NPS Proposes to Replace Raspberry Island Dock

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: October 17, 2016
Contact: Julie Van Stappen, 715-779-3398, x1601

The National Park Service proposes to replace the docks at the Raspberry Island Light Station, which are in poor condition, in 2017.

The proposed design would replace the current failing wood crib design steel bin wall style docks that would be within the footprint of the historic docks.

The current docks, while built close to the same footprint and approximate configuration of the historic docks, are not themselves considered historic features within the cultural landscape. Replacement of the docks will not adversely impact historic structures such as the boathouse and tramway and will have a beneficial effect in providing better protection from wave and ice damage to these two historic structures.

Steel bin wall docks have an estimated life cycle of 60 or more years in fresh water, as opposed to the 20-25 years of wooden crib docks. Fluctuating water levels and extreme storm events have caused considerable damage to the exposed wooden crib dock, the failure of which would threaten historic light station features such as the tramway and the boathouse.

Like other docks the NPS has replaced in recent years, the surface of the new docks would be approximately 10-12 inches lower than the existing structures but be more functional than the existing configuration under both high and low water conditions, an adaptation to climate change. Most scientific models anticipate more frequent lower water levels and greater lake level volatility in the future.

The proposed design would also narrow the docks slightly, providing increased docking space between the east and west dock piers, improving access and boater safety.

The NPS is currently working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on needed permits. The Notice of Pending Application for Proposed Pier has just been published on the DNR’s website. For more information, go to: and search for WP-GP-NO- 2016-4-X10-05T13-35-32 or contract the park directly. The DNR will be accepting comments on the permit application for 30 days.

Once all permits are in place, the NPS will issue a contract for the work, which is expected to occur in spring and early summer of 2017, hopefully before the heart of the visitor season. The dock replacement will necessitate periods of dock closure, which will be kept to the minimum necessary. The lighthouse will remain open for tour for those arriving via the sandspit ¾ mile to the south, although the schedule may vary. Further information will be available prior to the 2017 summer season.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore News Release Apostle Islands National Lakeshore 415 Washington Ave. Bayfield, WI 54814 715-779-3398 phone National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and

Last updated: November 1, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

415 Washington Avenue
Bayfield, WI 54814


(715) 779-3397

Contact Us