• Stockton Island, looking south.

    Apostle Islands

    National Lakeshore Wisconsin

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  • WI DOT Road Construction on HWY 13

    The Wisconsin DOT plans to replace three culverts on WIS 13 between Cornucopia and Red Cliff. Culverts will be replaced at these locations: Saxine Creek, Saxine Tributary, and Sand River Tributary. The construction may impact your trip to Apostle Islands. More »

  • Current Closures

    There are current closures of areas within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Click for more information and see if these closures will affect your trip. More »

Wilderness Law and Policy

Wilderness Law
In the United States, designation of federal land as "Wilderness" can only be done by the Congress. It is the highest degree of legal protection that exists for federal land, and is an "overlay" on top of its status as a national park or other federal property. Here are links to the law which established the Federal Wilderness Preservation System, and guides the management of all federal wilderness areas, and the specific legislation which designated the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Congress late changed the name twice, eventually arriving at the "Gaylord Nelson Wilderness," in keeping with the Nelson family's wishes and to put the name more in line with other wilderness areas around the country.

NPS Wilderness Management Policy
The NPS has three levels of policy documents, which go from the general to the specific. The following links, in increasing order of detail, provide direction on how the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness is to be managed.

Apostle Islands Wilderness Management
The park's 2011 General Management Plan/Wilderness Management Plan established the framework and direction for managing the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness consistent with Wilderness law and policy. Since 2008, the park has had a "Minimum Requirement Process" to assure that any management actions proposed within the wilderness are both necessary and appropriate for the administration of the area as wilderness; and, if so, determines how the action will be carried out in a manner that minimizes impacts to wilderness resources.

Did You Know?

LakeSuperior-ice-cover-3-3-10

Lake Superior showed a 79% decrease in ice cover from 1973 to 2010 based on analysis of historical satellite images from that period. - (Wang et. al., 15 Feb., 2012, Journal of Climate)