The Artist-in-Residence program is based in the former summer cottage of the Dassler family from Leavenworth, Kansas (cir. 1905). It has housed over 100 artists since 1992. The cabin, located in Tobin Harbor, is two miles by canoe or trail from Rock Harbor. A small guest house at the site serves as a second quarters, studio, or storage facility. Accommodations are simple — pit toilet, no electricity or running water. The park provides furniture, water filter, cooking equipment, utensils, cooler, and a libary; the selected artist must supply campstove fuel, sleeping amenities, food, and art supplies.
Isle Royale is a remote wilderness and all visitors must be well prepared. The artist should be self-sufficient, in good health, and expect cool temperatures and simple facilities.
Your Isle Royale Assistants Tobin Harbor Volunteers: Though the Dassler Cabin is isolated, and you will be on your own a significant amount of time, you will not be alone. Park volunteers, residing in Tobin Harbor, will visit you from time to time. Often they assist with transporting you to and from the Dassler Cabin, and if unable to do that, they will eventually stop by to introduce themselves. These volunteers have a long history with Isle Royale and are a remarkable source of information. You can arrange with them how often you would like them to stop by, whether daily, every few days, or weekly. A talk-about radio will be supplied for communication with the volunteer. They also will help ferry and guide you to Rock Harbor or other nearby destinations. If you have questions, problems, or need basic assistance, these volunteers are a great first resource. Rock Harbor Park Rangers: Should the Tobin Harbor Volunteers be unavailable, rangers are stationed in Rock Harbor. You may visit Rock Harbor at any time and consult with them. At the beginning of your stay, a Rock Harbor Ranger will coordinate your public program (what, when, where, and transportation). A park radio to contact Rock Harbor Rangers is supplied at the cabin for emergency use..
The cabin accommodates two people very well. There is a large main room with a smaller bedroom and kitchen. There usually is additional space in a small two-room guest house as well. If more than two people, expect people to sleep on the floor. Remember, all sleeping amenities are provided by you.
We discourage a large number of people from visiting during your time on the island. It is a time to embrace wilderness, solitude, and your artwork.
One artist and guest receives free transportation aboard the Ranger III. Anyone else accompanying must pay full transportation costs to and from the island. Guests beyond the first may be required to pay park entrance fees as well.
If you run out of fuel, you can obtain more from the Rock Harbor Store.
There is also a small supply in the cabin leftover from previous artists, but don’t count on it by itself.
Ice or Freezer Packs for the cooler (if you’d like to use it).
All your food
After hour lighting sources. There should be a Coleman lantern in the cabin, as well as a few candles and hand-held flashlights, but if you would like to have after-hours light, it's good to be prepared with what you would like.
The cabin no longer has a lighting system
All personal supplies and considerations
Recommended Items to Bring
Headlamps (best for late night trips to the outhouse)
Bug head net
Personal books (the cabin does have a small Isle Royale library)
Early in the spring the cabin is cleaned and mouse proofed (holes, if found, are filled in with steel wool), but living in a wilderness, there is always a possibility of mice in the cabin. If mice appear to be a problem, secure your food products as best as possible and give the cabin a good cleaning, especially the kitchen.
Rock Harbor Amenities
Laundry and Hot Showers
Showers can be taken at the concession-operated store in Rock Harbor. The store is located approximately 2 miles from the cabin. The concession operation sells tokens which supplies you with a towel, soap, and 5 minutes of running hot and cold water. Laundry facilities are also located in Rock Harbor behind the store. Check upon arrival for current costs.
What Does the Rock Harbor Store Supply?
Groceries including: canned goods, assorted frozen and canned meats, eggs, milk, vegetables, bread, freeze dried foods, and other staples. Fishing tackle, camping and hiking accessories, camping fuels, photographic supplies, post cards, boating accessories, and sundries are also found in the store. You should plan on bringing all of your own food and supplies and only use the store as a backup. Be sure to plan for insect protection.
Outgoing mail can be given to the Rock Harbor Visitor Center. The mail will go to the mainland on Wednesday and Saturday onboard the the Ranger III. Incoming mail can be picked up at the Rock Harbor Ranger Station on Tuesday and Friday.
Outgoing mail can also be picked up and dropped off at the small mail drop building in Tobin Harbor just two islands southwest of the cabin.