On-line Book

Book Cover
Fauna Series No. 7







Study Area

Isle Royale Mammal History

Methods and Extent of Present Research


Wolf-Moose Coaction




Fauna of the National Parks — No. 7
The Wolves of Isle Royale
National Park Service Arrowhead


MICHIGAN'S Isle Royale, in Lake Superior, is 50 miles northwest of the Keweenaw Peninsula and about 20 miles southwest of the Canadian shore (89° west longitude, 48° north latitude). Forty-five miles long and 2 to 9 miles wide, the 210-square-mile island parallels the north west shore of the lake (figure 2). The nearest mainland is Prince Location, Ontario, 15 miles northwest of the southwest end of the island.

map of Isle Royale
Figure 2—Isle Royale
(click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

In 1940, Isle Royale became a National Park, insuring the preservation of its wilderness character. Copper mining (prehistoric and modern) pulpwood cutting, hunting, fishing, and trapping had been carried on to some extent before 1940. Since then, however, Isle Royale has been protected from such disturbing influences except fishing (commercial and sport).

Although there are no roads in the park, approximately 100 miles of little-used foot trails provide access to most of the interior (figure 3). Bays and harbors enable boaters to explore some of the periphery, but much of the shoreline is rugged and unsuitable for mooring boats. Rock Harbor Lodge at the northeast end of the island and Windigo Lodge at the southwest end are the centers of tourist activity. (Summer headquarters of the National Park Service are on Mott Island.) Between these areas are two ranger stations, three forest-fire lookouts, and a few isolated abodes of commercial fishermen. The tourist season extends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Park Service staff and resident commercial fishermen live on the main land from December to April.

map of foot trails
Figure 3—Main foot trails of Isle Royale
(click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

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Last Modified: Thurs, Jul 4 2002 10:00:00 pm PDT

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