Apostle Islands National Lakeshore's Sand Island, which has been closed to all visitors due to bear problems, has reopened to day use and soon will be open for camping, park officials said Friday.
Sand Island is one of the 21 islands comprising the lakeshore in the waters of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. It was closed to day-use on July 1 and overnight use on July 3 due to black bear activity. A resident bear was exposed to human food and was frequenting campsites at both East Bay and Lighthouse Bay.
Park staff have conducted patrols and monitored bear activity using trail cameras. The NPS Sand Island volunteers have greatly assisted with general observations. Fortunately, it appears that natural foods have become more abundant and bears are resuming their normal behaviors, a park release said Friday.
"However, it is critical that visitors to Sand Island (and other areas in the park) are vigilant in making sure that no food or items that have odors are left unattended," the release added. "In addition to food, this includes water bottles, deodorant, toothpaste and clothing with food odors. Bear lockers are available for use at all campsites to help keep bears and food separated."
“We hope that no more closures will be necessary and that we can fully open Sand Island to visitor use on July 27th. However, it is really up to visitors. Keeping food away from bears is key,” said Apostle Islands Superintendent Bob Krumenaker.