The benefits of the north shore’s biggest frozen tourist attraction could stretch into the summer months.
The ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are starting to melt, but the crowds are still large. The National Park Service estimates they’ve had over 120,000 visitors to the caves this winter, which they say is about the same number of people that visit the park all year. National Parks staff are already getting summertime reservations, as many people want to use kayaks to go back to the caves.
The Bayfield Area Chamber of Commerce has reported an uptick in reservations for this summer as well. They estimate the ice caves this winter have had an economic impact of nearly $12 million in the greater Bayfield area.
The caves are still open, but National Parks Service staff will shut down access as soon as the ice conditions change.