Adventure business offering guided tours to Lake Superior tribal land ice caves

BAYFIELD, Wis. -- The now famous Apostle Island National Lakeshore ice caves may be stranded in open Lake Superior water so far this winter and remain off-limits due to the federal government shutdown, but other ice caves on Red Cliff tribal land may soon be accessible to hikers.

April and Kendra Randrup of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., are framed by an archway covered by icicles during a visit to the Apostle Island sea caves near Cornucopia, Jan. 16, 2015. Although the caves are not accessible so far this year, caves on the Red Cliff reservation on the other side of the peninsula are accessible for guided tours. Forum News Service file photo.

April and Kendra Randrup of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., are framed by an archway covered by icicles during a visit to the Apostle Island sea caves near Cornucopia, Jan. 16, 2015. Although the caves are not accessible so far this year, caves on the Red Cliff reservation on the other side of the peninsula are accessible for guided tours. Forum News Service file photo.

The lesser-known caves are located on Red Cliff Reservation land. They are not within Apostle Island National Lakeshore and are outside Park Service jurisdiction.

Located on the east side of the Bayfield Peninsula, in more protected waters, the water around the Red Cliff caves froze over last week.

“I’m thinking that by Jan. 31, maybe even a little before then, we should have a good eight inches of ice for walking,’’ said Troy Gordon, a Red Cliff tribal member and co-owner of Apostle Islands Adventures. “The west side of the peninsula, where the Meyers Beach-access caves are, is wide open water now. ... But we’ve got good ice forming on the east side.”

The Myers Beach-access ice caves drew an astounding 138,000 visitors early in 2014, during a bitterly cold winter, and another 37,800 people in 2015. But those caves, under the purview of the National Park Service, haven't been accessible the last three winters due to unsafe ice. They may not be accessible, even if ice firms up this year, if the shutdown continues. 

For full article, go to: Brainerd Dispatch

Source, image(s), credits & more: Brainerd Dispatch | John Myers