Part Of Apostle Islands Closed On Account of Bears


National Park Service officials have indefinitely closed part of the Apostle Islands after bears became too curious and comfortable around people.

It may be one bear or multiple bears that have been getting into people’s food and tents on Sand Island. Apostle Islands Superintendent Bob Krumenaker says a bear even got on someone’s boat in broad daylight.

Krumenaker: “This individual had quite the surprise. He ran and did all the right things. He made a lot of noise and he said, ‘Get off my boat!’ and the bear did react. So the good news is this bear runs away when frightened. The bad news is he has a really short memory and comes right back.”

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Krumenaker says the bear hasn’t been aggressive with people yet and they want to keep it that way. So, they’re closing all access to Sand Island. He says they’re working with campers who had reservations on the remote island.

Krumenaker says it’s unclear how long the island will be closed. He says due to budget cuts at the National Park Service, they have fewer rangers that could solely focus on the bear. As time allows, rangers will simulate camping activity on the island. Krumenaker says if the bear approaches the camping areas, they’ll train it to stay away by making loud noises and shooting nonlethal objects at it.

Krumenaker: “Basically we try to make the bears life uncomfortable when they get into a camp. We’ve got some training to do that and we hope the bear learns those lessons, but it’s not a science.”

Krumenaker says bears get to the islands by swimming across Lake Superior from the mainland. Bear populations are established on other islands. Krumenaker says people visiting the Apostle Islands should always keep their food on them or stored in a bear proof container.