Park and Local History Articles

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Oldest National Park Service Ranger retires at 100

Oldest National Park Service Ranger retires at 100

Our national parks are a place for all ages, young and old. No single person embodies that sentiment quite as well as Betty Reid Soskin, the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service who retired recently at the age of 100. An interpretive ranger at Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park located in Richmond, CA, Soskin used her formidable and rich life experience to share the stories of the efforts of women from diverse backgrounds who worked, often unseen and unheralded, on behalf of the war effort. Her programs, says a recent National Park Service news release...

A Time Capsule Letter to the Future Stewards of the Apostle Islands

A Time Capsule Letter to the Future Stewards of the Apostle Islands

What would you say to the future? Our 50th anniversary celebration of the creation of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is over. The speeches have been given, the cupcakes eaten, the candles blown out. But the legacy of all we have accomplished in the park, our honoring of the past and excitement about the future, will live on in a kind of “time capsule” being submitted to the National Park Service commemorating this anniversary year. It will include pamphlets and pins, photographs and invitations and the texts of speeches given. It will include the proclamation issued in honor of the...

Lakeshore Logbook –  Susan Larsen and Sophie Howk

Lakeshore Logbook – Susan Larsen and Sophie Howk

Ranger Susan Larsen at age 23 Sophie and an old white pine on the trail to Sand Island Light 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 34rd 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. Susan Larsen worked as a seasonal...

Lakeshore Logbook –  Warren Bielenberg

Lakeshore Logbook – Warren Bielenberg

Warren Bielenberg serving as a volunteer-in-park at Great Smoky Mountains National Park 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 33rd 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. Warren Bielenberg was the park's first  first...

Lakeshore Logbook –  Jim Stowell

Lakeshore Logbook – Jim Stowell

Jim Stowell and a photo of Raspberry Island Keeper Lee Benton 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 31st 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. Jimm Stowell worked as Raspberry Island Ranger Interpreter from 2003...

Lakeshore Logbook – Matt Welter

Lakeshore Logbook – Matt Welter

Matt Welter 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 28th 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. Matt Welter was the park ranger/interpreter at Raspberry Island from 1990 to 1998. What is the coolest thing you did in...

History comes to life in the Apostle Islands: The maiden voyage of the Don A

History comes to life in the Apostle Islands: The maiden voyage of the Don A

Visitors who made the trip to Raspberry Island Lighthouse at noon on Friday, July 30th may be excused for thinking they had journeyed back in time. That’s when the 16 foot lighthouse skiff “Don A” pulled up to the Raspberry Island dock on its maiden voyage in the Apostle Islands. The Don A is a replica of the skiffs historically used by the lighthouse keepers in the Apostle Islands. The brainchild of former Bayfield Maritime Museum president Don Albrecht, the skiff was constructed by museum volunteers. Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and other donors supported the project...

Lakeshore Logbook – Diane Chalfant

Lakeshore Logbook – Diane Chalfant

Diane Chalfant 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 22nd 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. Diane Chalfant worked in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore from the spring of 1984 to the fall of 1990. She served...

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...

This month: 50th Anniversary exhibit at Washburn Cultural Center

This month: 50th Anniversary exhibit at Washburn Cultural Center

Visit the Washburn Cultural Center in June to explore and enjoy the intersection of art, poetry and science. The "A is for Apostle Islands" and "Island Intersections" exhibit displays the poetry and visual artwork from two projects celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Original visual art and poetry for the ABCs featured in the forthcoming book, A is for Apostle Islands, edited by Lucy Tyrrell, will be displayed. In addition the exhibit will include trios of “Island Intersections,” i.e. science summaries and the interpretations or responses of visual art and...