Visitors To Apostle Islands Ice Caves Will Have To Pay $5 Fee

Caves Attracted 138K Visitors Over 3 Months Last Winter

Photo: Pixn8er (CC-BY-NC-SA).

People will officially have to pay to visit Lake Superior’s ice caves if they form again this winter.

The National Park Service will charge a $5 per-person fee for those 16 and older. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Superintendent Bob Krumenaker said the fee will pay for increased staffing, porta-potties and medical needs.

“The ice caves went viral and people come from all over the world to see them,” he said. “This will basically cover the costs of managing all those people.”

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Myra Foster, acting superintendent of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, said people also have the option of buying a seasonal pass.

“There are so many people that live close to Meyers Beach and want to visit more than one time,” said Foster. “There is a $10 permit available at park headquarters.”

The ice caves drew in 138,000 visitors over three months last winter. By comparison, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore sees around 167,000 people each year. The park service spent more than $451,000 on the caves, part of which went toward bringing in staff from other parks.

“A lot of that is having rangers out on the ice checking safety conditions and being available for emergency response,” said Krumenaker.

Park officials saw an average of 21 assists each day due to the cold. Myra Foster said none of them were life-threatening.