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Contact: Julie Van Stappen, 715-779-3398 x1601
Contact: Bob Krumenaker, 715-779-3398 x1101
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore –The National Park Service, in collaboration with the Red Cliff Band, Bad River Band and other Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission member Tribes, are planning to conduct a prescribed burn on Stockton Island between October 12th and 31st, if weather conditions permit. This is a significant burn – it is the first prescribed fire in the history of the National Lakeshore and, more importantly, a primary focus is to reintroduce the cultural practice of burning to this very unique ecosystem.
Objectives of the prescribed fire include restoring pine barrens habitat, with an emphasis on increasing blueberry production. People have harvested blueberries for generations on the Apostle Islands. Stories of families going out to pick berries tell of camping and coming together to harvest; they also tell of fire. Along with other forest species, blueberries respond to fire on the landscape. After a fire blueberries flourish and, knowing this, Native Americans used fire to promote the harvest on Stockton Island for centuries. This relationship between humans and land has helped to shape the Ojibwe culture that still utilizes these islands today.
Interagency fire specialists will be burning approximately 5 acres on the northern end of the Stockton tombolo to reduce biofuel, encroaching shrubs and trees, promote the growth of blueberries and other native plant species and improve wildlife habitat. Fire specialists will be on site during and after the burn to monitor. These specialists are highly trained and the burns are only implemented after careful planning and coordination.
Before a burn is started, weather conditions are assessed to ensure they are optimal to achieve burn objectives; too much wind or moisture, or lack of moisture, can affect how and when fire is used.