies over these islands.
In late June, a group armed with shovels, rakes and a willingness to get their hands dirty arrived on Michigan Island to care for the gardens.
Thanks to the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore volunteers who spent a day planting beachgrass at Little Sand Bay on the mainland, as well as on Raspberry Island.