News Release

National Park Service Releases Final Cultural Resources Plan for Isle Royale

Rock Harbor Lighthouse on a rocky shoreline surrounded by boreal foreal. Puffy clouds speckle the blue sky. Calm Lake Superior ripples in the foreground.
Elements of the plan include an emphasis on restoration of historic structures and cultural landscapes.


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News Release Date: January 19, 2023

Contact: Liz Valencia, 906-369-7146

Contact: Seth DePasqual, 906-487-7146

HOUGHTON, MICH –  The National Park Service announces the release of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Isle Royale National Park Cultural Resource Management Plan/Environmental Assessment (CRMP/EA). The plan provides a long-term comprehensive strategy for managing the non-wilderness cultural resources of the park. The final Plan and FONSI are available at

The CRMP/EA evaluated three alternatives and the NPS selected Alternative B as the proposed action.  Actions described in the plan will provide proactive stewardship of a full range of cultural resources in non-wilderness areas at Isle Royale.  The Plan addresses the management, preservation treatment, and use of historic structures, archeological sites, and cultural landscapes.  It also establishes research and documentation priorities for archeology, ethnography, and history. The CRMP/EA also addresses the management and treatment of museum collections.  The Plan emphasizes a vibrant partnership program for project implementation. If partnerships cannot be identified, implementation actions could be delayed. 
Elements of the Plan include the following:

  • Emphasis on restoration of historic structures and cultural landscapes.
  • Additional visitor opportunities, such as volunteer work and access to cultural landscapes.
  • Increased efforts to document and understand the use and importance of Ojibwe fishing and lifeways at Isle Royale.
  • Work with tribes to enhance or revive relationships with Isle Royale.  
  • Adaptive reuse of historic structures and cultural landscapes on Barnum and Washington Islands.
  • Restoration of the historic Rock Harbor Guesthouse to function as a hostel or similar overnight lodging facility.
  • Establishment of scientific and/or demonstration fisheries at the Edisen Fishery and Washington Island.
  • Support for transfer of ownership of the Isle Royale and Passage Island Lighthouses from the US Coast Guard to the NPS.
  • Restoration and rehabilitation of landscapes, exteriors, and interiors of all four lighthouses to allow and encourage visitor access.
  • Enhanced interpretation of historic copper mining sites.
  • Research information gaps in the Park's archeological record.
  • Development of the Lake Superior Collections Management Center in Calumet, Michigan, as a multi-park museum storage and research facility, to include Isle Royale museum collections.  

The final Plan/EA represents the culmination of 10 years of in-depth planning that included consultations and discussions with tribes, the public, and stakeholder groups.  “We are excited to move forward with robust partnerships to implement high priority projects to preserve cultural resources and benefit future generations of park visitors,” commented Park Superintendent, Denice Swanke.



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Last updated: January 19, 2023

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