Mostly closed with no ferry access in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, Isle Royale National Park will be open this summer with passenger boat service starting in May.
National Park Service officials on Friday said the park will open for summer visitors with services from Houghton, Mich., on the Park Service boat Ranger III running from May 25 to Sept. 11.
Reservations for the Ranger III can be made starting March 1, but only by calling 906-482-0984 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Capacity on Ranger III will be held at approximately 50% of pre-pandemic capacity to provide for social distancing. Reservations cannot be made online or by email.
Lake Superior’s largest island, the mostly wilderness park is a popular spot for backpack campers due to its network of hiking trails, backcountry campsites and scenic terrain.
“Park staff and partners look forward to welcoming the public to the island during the 2021 season,” Denice Swanke, Isle Royale superintendent, said in a statement. “While park operations will be reduced and vary from offerings in past years, visitors will still have the opportunity for an excellent experience.”
In addition Ranger III, several private concessioners plan to operate this summer and offer ferry and seaplane passenger service starting in mid-May — the Isle Royale Queen IV, Voyageur II, Sea Hunter III and Isle Royale Seaplanes — including service from Grand Portage on Minnesota’s North Shore. Isle Royale Resorts/Rock Harbor Lodge will offer services at Rock Harbor and Windigo.