plans presented on Apostle Island Wilderness study
The Ashland Daily
The National Park Service has released five alternative
plans for how much of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
should be declared wilderness.
The alternatives recommend wilderness designation ranging
from zero to more than 90 percent of the park's land base.
That represents from zero to 39,500 of the park's 42,160-acre
The NPS started the wilderness study process a year ago
with a public comment period on the general question of
designating none, some or all of the park as wilderness.
Nearly 5,000 public comments were gathered during the
first phase of the study completed last year. Those comments
were used by the National Park Service to draft five potential
alternatives. More than 80 percent of the comments received
favored designating at least some of the park as official
"The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a place that
is special to many different kinds of people," said park
superintendent Bob Krumenaker. "The wilderness study process
we are involved in is a wonderful opportunity for the
people who love this park to help determine the future
of the islands."
Now the service wants public input again on those alternatives
and will hold a series of open house events. People can
also get more information and comment through the national
NPS officials have said that a wilderness designation
will not significantly change the way the park is managed.
That's because for the past 12 years, most of the park
-- 97 percent -- has been managed as if it already was
designated wilderness, under the guidelines of a 1989
General Management Plan.
If the park is already managed for wilderness, why go
through the process of studying its suitability?
Federal law and NPS policy requires the park be evaluated
for possible inclusion in the national wilderness preservation
This would have been done long ago for the lakeshore
but wasn't, primarily because funds were not available
for the study.
In the earlier comment period, most people that did not
favor wilderness designation had concerns that access
to the islands would be restricted and/or boating would
be more restricted if the park is designated as wilderness.
The access concerns may stem from a controversial park
plan for Isle Royale National Park, which pitted boaters
against those preferring quiet zones around the park.
That issue probably won't pertain to AINL because jurisdiction
between the two parks differ.
The NPS owns the water for one-half mile out from Isle
Royale, so it could set policies relating to boaters near
However, the State of Wisconsin owns the lake bottom
around the Apostles, and the NPS, while having jurisdiction
over the water one-quarter mile around each island, doesn't
In all of the proposed alternatives, including the one
with the most land designated for wilderness, certain
areas are excluded from wilderness designation, including:
* current docks, or areas near the docks
* cultural and historic sites including lighthouses and
* waters and submerged lands of Lake Superior
* mainland unit of the park
* Manitou Island Fish Camp
* southeast tip of Sand Island
* West Bay Club on Sand Island
The service will take comments on the alternatives through
August 1 and choose one later this year. A final decision
isn't expected until 2004.
In the end, Congress has the final say on whether any
of the park gets designated as wilderness.
Public meetings on the proposed wilderness options for
the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore will be held on:
* July 5 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Presque Isle Visitor
Center on Stockton Island, in Apostle Islands National
* July 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room C of
the Tribal Administrative Building for the Bad River Band
of Lake Superior Chippewa in Odanah
* July 9 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bayfield Pavilion
adjacent to the City Dock in Bayfield
* July 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Red Cliff Bingo
Hall adjacent to the Isle Vista Casino in Red Cliff
* July 11 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton/Capitol
Hotel at 400 North Hamline Avenue in St Paul, Minnesota
For those unable to attend the meetings, information
on the park's Wilderness Study and copies of the alternatives
workbook can be obtained at the National Park Service
web site at www.nps.gov/apis/wstudy.htm or by calling
the park at 715-779-3397.
Questions or comments can also be e-mailed to: email@example.com.
Comments will be accepted through August 1. After considering
the comments, the park will have a draft recommendation
regarding wilderness available for public review by summer