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A few months ago, visitors to Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore could trek across the frozen surface of Lake Superior to marvel at the ice-encrusted coastal caves that are usually accessible only by boat. This summer, another unusual sight will greet visitors: narrow strips of sand that used to be sprawling beaches, now swallowed by Superior.
“One of the most popular activities here at the park is walking on the beach,” said Neil Howk, assistant chief interpreter at the national park. “The beaches aren’t going to be as wide for walking on this year, and if there are waves coming ashore, people are going to get their feet wet.”
The change in the water level, “it’s noticeable,” he said. On Memorial Day weekend, boats around the Apostle Island were dodging icebergs. Over the Fourth of July, those same boats could pull comfortably up to docks that were barely accessible last year.
“When you get a 13-inch change in water levels over a 12-month period, you’re going to notice it,” he said. “The beaches this year are pretty small and pretty steep. We’ve had 15 years of pretty expansive beaches. This year? No.”
Jennifer Brooks • 612-673-4008