2020 – 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

by Jim Dittmann
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Publisher’s note: A Wisconsin Treasure. The Apostle Islands – Bayfield – Lake Superior are some of my favorite places on the planet. We are so fortunate to live right nearby. Please help me in helping the “Friends of the Apostle Islands” celebrate 50 years as a National Lakeshore!

All images and content courtesy of “friends of the Apostle Islands”…

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. All year long, Apostle Islands-area residents, businesses and visitors will celebrate this special place on Lake Superior (Gichigami), and its significance to our culture.

Fifty years of “caring for our place on Gichigami”

Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore includes 21 islands in Lake Superior and a 12-mile-long strip of mainland shoreline. Established by an act of Congress on September 26, 1970, the purpose of the park is “to conserve and develop for the benefit, inspiration, education, recreational use, and enjoyment of the public” the islands and their related geographic, scenic, and scientific values.  The area features pristine stretches of sand beaches; spectacular sea caves; remnant old-growth forests; a diverse population of birds, mammals, and fish; and the largest collection of national register lighthouse complexes in the national park system. People have used the islands for thousands of years, and the area is considered the ancestral homeland of the Ojibwe people. The Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore promote an appreciation for, and preservation of, the natural environment and cultural heritage of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  They help support the educational, recreational, and resource protection efforts of the National Park Service; raise funds to support park projects and events, increase community involvement with the Islands, and are coordinating efforts to mark this important occasion.A number of special events are scheduled to celebrate the anniversary including:

• An Apostle Islands Resource Stewardship Symposium at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, March 30 and 31

• Grand opening of the new Little Sand Bay visitor center, June 13

• A 50th anniversary celebration at Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, August 27

Plan a visit to the national lakeshore that includes one or more golden anniversary events.  Search the online event calendar to see the great variety of events offered by our Golden Anniversary partners.  Everyone is invited to learn about Apostle Islands’ past and how you can be a part of its future protection at www.nps.gov/apis or www.friendsoftheapostleislands.org

Join us in celebrating by attending an event!

50th Anniversary Lecture Series at Northland College in Ashland

March 13-15 CanoecopiaStop by our booth at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin
March 30-31Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Stewardship Symposium at Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin
April 15- May 15: Photo exhibit at the Capitol in Madison
April 28: 50th Anniversary Reception in Madison
May 14-16: Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival (field trips in the park and keynote address)
June 13: Little Sand Bay Anniversary Gathering and Open House
July 1-4: Bayfield Race Week in the Apostle Islands
July 4: Apostle Islands staff in parades at Ashland & LaPointe
August 8: Dinner Cruise to Stockton Island with Friends 
August 27: Big Top 50th Anniversary Event & Keeper of the Light show
September 5: Ashland Mural Festival
September 8-19: Apostle Islands Lighthouse Celebration
September 26: Open House & Birthday Cake at Apostle Islands NL HQ in Bayfield
October 2-4: Apostle Islands staff in Bayfield Apple Festival & parade

Gaylord Nelson and President John F. Kennedy arrive in Ashland, Wisconsin for a visit to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Or become an official 50th partner:

What are the benefits of becoming an official partner? What does it mean to a business or non-profit? What does it cost? Why are we doing this? Interested? Information and registration forms can be found at:

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