Traveler Recommends: Friends of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

A good parks group to support: Friends of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. You can support them through a small cash donation, or by purchasing a print of the lakeshore's starry night skies.

Editor's note: Often we wait until year's end to point to worthy park groups that deserve your tax-deductible contribution. Well, these groups work every day of the year to support their parks, and could use your donations throughout the year. With that in mind, the Traveler from time to time will point out good park groups to support and hope you'll agree.

You have to like, and applaud, a national park friends group that supplies toilet paper to outhouses. But that's just one of the tasks the Friends of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore takes on in its support of the lakeshore.

This non-profit organization has helped produce lecture series at the lakeshore, talks that open your eyes to Lake Superior shipwrecks, 19th century sailors, and wildlife. And, perhaps in keeping with the toilet paper theme, last year they even offered a talk about backcountry loos.

But those are just the attention-getting endeavors of this group. They also buy bear boxes for the use of overnight campers, and raise money to help pay for the lakeshore's newspaper and to maintain facilities.

One of the projects the group is raising money for this year is rebuilding one of the lakeshore's historic boathouse, the one at Raspberry Island. That project is scheduled for 2013.

One way they raise this money is through the sale of some spectacular night-sky photographs. The first of the two images included the Outer Island Light Station set against the Milky Way, while the second shot captured the Sand Island light tower against the starry sky.

Of course, coming up with $330 to buy one of these framed prints might not be something you can easily do. However, you can help the friends group with a tax-deductible donation of as little as $30. In return you'll receive their newsletters, email alerts to activities on the lakeshore, invitations to special programs, and the good feeling of knowing that you're helping them out.

Check out their website and look at some of the good work they do for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. And consider supporting that work.