Apostle Islands

The islands of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore feature a combination of natural beauty and rich cultural history. Centuries of wave action, freezing, and thawing have created a unique landscape of sea caves along the shoreline. The Ojibwe people were the original inhabitants of the islands and continue to have a strong connection to the land today. The lakeshore is also home to the largest and most complete collection of historic lighthouses in the nation.  

Getting Started

Apostle Islands 

The National Park Service

This website from the NPS includes information about the natural and cultural history of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore as well as available recreation opportunities. 

People and Places: A Human History of the Apostle Islands 

The National Park Service

This publication weaves together the diverse themes of Apostle Islands history into a comprehensive history of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore up to the 1970s. It is intended to serve as a reference for interpretation and cultural resource management at the national lakeshore, and is written for the interested public as well as for lakeshore personnel. 

Visualizing Conditions

Sea Caves Watch

University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

This tool provides photos and data about conditions at the sea caves on the mainland of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. It is intended to help kayakers make informed decisions about visiting the sea caves.

Sand Island Observing Station 

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Two benthic monitoring stations near Sand Island are equipped with a light logger, time-lapse camera, current profiler, temperature string and water quality sonde measuring temperature, conductivity, pH, chlorophyll, turbidity, and colored dissolved organic matter.  In addition, water samples are collected regularly for the analysis of dissolved and particulate phosphorus.  

Lake Superior Operational Forecast System

NOAA National Ocean Service

This resource provides interactive visualization of water levels on each of the Great Lakes.

Place-Based Learning

Education and Advocacy Programs 

Madeline Island Wilderness Preserve

Each summer Madeline Island Wilderness Preserve sponsors free field trips and evening programs, open to both youth and adults, featuring the natural history of the Apostle Islands area, and highlighting issues important to the area’s protection and preservation.  

Resource Stewardship Symposium 

Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

This website hosts dozens of talks given for a symposium in honor of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Apostle Islands. These talks cover topics such as archaeology, flora and fauna, cultural history, and fisheries management at the lakeshore, among many others. 

Apostle Islands School 

National Park Service, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, & Northland College

Apostle Islands School is a cooperative effort between the National Park Service, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, and Northland College that provides facilitated overnight wilderness camping on Stockton Island for middle school students. Students engage in hands-on learning with Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.  

Place-Based Maps and Data

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Small-Scale Base GIS Data 

National Park Service

This data set contains small-scale base GIS data layers compiled by the National Park Service Servicewide Inventory and Monitoring Program and Water Resources Division for use in a Baseline Water Quality Data Inventory and Analysis Report that was prepared for the park. The report presents the results of surface water quality data retrievals for the park from six of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national databases. s.