Islands would benefit from federal wilderness designation
Superior Daily Telegram
The plan to designate much of Apostle Islands National
Lakeshore as federal wilderness would be the next logical
step in preserving this remarkable area by Bayfield. The
National Park Service plan would set aside 33,500 acres
of islands in the park, or 80 percent of the land, as
protected wilderness. It hasn’t been controversial, perhaps
because little would change in the operation of the park.
Yet it’s important because the current restrictions would
become permanent. For example, the existing ban on snowmobiles
and all-terrain vehicles would come permanent under a
federal wilderness designation, according to Bob Krumenaker,
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore’s superintendent. But
boaters would be able to use the waters of Lake Superior
around the islands just like they can now.
The public comment period lasts until Oct. 17, so there’s
plenty of time for residents to give their opinion to
the Park Service, or join Gov. Jim Doyle and former U.S.
Sen. Gaylord Nelson in encouraging Congress to approve
the plan. Nelson, who started Earth Day, said these rare
islands should be "preserved in their natural state,"
and this plan offers the chance to do that.
Northland residents and community groups who want another
way to help take care of the islands will get their chance
on Saturday. It’s National Public Lands Day, and volunteers
are invited to participate in beach cleanups at three
beaches in the Apostle Islands as part of this year’s
International Coastal Cleanup. The coastal cleanup is
billed as the world’s largest single-day volunteer effort
to clean trash and debris from beaches, waterways and
reefs, last year drawing 400,000 people in 100 countries.
From 10 a.m. to noon, cleanup projects will be led by
park rangers at Little Sand Bay Beach and Meyers Beach
on the mainland and at Julian Bay Beach on Stockton Island.
Apostle Islands’ beaches are generally pretty clean, but
they can be cleaner, according to the National Park Service.
Volunteers will learn about the geology and natural history
of the beaches during the cleanup. Anyone interested in
taking part should report to Little Sandy Bay Visitor
Center (13 miles northwest of Bayfield), the Meyers Beach
parking lot (at the end of Meyers Road, 18 miles west
of Bayfield off Wisconsin Highway 13), or the Presque
Isle Visitor Center on Stockton Island by 10 a.m. For
information, contact Neil Howk at (715) 779-3397, ext.