Camping Articles

Discover the Park – Activities

A first look at new mainland campsites in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

A first look at new mainland campsites in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Normally, in late February, Friends board member Neil Howk would be planning cross country ski outings across the frozen lake to the old brownstone quarry at the south end of Basswood Island, to Honeymoon Rock at the north end of Basswood Island, or from Frog Bay Tribal National Park to the Oak Island sandspit. This year not only is the lake unfrozen, but there has been very little snow for cross country skiing anywhere in the Bayfield area.NPS Map of Lakeshore Trail (Click to enlarge map as well as photos below)Instead, Neil took advantage of two prematurely spring-like days to hike to the...

Nearly a quarter million people visit Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in 2023

Nearly a quarter million people visit Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in 2023

Visitation to our national parks grew by 13 million or 4% over 2022. The long-term trend line for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is also up.  However, a new report from the National Park Service says visits to the national lakeshore in 2023 fell slightly to 247,167 from 254,952 visits in 2022. Some of the decrease may be related to the summer closure of park headquarters in Bayfield for construction and an issue with the counter at Meyers Beach. The park service also noted that mainland campsites 2  and 3 (along the Lakeshore trail) were opened in 2023.The new park service visitation...

Abnormally dry conditions in the Apostle Islands prompt cautions about fire and potential bear encounters

Abnormally dry conditions in the Apostle Islands prompt cautions about fire and potential bear encounters

As drought-like conditions continue in much of northern Wisconsin, users of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are urged to be very careful with fire and to be vigilent about potential interactions with hungry black bears. As of June 21st, the Wisconsin DNR says the fire danger in Bayfield, Douglas and Ashland Counties is high, meaning "wildfires ignite easily, spread rapidly and can be challenging to control." The number of northern Wisconsin counties classified as "high danger" increased dramatically from June 20th. As the DNR graphic below also shows, the fire danger in the blue...

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore reopens island camping for summer 2021

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore reopens island camping for summer 2021

Bayfield, WI – (National Park Service) Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is reopening access to island camping, including group, individual, and primitive zone camping today.   To protect the health of those who work and visit national parks, face masks are required on NPS-administered lands where physical distancing cannot be maintained and in all NPS facilities. With the support of public health professionals, park operations will be regularly evaluated and adjusted...

And the sky danced – northern lights put on a show in the Apostle Islands

And the sky danced – northern lights put on a show in the Apostle Islands

CRACK! The lake ice is restless tonight, crackling out in the darkness like old bones, weakened by wind and warm spring days. But I am safely on solid ground along the mainland portion of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. It is nearing midnight. The stars overhead are as bright as sparks from a campfire. But it is not lake ice or campfires that have me out this late, alone and in the cold. It is what is happening just above the ice: here in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore the northern lights are out.    Northern lights over York Island with a meteor tail on the left - Jeff...

New National Park Service app features Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

New National Park Service app features Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Curious about the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and more than 400 other national parks? The National Park Service just launched an app that includes an interactive map and current information about the park we love. The app is called “National Park Service.” You can find it in iOS and Android app stores. According to the app description, ” The app was created by National Park Service staff—people who know national parks—to help you make the most of your visit. With all of these parks and a brand new app, it will take some time to finish creating content for each park. If you don’t find...

A burning question – are beach fires okay in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore?

A burning question – are beach fires okay in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore?

As a Friend of Apostle islands National Lakeshore, I have always puzzled over how to have a safe campfire on a beach, and leave no trace. We did it with an aluminum garbage can lid, a bucket, and a shovel. We brought local wood and carried out the few remaining ashes. We were determined not to add to the piles of charcoal randomly scarring the shoreline. There’s nothing like the combination of sounds… the crackling fire… the gentle waves lapping on the shore… the sounds of children playing in the distance.The view towards Sand Island from the mainland was magical on this breezy summer...

Where in the park is Neil? The week 17 answer is Michigan Island

Where in the park is Neil? The week 17 answer is Michigan 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. Lighthouse historian F. Ross Holland said that “within the boundaries of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is the largest and finest single collection of lighthouses in the country.”  At the seventeenth stop on our digital tour, Neil is on Michigan Island. It is home to the first lighthouse and the tallest...

Where in the park is Neil? The week 13 answer is Devils Island

Where in the park is Neil? The week 13 answer is Devils 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. At the thirteenth stop on our digital tour, Neil is in the light tower on Devils Island looking for the only Fresnel lens still found in an Apostle Islands tower. Devils Island is located at 47.0730° N, 90.7257° W. At various times in the 1800s, this island was also been known as Louisiana Island, Barney and...

Where in the park is Neil? The week 12 answer is Manitou Island

Where in the park is Neil? The week 12 answer is Manitou 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. At the twelfth stop on our digital tour, Neil is on Manitou Island, at 46.9640° N, 90.6594° W. This island is near the center of the archipelago. Beginning in the late 1800s, commercial fishermen built fishing camps on most of the Apostle Islands so they could live closer to locations where they set their...