One of the greatest concentrations of black bears in North America is found on Stockton Island in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Due to their mobility and expert swimming skills, bears may be found on just about any of the Apostle Islands. Sometimes mainland bears will swim out to the islands when pressured. Tracks have even been seen on the Outer Island sandspit!
Although bears (Makwa - Black bear) are naturally very wary and avoid people, human-bear contacts have become more frequent when the population increases. When competition for natural food supplies increase, bears tend to expand their search for food and sometimes that brings them into campgrounds. When a bear finds food left by campers, they learn that people equals food. Proper food storage is essential to prevent bears from being attracted to campsites and becoming "troublesome" in the eyes of a camper.
To avoid bear problems:
If you encounter a bear near a dock, campsite, or picnic area, use a tone of voice and body posture to show you are in charge, yell and make noise until the bear leaves the area, then report the encounter to park staff.
Bear Precautions & Proper Food Storage
Black bears may be on any of the Apostle Islands, but are most common on Oak, Sand, Manitou, and Stockton islands. To avoid a close encounter:
REDUCE FOOD ODORS
STORE FOOD SECURELY
If You Encounter A Bear
In the backcountry:
In a Visitor Use Area (campsite, dock, picnic area):
If the Bear acts aggressively towards you:
Last updated: October 14, 2021