Island environments, naturally isolated, provide important habitat for numerous bird species, mammals, plants, amphibians and aquatic species. Wildlife species are characteristic of the southern limits of the boreal and northern limits of the hardwood/hemlock forests. Game species include whitetail deer, black bear, snowshoe hare, waterfowl, woodcock, and ruffed grouse. Other fur-bearers include the red fox, coyote, beaver and otter. Small mammals are an important component of the lakeshore's terrestrial fauna and include: shrews, mice, voles, red squirrels and chipmunks. Some common mainland species do not occur on the islands, including raccoon, skunk, porcupine, gray squirrel, chipmunk and woodchucks.

The Apostle Islands area is important for commercial and recreational fishing. Shoals near the lakeshore's ¼ mile lakeward boundary provided critical spawning areas for the commercially important lake trout and whitefish. The fish community presently found within the relatively shallow Apostle Islands waters is diverse and complex for waters such as Lake Superior.

The islands within the park provide important habitat for resident breeding birds as well as neotropical migrants. The great majority of nesting forest bird species in the Apostle Islands are migratory. The lakeshore includes important migratory bird concentration points during spring and fall migration.

  • Black snake with white and yellow stripes on the ground.
    Get Slinky!
    Amphibians & Reptiles

    Snakes, turtles, salamanders, toads, frogs, mudpuppies and newts!

  • A spotted, dark-headed, red-eyed female loon and three fluffy brown chicks on the water.
    Get Flighty!

    Colony nesters, Piping Plovers, and migrating warblers take advantage of the large diversity of habitats here.

  • A green fish swimming over yellowish rocks covered in aquatic vegetation.
    Get Fishy!

    Early explorers and visitors today are amazed by the rich fish population in the cold, clear waters of Gichigami (Lake Superior).

  • A brown American marten perched on a branch, showing its teeth.
    Get Furry!

    American marten, a Wisconsin state endangered animal, thrives in the protected wilderness of the islands.


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Last updated: September 20, 2021

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415 Washington Avenue
Bayfield, WI 54814


715 779-3397

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