Laws & Policies

Tree covered red cliffs, carved with caves, meet the blue water.

Enabling Legislation

Apostle Islands' enabling legislation is the starting point for understanding the purpose of the park. Any park unit's enabling legislation outlines the specific reason(s) why Congress designated the place a national park (or national lakeshore, etc).

U.S. Code, Title 16 provides the details of the establishment of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The park shall be managed for the following purposes, among others:

  • In order to conserve and develop for the benefit, inspiration, education, recreational use, and enjoyment of the public certain significant islands, shoreline, and light stations of the United States and their related geographic, scenic, historic, and scientific values, there is hereby established the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (hereinafter referred to as the “lakeshore”) in Ashland and Bayfield Counties, Wisconsin...


Selected Regulations

Unmanned Aircraft (drones)
Due to visitor safety and park resources concerns, use of unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, is prohibited within the boundaries of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. In June 2014, NPS Director Jarvis signed a policy memorandum that prohibits launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service.

The well-being of your pets and park wildlife is of the utmost importance to us. Pets must be kept on a leash that is six feet shorter, and never left unattended. Pet excrement must be immediately collected and disposed of in the nearest trash receptacle or buried in a forested area using a small hole dug in soil at least six inches deep, at least 200 feet from any trail, campsite, beach, dock, or water source. Pets are not allowed in public buildings.

People who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal and Wisconsin state law, may legally possess firearms within Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

  • It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws before entering this park.
  • Firearms are prohibited in federal facilities.
  • Specific types of firearms are authorized for hunting within the National Lakeshore during designated hunting seasons and following Wisconsin state hunting regulations.

Gathering and Collecting
Reasonable quantities of fruit, berries, and nuts can be gathered for personal use only. Collecting other natural objects such as rocks, wildflowers, and driftwood or any cultural artifacts is not allowed.

Non-native Species
The spread of invasive species is a major factor contributing to ecosystem change and instability, ultimately leading to biodiversity reduction. Please do your part in helping prevent the spread by cleaning boats and gear when moving between water bodies.


Complete Regulations

Most regulations governing visitor activities are found in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part I, Sections 1-13. The Superintendent's compendium is reviewed annually and provides a list of regulations under the discretionary authority of the superintendent.

The Lakeshore is managed under what is known as Concurrent Jurisdiction. This means that the State of Wisconsin (Police, Conservation, Fish and Game Departments, etc.), County Sheriffs, Township constables, and other non-Federal agencies share jurisdiction on park lands and waters. In addition to Federal officers from numerous agencies (including the U.S. Coast Guard, Border Patrol, US Customs, FBI, US Fish and Wildlife Service, etc.), officers of the non-Federal agencies actively enforce their rules and regulations at various times and places within the park. This is also true of Tribal officers since all of the park is either part of the local Indian Reservations or within an area defined as ceded Indian territory.

Specific questions about park regulations may also be addressed to the Chief Ranger by email or calling (715) 779-3398.

Last updated: November 18, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

415 Washington Avenue
Bayfield, WI 54814


(715) 779-3397

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