Wisconsin isle, shore await U.S.
By Tom Henry
The Toledo Blade
STOCKTON ISLAND, Wis. - Residents of the Great Lakes region
might be surprised to learn there is an island off the
northern Wisconsin shoreline that has one of the world’s
largest concentrations of black bear.
Stockton Island has 20 to 40 bear on 10,054 acres. That
might seem like a fair amount of room for the animals
to spread out, but to the bear it is as crowded as New
The island, known for its old growth forests and wide
sandy beaches, is one of the features of the Apostle Islands
National Lakeshore - a collection of 21 Lake Superior
islands that President Bush might ask Congress to designate
federally protected wilderness this fall.
The National Park Service recently completed a suitability
study calling for at least 80 percent of the lakeshore
to receive the designation to forbid development in restricted
The lakeshore, which includes a 12-mile strip of mainland
shoreline, encompasses 69,372 acres. The lakeshore was
established by Congress on Sept. 26, 1970, five months
after America celebrated its first Earth Day. Both took
place at the urging of former U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson
"America’s special affection for wilderness is tied
to its love of the frontier," said William Cronon,
a University of Wisconsin professor. "I don’t think
there’s much doubt these islands are a wilderness."
Wilderness-designated areas also require a lighter use
of the land, including a ban on motorized vehicles and
chain saws. The designation would not be used as justification
to remove boat docks and existing public access, said
Bob Krumenaker, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore superintendent.