Park service moving forward with new plans for Isle Royale

Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior could see some changes in the years ahead under a new plan from the National Park Service.

Most of Isle Royale’s more than 130,000 acres is designated as wilderness, but the new plan focuses the few places on the island that are not.

Liz Valencia, who oversees cultural resources at the national park, said the plans include renovating historic structures like lighthouses and cabins, and offering more access to visitors and more guidance on what they’re looking at and why it’s significant.

“If it’s a cabin somewhere, or an old dock, and they want to know: ‘What was here? What was life like in the 1920s?’” Valencia said. “We have some really big ideas in the plan.”

In a press release, the park service said it also wants to work with tribes to “enhance or revive their long relationship with Isle Royale.”

Valencia said the agency has already developed a relationship with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota, “but there are other north shore and south shore Chippewa tribes, Ojibwe tribes, that have a connection to Isle Royale.”

“We want to explore more fully those connections. We feel like we’ve just kind of started in on that,” she said.

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