Book: Jewels on the Water

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Sandstone caves, Apostle Islands

Jewels on the Water - Lake Superior's Apostle Islands is ready to take a prominent place on your coffee table, on your desk, in the waiting area of your business, and as a special gift.

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was recently voted the most pristine national park in the United States by National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Home to the Ojibwe people for hundreds of years, and to hunters/gatherers before them, the Islands later played host to French fur traders and missionaries who traveled along the Great Lakes. European settlers arrived and tried their hands at farming and fishing. Beginning in the 1800s, forests were harvested, brownstone was quarried from three of the Islands, and lighthouses were built to guide the ships that supplied the burgeoning commerce.

Stockton Island Tombolo, Apostle IslandsIn the early 1900s, the Islands were passed over for national park status because of their ravaged, cutover condition. Yet a small number of people stood by their vision of the place these Islands could become. After the boom ended, the process of "re-wilding" began to transform the Islands again.

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was created in 1970 to set aside 20 of 22 islands in the Bayfield archipelago. In 2004, the Gaylord A. Nelson National Wilderness Area was established within the park. The wilderness, honoring the late Senator Nelson, founder of Earth Day, was dedicated on August 8, 2005. Thus the Apostle Islands have become a treasure that stands out among treasures. In 2005, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was voted the most pristine national park in the United States by National Geographic Traveler magazine in 2005.

"Stand today at a lookout on the Lakeshore Trail atop the Mawikwe caves and the rock beneath your boots seems solid. It is comforting, but it is an illusion. We live our lives on too short a timescale to see anything more than a snapshot of these islands. Still, if we could glimpse them through different eyes, seeing them in geologic time, streaks of glacial ice would snap back and forth like bolts of lightning, and arches would open and close as quickly as blinking eyes. After such a view, we would never see a cliff or a wave in quite the same way again. What seems solid today will be brushed away in time. The breaking of every wave is a lesson in what remains; each drop of melting ice is another tick of the clock. It is all a part of the dance of the landscape."
From "The Dance of the Landscape," Jeff Rennicke