Natural Features & Ecosystems
Lake Superior has shaped Isle Royale's rugged rocky shore and created its isolation. Crossing the lake was not easy for the island's first visitors. They were hunter-gatherers that came for copper, maple sugar, game, fish, and berries for thousands of years. North Shore Ojibway not only utilized the island's resources in prehistoric time, but were part of fishing and mining booms of the 1800s as well. Although the establishment of a national park in the 1930s brought about modern ties to the state of Michigan, historic bonds were to the north, and many descendants of Isle Royale's original Ojibway visitors still reside in the Grand Portage and Thunder Bay areas today.
Did You Know?
Although the yearly number of visitors to Isle Royale is less than Yellowstone receives in a day, the Island's per acre backcountry use is the highest of all National Parks in the United States.