State of the Park 2015

From the Superintendent 2015
A Community Effort

We used to think of this national park as primarily a "summer" park but the last two winters have certainly changed that! The worldwide attention to the park's ice caves brought 138,000 winter visitors in 2014 and caused the park to set an all-time annual visitation record: 290,000 visits!

The much shorter 2015 ice cave season still brought 38,000 visitors and we expect many to return during the beautiful, but short, summer.

The park preserves natural and cultural heritage and provides recreational opportunities, but it is also an economic engine. National park tourism is a critical economic driver for gateway communities and the nation as a whole.

Visitor spending in 2014 here has been estimated at over $44 million, supporting over 700 jobs in the area. Nationally, the ripple effect of visitor spending provided a $29.7 billion benefit to the US economy and supported 277,000 jobs. Most of those jobs, about 235,600, exist in gateway communities.

Every $1 invested by American taxpayers in the National Park System returns $10 to the economy through visitor spending and the payroll and purchasing of the NPS.

The staff of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore recognizes and values our role in the Chequamegon Bay community. It's mutual appreciation, as the success of the ice cave seasons could not have happened without the strong involvement and support for the park from local governments and the tourism community.

With the addition to the park of the Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light, I'm looking forward to the park becoming more involved in the Ashland community, which can now proudly call itself the southern gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

You can see the Ashland Light from everywhere along the Ashland waterfront, and images of the Light serve as the symbols of the Chamber of Commerce, the newspaper, and many Ashland businesses. How many other cities can proudly gaze upon a national park from their front door?

This is YOUR park;NPS staff are proud to be its caretakers. I hope you find your park here. No park has a better relationship with its gateway communities and I know the entire area welcomes you. May your visit be safe and create lasting memories.

--Bob Krumenaker

Last updated: October 9, 2015

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