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Continued: Great Lakes welcome rising water levels

  • Article by: JENNIFER BROOKS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 6, 2014 - 9:18 AM

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

 

  • related content

  • Lake Superior may be the only spot in this waterlogged state where people are happy to see the water level rising. After years of parched shorelines, the Great Lakes water levels have roared back. Superior is more than a foot higher than it was this time last year. This photo shows the area between Hearding Island and the Sand Point Yacht Club in the Duluth harbor this week.

  • This shows the effects of Superior's record-low levels in 2007, as sandbars became visible in the Duluth harbor.

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