Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

How Was the Park Created

In 1970, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was established to protect the unique natural and cultural resources of the area. The park encompasses a diverse range of habitats, including forests, wetlands, sandstone cliffs, and the waters of Lake Superior. Today, the park offers opportunities for outdoor recreation, education, and conservation, attracting visitors from around the world to experience its natural beauty and rich history.

AINL History

Exploring the history of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (AINL) sheds light on the complexities surrounding its establishment and the evolving relationship with indigenous communities. Serious concerns have been raised regarding the current actions of the National Park Service (NPS), it is essential to understand the historical context that has shaped the AINL and the ongoing efforts towards reconciliation.
In the 1970s, there were attempts to incorporate lands belonging to the Bad River and Red Cliff bands of Ojibwe into the AINL. These efforts, led by Governor turned senator Gaylord Nelson, were made under a strategy known as “stealth termination,” which aimed to add Ojibwe lands and resources to the lakeshore without imposing financial burdens on Wisconsin. However, it is important to acknowledge the concerns raised about the deception and lack of consultation surrounding these decisions.
The term “stealth termination” suggests a covert or deceptive approach that undermined tribal sovereignty and treaty-guaranteed rights. The resistance shown by Native people during this period highlights their determination to reclaim tribal lands and protect their sovereignty.
It is crucial to address concerns raised in recent times and work towards a more inclusive and mutually respectful relationship between the AINL and indigenous communities.

AINL Issues

While Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a remarkable natural area, it’s important to recognize areas where the park may have faced criticism or made mistakes. Here are a few potential examples:
Visitor Safety Incidents: There have been instances of accidents and injuries within the park, particularly during winter months when visitors trek to see the ice caves. These incidents may raise questions about the adequacy of safety measures, signage, and visitor education regarding the risks of exploring the area during certain conditions.
Accessibility Challenges: Access to some areas of the park, especially during peak seasons, has been a concern. Limited parking, overcrowding at popular attractions, and difficulties in managing visitor flow may result in a less-than-ideal experience for visitors and could impact the park’s natural resources.
Environmental Impact Management: Despite efforts to minimize environmental impact, the influx of visitors can still have adverse effects on the fragile ecosystems of the Apostle Islands. Issues such as erosion, vegetation damage, and disturbance to wildlife habitats may raise questions about the effectiveness of management strategies.
Cultural Heritage Interpretation: While efforts have been made to preserve and interpret the cultural heritage of the area, including Indigenous history, there is serious room for improvement in engaging with Indigenous communities and incorporating their perspectives into park management and interpretation.
Communication and Outreach: There may be opportunities for the park to improve communication and outreach efforts, both with visitors and local communities. Clear and consistent messaging about park rules, safety guidelines, and conservation initiatives can help foster a greater understanding of the park’s mission and goals.
It’s important to note that addressing these challenges requires ongoing efforts from park management, staff, visitors, and stakeholders. By recognizing areas where improvements can be made and actively working to address them, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore can continue to fulfill its mission of preserving its natural and cultural resources for future generations to enjoy.

Scroll to Top