Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Superintendent Bob Krumenaker says the ice caves will close for the season no later than Sunday night March 16 due to rapidly changing ice conditions.
If ice conditions deteriorate before then, the access could close sooner.
“This has been a remarkable ice cave season,” Krumenaker noted, “the longest and best one anyone can remember, and certainly the most popular. But spring is coming, the ice is weakening, and we can see the edge of the ice pack coming closer to the mainland ice caves every day. The beautiful formations are melting, and some have already fallen, raising concerns. Safety is our top priority, and by planning for a closure, rather than reacting quickly to a change in conditions, we can assure that the season ends on a high note.”
Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau Executive Director David Eades estimates that there’s been a $10-12 million boost from the increased winter traffic. "This has been an amazing boon to the regional economy and although we would love this to continue for another month, the safety of the visitor always comes first." Eades stated, "Although the sea caves will not be accessible again until summer, the area still has plenty of snow for all the other winter activities in the area."
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