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Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

November 30, 2013 by  

Apostle Islands, Wisconsin, The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior, off the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin. The majority of the islands are located in Ashland County-only Sand, York, Eagle, and Raspberry Islands are located in Bayfield County. All the islands except for Madeline Island are part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The islands in Ashland County are all in the Town of La Pointe, except for Long Island, which is in the Town of Sanborn, while those in Bayfield County are in the Towns of Russell and Bayfield.

The islands are the spiritual home for the Lake Superior Chippewa. The islands were named the Apostle Islands by New France historian Pierre Fran├žois Xavier de Charlevoix, who named them after the 12 apostles (for the 12 largest islands).

“The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore provides regionally diverse and unique plant communities.” “Over 800 plant species occur within the lakeshore, including Wisconsin listed endangered and threatened species.” The Apostles are dominated by boreal forest, composed largely of white spruce (Picea glauca) and balsam fir (Abies balsamea), often mixed with white birch (Betula papyrifera), white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), white pine (Pinus strobus), balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) and quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides). On Madeline Island, Stockton Island, and several other islands, a unique bog-dune ecosystem can be found near deep bays and enclosed lagoons.

According to the National Park Service, “One of the greatest concentrations of black bears in North America is found on Stockton Island in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Bears also regularly inhabit Sand and Oak islands, and, due to their mobility, may be found on just about any of the Apostle Islands.”

“The Lakeshore provides important nesting habitat for the following colonial nesting birds: herring and ring-billed gulls, double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, and cliff swallows. Gull and Eagle Islands combined have 88% of the lakeshore’s breeding herring gull populations and 80% of the herring gull breeding population on the entire Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior. Eagle Island has the only great blue heron rookery in the park.”

Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

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