“A hidden gem of beautiful wilderness in Northern Wisconsin”

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The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore History

On the Northeastern tip of Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula lie a group of island jewels known as the Apostle Islands. These islands cover an area of more than 720 square miles on the southern shore of Lake Superior. Over 3,000 years ago, Woodland Indians inhabited these lands, with the Chippewa (Ojibwe) migrating to them in the late 1400's. They named the islands after natural and supernatural occurrences. When French missionaries arrived during the 1600's, they erroneously named the islands in honor of the twelve Apostles. In the 1700's, a mineral surveyor renamed the islands the Federation Islands after the existing states at that time. His names were not widely accepted by local people and the names reverted back to a combination of current local names and Chippewa names.


By the 1800's the region began to grow as white men came to log, fish and quarry sandstone (aka brownstone). The picturesque town of Bayfield was established in 1856 and has gone through many growth spurts and subtle declines. Harvesting lumber, commercial fishing and growing apples provided a livelihood for the majority of locals until the most recent past, with tourism and boating among the Apostle Islands creating a thriving new industry.


The National Park Service established the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in 1970 to preserve and develop the islands for the enjoyment of all. During the sailing season, naturalists and park rangers live on several of the islands to provide interpretive services to the visiting public. Nature walks, lighthouse tours and lectures are presented by staff and volunteers of the Park Service for the enjoyment of all visitors.

Superior Charters Inc, 34475 Port Superior Rd, Bayfield, WI 54814 -- 1.715.779.5124 -- sail@superiorcharters.com
© 2019, Superior Charters Inc. -- Custom photography by Marianne Photography -- Website design by Effloresence
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