Budget Cuts Lead To Reduced Services At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore This Winter

With another layer of budget sequestration coming in January, barring any congressional intervention, national parks are cinching their belts wherever possible. At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, that means reduced services this winter.

Currently, this year's budget sequestration forced the parks to trim 5 percent from their FY13 budgets, which came atop a similar 5 percent reduction in their FY12 budgets. Now they are looking at the possibility of another 3 percent cut in January once a full year FY 2014 budget (or another Continuing Resolution) is enacted.

To save as much money as possible during the winter months, when visitation at Apostle Islands is low, lakeshore Superintendent Bob Krumenaker is planning a number of cuts. For starters, the park’s visitor center will not be open on a regular schedule this fall and winter. During office hours at the park’s Bayfield, Wisconsin, headquarters (M‐F 8‐4:30 except holidays), visitors may obtain brochures and have their questions answered.

Rangers will still be available by phone during office hours, and will make every attempt to return messages quickly if they are unable to take your call. Groups may be accommodated by prior arrangement. Call (715) 779‐3398, extension 399, to speak to a ranger.

Additionally, Meyers Road in the lakeshore will not be plowed and motorized travel will be prohibited once the road is snow‐covered. Visitors, however, will be able to walk in to Meyers Beach as the Lakeshore Trail is magnificent in winter.

At this point, between the uncertainty of winter weather and ice conditions as well as available funding, it’s unclear whether the ice caves will be accessible. Additional information will be shared when available.

The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, where the NPS is one of five partners that share operational responsibility, will be closed on this winter on Sundays, federal holidays, and the day after Thanksgiving.