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Discover the Park – Park Info

2024 Island School students depart Bayfield for an adventure of a lifetime

2024 Island School students depart Bayfield for an adventure of a lifetime

A Superior send-off. For more than three decades, Island School has empowered local school kids to learn in and experience the beauty of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. They departed City Dock today on a three-day, two-night immersion experience on Stockton Island, led by Northland College and the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute and funded in part by Friends of the Apostle Islands.More than 5,000 students have attended Island School since it began in 1986... students who might otherwise not get to experience the islands. Former Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore...

In search of the sandiest place in the park

In search of the sandiest place in the park

You might say that sand is an important part of the Apostle Islands and one of the reasons why people come to visit them. The islands have a foundation of sandstone that is nearly a billion years old. Island shorelines feature a variety of spectacular sandy beaches. The Devils Island Sandstone produces the area’s signature sea caves. Julian Bay beach on Stockton Island is known for the “singing sand” that squeaks when you walk on it. A 2004 visitor survey revealed that walking on the beach was the second most popular activity for park visitors, second only to sightseeing. Sixty-six percent...

“For a couple hours I didn’t see another person… and yet, I was not alone”

“For a couple hours I didn’t see another person… and yet, I was not alone”

Exploring the many unnamed beaches in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore during the shoulder seasons can be a time for solitude, reflection and discovery. Take a walk on a mainland beach with former National Park Service ranger Neil Howk. Click on the photos to enlarge them if you want a closer look. Earlier this week I bushwhacked out to a remote stretch of beach west of Big Sand Bay to take in the scenery, have a nice picnic, and enjoy a little solitude. I was successful on all counts. The day was cool and overcast, and though the clouds were a bit threatening, it never rained. There...

WATERCOLORS: Five questions (+1) about painting in the Apostle Islands with watercolorist Dale Whittaker

WATERCOLORS: Five questions (+1) about painting in the Apostle Islands with watercolorist Dale Whittaker

Tinged with the colors of a morning sky, dotted with autumn leaves, reflecting the greens of pine needles and the soft orange of the sandstone walls, Lake Superior can seem like a work of art all by itself. The allure of those colors has long attracted painters seeking to capture even a glimpse of the natural beauty of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. Recently, Executive Director Jeff Rennicke spent a morning in the Islands with watercolorist Dale Whittaker drifting, talking about art and light and mystery and inspiration.As they talked, a painting began taking shape under the artistry...

Watch the video presentation: National Geographic: the story behind the story

Watch the video presentation: National Geographic: the story behind the story

I'm leaving tomorrow to go to Ukraine for couple of months," photographer David Guttenfelder told the audience. "I’ve spent my whole life going as far away as I possibly could from where I grew up, looking for adventure and telling stories…" “I grew up on the shore of Lake Superior and I had picnics with my grandparents numerous times... but then I wanted to go away too," said outdoors writer Stephanie Pearson. With vastly different backgrounds and experiences, these two well-traveled journalists, now based in Minnesota, talked about the value of coming home and about feeling the allure of...

Like being inside of a diamond: Apostle Islands shimmer with northern lights

Like being inside of a diamond: Apostle Islands shimmer with northern lights

It began with just a faint rippling of light. The sun had barely set, its light still coloring the sky, but already it was clear: something special was happening.NOAA northern lights forecast - click to enlargeOn the night of March 23, 2023, the sky over the northern United States glittered in one of the strongest displays of northern lights in decades, visible as far south as northern Missouri. In the Apostle Islands, clear skies and just a sliver of moon, meant perfect viewing conditions.Our Executive Director Jeff Rennicke caught the display over the national lakeshore. “To stand beneath...

Join us for “Apostle Islands in National Geographic: the story behind the story”

Join us for “Apostle Islands in National Geographic: the story behind the story”

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. In the magazine and online, writer Stephanie Pearson and award-winning National Geographic photographer David Guttenfelder captured in words and images the alluring...

Exploring Basswood Island’s brownstone quarry by skis and snowshoes

Exploring Basswood Island’s brownstone quarry by skis and snowshoes

Cross country skis and snowshoes can easily carry you across lake ice and snow. With the right destination in mind, they can also transport you back in time, to the late 1800s when miners used steam drills and derricks to harvest giant blocks of Apostle Islands brownstone destined for buildings in Chicago, Milwaukee and Bayfield.NPS MapAfter checking ice and weather conditions, Friends board members Mark and Erica Peterson and Neil Howk took advantage of a beautiful sunny day to make the trek from Roy's Point on the mainland across the West Channel to the south end of Basswood Island. Howk...

Get your copy of the National Geographic feature on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Get your copy of the National Geographic feature on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The Apostle Islands are a national treasure. In its March 2023 issue, National Geographic magazine celebrates their beauty and importance.The story, "Return to Wild Waters" calls the Apostle Islands a "sublime, yet dangerous playground for kayakers, sailors and powerboaters to explore." Author Stephanie Pearson and photographer David Guttenfelder collaborate to capture in words and images the alluring beauty, the cultural significance, and what the future may hold for this untamed wilderness in northern Wisconsin.  Pearson writes, "... in August 2021, I joined Guttenfelder for a segment...

Making tracks and following them: exploring Little Sand Bay in late winter

Making tracks and following them: exploring Little Sand Bay in late winter

On this first day of meteorological spring, let's be honest. Any hope that the mainland ice caves will open to foot traffic will have to wait until next winter. But if you're a fan of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, that's perfectly fine. Especially if you're prepared to take what the lake and the weather give you - and make the most of it.If you've been following our Facebook posts, you know that the vast majority of Lake Superior is open water right now, as has been the case all winter. The weather simply hasn't been cold enough, or calm enough, long enough to make more ice. As one...