Michigan Island Articles

Discover the Park – Islands

Planting history: Volunteers tend the Michigan Island gardens

Planting history: Volunteers tend the Michigan Island gardens

National Park history is often depicted on interpretive signs and in ranger talks. It is displayed in glass cases and glossy brochures. But in the Apostle Islands, history is alive and blooming in the historic gardens of the Michigan Island Lighthouse.Elizabeth Lane - NPS photoEd Lane served as the Michigan Island Lighthouse Keeper from 1902 to 1938, the longest stint of any keeper at a single Apostle Islands light. Somehow, among the work of raising three children on a remote island, Elizabeth Lane, the keeper’s wife, also found time for her passion: flower gardening. A coastguardsman who...

Friends volunteers follow in the footsteps of Michigan Island keepers and gardeners

Friends volunteers follow in the footsteps of Michigan Island keepers and gardeners

It’s a tough act to follow the lightkeepers of old. They were known for tending things - be it brass, the tower light or their flowers. Their gardens at the light stations reflected sincere diligence and pride. Each spring, usually the second week in June, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore volunteers follow in their footsteps, board a park service boat bound for Michigan Island, and tend to the gardens.“We always wonder what shape the gardens will be in, who survived, or what plants have multiplied. And then there are the weeds. No matter the condition, I am always amazed at...

Friends Volunteers Tend Historical Gardens

Friends Volunteers Tend Historical Gardens

Imagine tending something that is 112 years old. Three volunteers (limited due to COVID safety protocols) recently joined two National Park Service rangers with shovels and watering cans to tend the gardens at Michigan Island.Flowers bloom in front of the old Michigan Island Lighthouse – Erica Peterson photo“We are the keepers of the light” is a tune often sung at Big Top Chautauqua. Michigan Light was first built in 1856. Lighthouse families there kept gardens to supplement both their food and leisure life. Volunteers from Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore helped the park...

Lakeshore Logbook – Terry Daulton

Lakeshore Logbook – Terry Daulton

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we are collecting and sharing the stories of people connected to the islands, whether they are park guests, former residents or former park employees. This is the 25th in our series called “Lakeshore Logbook,” a collection of memories provided by former National Park Service employees. Living and working in the park on a day to day basis, they’ve experienced a lot to be sure. We hope you enjoy their perspectives. Terry Daulton worked in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore from 1981 through 1989 or 90. As a Student Conservation Association...

Friends volunteers lend their green thumbs, time and talent on Michigan Island

Friends volunteers lend their green thumbs, time and talent on Michigan Island

Gardening is an important part of the history of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Early lighthouse keepers planted fruit trees, vegetables and grains to provide nourishment for the body; they also planted flower gardens to nourish the soul. On Michigan Island, Elizabeth Lane raised three children where her husband, Ed, was keeper from 1902 until he retired in 1938. She also cultivated some amazing gardens. Of Elizabeth, Coast Guard Chief Walter Parker said,“How she used to love to get up to that island and get at that garden of hers. That whole station was one mass of...

Prescribed pile burns scheduled for Raspberry and Michigan Islands during week of June 13th

Prescribed pile burns scheduled for Raspberry and Michigan Islands during week of June 13th

The National Park Service says piles of accumulated wood debris at the Raspberry and Michigan Island light station cultural landscapes will be burned later this month.   In a statement, the Park Service said, "Weather permitting, prescribed burning of these piles is scheduled during the week of June 13th with the assistance of the National Park Service's Black Hills Fire Module.  Wind, humidity, smoke dispersion and surface moisture will be assessed before igniting any fires.  Please be aware that smoke may be visible." The Park Service said a 19-acre prescribed burn on the Highbush Unit,...

Lakeshore Logbook – Christy Baker

Lakeshore Logbook – Christy Baker

Christy Baker As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we are collecting and sharing the stories of people connected to the islands, whether they are park guests, former residents or former park employees. This is the 15th in our series called “Lakeshore Logbook,” a collection of memories provided by former National Park Service employees. Living and working in the park on a day to day basis, they’ve experienced a lot to be sure. We hope you enjoy their perspectives. Christy Baker worked as Branch Chief of Cultural Resources from 2005 to 2010. What is the coolest thing you did in Apostle...

Lighthouses are for lovers: an Apostle Islands love story

Lighthouses are for lovers: an Apostle Islands love story

Love can make a person do crazy things but would it be enough to make you brave nearly 25 miles of rough Lake Superior waters rowing in an open boat just to spend a few precious moments with your soulmate? Well, it would if you were Walter Daniels.  Although best known as the keeper of the Outer Island Light from 1918-1935, Daniels also did a stint at as the Assistant Keeper at the Michigan Island Light from 1908-1910. It was during this time that the young, perhaps more impetuous Daniels found himself smitten with one Emma Hahn, the niece of Sand Island Lightkeeper Emmanuel Luick. It is...

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...

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore reopens storm-damaged docks

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore reopens storm-damaged docks

Bayfield, WI (National Park Service News Release) – The National Park Service (NPS) is pleased to announce that the Michigan and Manitou Islands docks have been repaired and reopened.  Winter storms damaged these docks, causing safety hazards and the need for temporary closures.  “The Michigan dock gets damaged every year because of its open lake exposure to all storms. When you consider the purpose of lighthouses, it is easy to understand that building a dock by them makes those docks subject to big storms,” said park superintendent Lynne Dominy. “Our innovative and skilled maintenance team...