Volunteers - Living at a Lighthouse

Although the housing varies from island to island, all quarters at the light stations have propane space heater (for getting the chill out), propane cooktop stove or small range oven, small electric refrigerator, twin beds, kitchen utensils, dishes, brooms, buckets, and an assortment of tables and chairs.

Each location has a solar power panel that provides electricity for the fridges and the lighting. These appliances are convenience items, not a necessity and it can go out at any time. Volunteers must be prepared when the electricity goes out. These systems are old and parts can take a while to get to repair it. Lighting varies from island to island. It is recommended that volunteers bring battery powered lanterns or flashlights for lighting. There are no regular power outlets in any of the quarters. There is a 12-volt DC charging port (like a car cigarette lighter) that can be used. Volunteers would need to bring their own USB charging cords for the cell phones. Cell phone coverage is spotty to non-existant on the islands. The charging port is the main charging station for the park radios that provide communication to the mainland in case of an emergency or other daily activities.

Specific living arrangements at each station:

Devils Island

The Devils Island light station consists of several structures in a very dramatic location. Situated at the northernmost point in the state of Wisconsin, the 80-foot steel light tower overlooks an extensive formation of sea caves. Despite its distance from the mainland, Devils Island is one of the more heavily visited lighthouses. The Devils Island keeper can expect to climb up and down the tower stairs many times on a summer weekend. There is one campsite on the island, near the dock on the south end.

The brick "Queen Anne" style keeper's house is the quarters that volunteers would stay in. It is approximately 300 feet from the light tower. It has one bathroom with a flush toilet, and bathtub with shower; potable hot and cold running water; and there is limited lighting in the bathroom and kitchen.

There are two alternative boat landings on Devils Island. One is a rock ledge landing about ¼ mile from the quarters on the East Landing. The other is a dock about a mile away. Volunteers will have to carry their gear this distance if the waves are high on the east side.

Michigan Island

The Michigan Island light station has two towers. One is the oldest of the Apostle Islands lighthouses; the other is the tallest. Climbing the towers and the steep dock stairway (123 steps) will provide plenty of exercise. The island is remote, and visitation is comparatively light. The Apostle Islands Cruises may bring visitors to the island multiple times a week depending upon dock conditions. There is one campsite.

The keeper’s quarters is a two-story brick house built in 1929. There is no running, potable water. Volunteers pump water from the lake into a tank that gravity feeds to the kitchen. This water needs to be filtered or boiled. There is no usable bathroom in the quarters. There is an outhouse behind the quarters. There is an outdoor solar shower provided by the park.

Lighting is limited to only the kitchen.

Because of the dock's exposed location, Michigan Island is often inaccessible by boat for one or more days. Volunteers should keep their schedules very flexible and always bring extra supplies, because they may be stranded on the island for a couple of days up to a week.

Raspberry Island
This historic, renovated lighthouse is available for visitors to tour and experience life in the 1920s. There are historic flower and vegetable gardens, and two hiking trails to each end of the island. The east side has a nice sand beach, popular with sail boaters and kayakers.

Volunteers and park rangers live and work together at Raspberry Lighthouse, providing tours and upkeep on the grounds. There may be times when maintenance staff will stay in the quarters.

Housing is provided in one half of the lighthouse building. Housing was remodeled in 2005-2006. It has four bedrooms, limited solar powered lights, hot & cold running water, and a shower & flush toilet. The solar powered refrigerator is shared by up to four people. Volunteers should not plan to bring things that require a freezer. There are 76 steps from the dock to the top of the island.

Sand Island
The charming brownstone Sand Island lighthouse is not used for housing. Volunteers stay at East Bay in a cabin. East Bay is only four miles away from the mainland. Consequently, Sand is one of the more heavily visited islands. Campground host duties occupy much of the lighthouse volunteer's time. There are three group sites and three individual campsites near the quarters, one individual campsite along the trail leading to the lighthouse, and two individual campsites in Lighthouse Bay (Depending on the lake levels, the sites may not be accessible by foot traffic).

The housing unit on Sand is a modern two-bedroom cabin with solar powered lights, hot and cold running water, shower, and flush toilet. There is a dock about two hundred yards away. Starting from the dock, the trail leading to the lighthouse is 2-miles long. The trail is board walked from the dock and goes for about 1-mile and then turns into a dirt trail the rest of the way to the lighthouse.

Oak Island
The housing unit on Oak is a modern two-bedroom cabin with solar powered lights, hot and cold running water, shower, and flush toilet. There is a dock about 450 yards away.

Rocky Island
The housing unit on Rocky is a modern two-bedroom cabin with solar powered lights, hot and cold running water, shower, and flush toilet. There is a dock about fifty yards away.

Stockton Island (STPI)

Stockton Island - Presque Isle (STPI) is visited by a variety of visitors, including kayakers, boaters, sailboaters, and campers. There are 17 Individual campsites located at STPI, as well as a large harbor for overnight docking. A small visitor center, multiple hiking trails, and sand beaches are all available in the STPI area. Quarry Bay, with 2 Group Campsites and 1 Individual Campsite is located 3.5 miles away by trail.

The housing unit on Stockton-Presque Isle is a modern two-bedroom cabin with solar powered lights, hot and cold running water, shower, and flush toilet. This quarters is shared with maintenance staff and park rangers. There is very limited freezer space.


The cabin at Manitou is very rustic. It is a single room cabin with a twin bed, a small kitchen sink, and a small table with chairs. There is limited lighting inside. Volunteers must use the privy across the yard and up a hill. There is running water in the kitchen sink but the water must be boiled or filtered. There is an outdoor solar shower provided by the park.

Last updated: October 6, 2023

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