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Wave Watch buoys are live! Watch the deployment video and learn how the buoys can help you stay safe on the water

Wave Watch buoys are live! Watch the deployment video and learn how the buoys can help you stay safe on the water

With light winds, sunshine and mild temperatures, deployment day was nearly perfect. On the morning of May 29th, a team loaded a National Park Service boat with buoys, anchor lines, hardware and high-visibility flags, then set out from Roy's Point for the north end of Long Island - the entrance to Chequamegon Bay. There, they deployed the first solar-powered spotter buoy for the 2024 season, as part of the Wave Watch boater safety project. Watch the video and read on for details.  Click to read video transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF reader required)The Wave Watch buoy deployed at Long...

Celebrate the northern lights by giving back to the night sky

Celebrate the northern lights by giving back to the night sky

They were beautiful, one of the greatest aurora displays in decades with the sun sending at least five immense CME’s (coronal mass ejections) streaming towards the earth, creating a G5 Auroral Storm that made the northern lights visible to a wider swath of the world than we have seen in decades.Northern lights over the Apostle Islands - Jeff Rennicke photosThe sky danced. Not just over the Apostle Islands but as far south as Florida and Texas here in the U.S. and around the world. They shone over the battlefield in Ukraine. The sky glowed pink in Tyrol, Austria. Airline passengers looked out...

Know before you go: Get your free Wave Watch QR code cling for the upcoming boating season

Know before you go: Get your free Wave Watch QR code cling for the upcoming boating season

One scan of this new Wave Watch QR Code and you’ll be safer on the water this boating season. Friends of the Apostle Islands has partnered with researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the National Park Service to create Wave Watch, a series of strategically placed weather buoys offering boaters free, real-time wave data for five popular boating locations in the Apostle Islands starting in June of 2024. See the real-time data here. Grab a FREE 4x4 inch sticker or cling for your boat window or water bottle or anywhere on your vessel. Scan the QR Code with your phone and you’ll...

Beauty from above: A winter hike on the Lakeshore trail

Beauty from above: A winter hike on the Lakeshore trail

It has been a winter of extremes: the warmest December on record in many parts of the northland, historically low ice coverage on Lake Superior, and then the plummeting temperatures of mid-January. There were windless days on end with the lake barely rippled and then a storm bringing gusts up to 53 miles an hour at Devils Island churning the lake into waves of 12 to 15 feet.There is beauty in extremes, the kind of beauty that can turn a hike into a journey through a landscape of enchantment. Recently, our Executive Director Jeff Rennicke ventured into that enchanted landscape and sent back...

Thin ice: How historically low ice coverage affects Apostle Islands, Great Lakes

Thin ice: How historically low ice coverage affects Apostle Islands, Great Lakes

It's open water - not ice - as far as the eye can see. Not only in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore but across all of the Great Lakes. As of New Year's Day, less than 1% of Lake Superior was ice-covered - a tiny percentage but still the largest percentage of any Great Lake. Combined, ice covered roughly one-third of one percent of the surface area of all of the lakes as of the first of the year; that's the lowest level in 50 years and the percentage is growing very slowly. As you can see on the map from the US National Ice Center, ice on Lake Superior is now mostly confined to the bays...

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...

“Discover the night” in the Apostle Islands during International Dark Sky Week

“Discover the night” in the Apostle Islands during International Dark Sky Week

30 miles offshore, Devils Island and Outer Island offer some incredible views of the Milky Way set in a field of innumerable stars. And if you’re very fortunate, you'll witness the spectacular northern lights dancing in some of the darkest skies in Wisconsin. The featured photo above captures the northern lights as seen from the top of the Outer Island lighthouse. In fact, most of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers great night sky viewing; night sky lovers, stargazers and photographers want to protect those views for generations to come.Milky Way over Stockton Island - Jon...

The lake effect is in full effect in the Bayfield and the Apostle Islands

The lake effect is in full effect in the Bayfield and the Apostle Islands

The winter of 2022/23 is one for the record books for Bayfield and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. A massive 158.7 inches of snow - so far - makes this the snowiest winter on record. Thanks to the lake effect snow machine, the previous record of 150.3 inches in 2013/14 didn't stand a chance. And while we're several weeks into meteorological spring, you wouldn't know it in Bayfield. Friends board member Erica Peterson says, "Spring is supposed to enter next week with temps in the 50s but today winter lake effect is in full display. I wouldn't trade our last few days of winter for...

Friends shares top social stories of 2022 as we anticipate an exciting 2023

Friends shares top social stories of 2022 as we anticipate an exciting 2023

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful." Yes, it's a line from the holiday standard, "Let it snow," but it also applies to this story. As we wrap up 2022, we're looking back at the top social stories of the year and weather is among the most popular topics. For this year-ending Top 10 list, we're looking at the Friends Facebook posts and related stories that reached the most people and sparked the most interest.At number ten on the list, "Talk about a beautiful sight. Today is #WorldWaterDay 2022." Our Facebook post featured this satellite photo showing the Apostle Islands locked in ice,...

The Big Chill: What causes dramatic changes in Lake Superior water temperatures?

The Big Chill: What causes dramatic changes in Lake Superior water temperatures?

After a hot, sweaty hike, there’s nothing more refreshing than a dip in the lake at Julian Bay Beach on Stockton Island. If Lake Superior stays calm enough long enough, the shallowest water, warmed by the sun, can be pleasantly refreshing. Wade out farther and you’ll find the significantly colder water just a few feet below the surface. However, if you throw in some wind and waves, the water temperature can and does drop dramatically. On a much larger scale, surface water temperatures in Lake Superior are always changing, as they are in Julian Bay. In late July surface water temperatures on...