Safety

Emergencies

Toll Free: 1-800-433-1986
Via Satellite Phone or from Canada: (440) 546-5945

SAFETY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

Isle Royale National Park is a remote archipelago in the middle of Lake Superior. To make the most of your visit, it is necessary that you plan ahead and prepare. Be aware that many services and items that are available on the mainland are not available at Isle Royale. Due to the unpredictable waters of Lake Superior and its effect on island weather, be prepared for any and all weather conditions. Call (906) 482-0984 for the most up-to-date information regarding island amenities and weather conditions prior to your visit.

 
Filtering water from Lake Superior.
All surface lake and stream water should either be boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute or passed through at least a 0.4 micron water filter (shown here).

Drinking Water Safety

Drinking Water
Potable water is only available seasonally (typically end of May-end of September) in Rock Harbor and Windigo. Please call the park at (906) 482-0984 for the most up-to-date water availability information prior to your trip. All surface lake and stream water should be considered contaminated with pathogens. Drinking contaminated water can make you very sick. Water collected at the park should be boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute or passed through at least a 0.4 micron filter (using a water filter).

To be assured of no risk of contamination from small bacteria and viruses, all filtered water should be further treated with iodine or other approved chemical methods. By itself, chemical treatment is not an effective method of water purification. If you boil your water, bring plenty of stove fuel. If filtering, bring a replacement cartridge for filters that cannot be cleaned in the field.
Please note: SteriPENs and other UV purifiers have not been manufacturer-tested for a common Isle Royale parasite and cannot be considered effective.

Blue-Green Algae
In recent years, blue-green algae blooms have occurred seasonally in several inland lakes. Blue-green algae can be toxic, and filtering does not remove toxins from the water. Avoid swimming, fishing, or filtering water if it has a cloudy-blue cast or looks like "pea soup." Report possible algae blooms to park staff. If algae blooms occur, advisories will be posted at park visitor centers. For more information, please read this pamphlet issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.


 
Kayaker's view of Rock Harbor Channel
Kayaker's view of Rock Harbor Channel.

Recreational Water Safety

Lake Superior offers challenging and often dangerous weather in the form of dense fog, high winds, waves, and thunderstorms. Visitors should plan ahead and prepare for safety prior to their trip to Isle Royale National Park. Specific information regarding boater and canoeist and kayaker safety can be found on their respective pages. Additional information can be found in the Boater's Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats.

Last updated: February 9, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Phone:

(906) 482-0984

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