Isle Royale National Park, Houghton Visitor Center
Isle Royale National Park is a remote island cluster within Lake Superior near the border with Canada. The park, which is only accessible by boat or aircraft and is car-free, is 45 miles long and encompasses 850 square miles of natural wilderness that features numerous lakes, waterways and abundant wildlife including moose and wolves. There are 165 miles of trails many campsites dispersed throughout the island. The park's visitor center in Houghton, Michigan (on Keweenaw Peninsula of the Upper Peninsula) is its mainland headquarters, located along the Portage Canal in Houghton (there are two visitor centers on the island, one each end of the island). Visitors can do a variety of activities including camping, kayaking/boating, hiking, bacpacking, and fishing. Scuba diving is also a popular activity, as there are several shipwrecks near the shoreline. Fascinating pieces of history of the park also include the 19th-century Rock Harbor Lighthouse (which has a small museum) and numerous remnants of copper mines dug by Native Americans and then mining companies in the 19th century. Although it receives far few visitors than other national parks, Isle Royale is the most revisited national park.
Backstory and Context
Isle Royale runs south to north in an easterly direction and consists of remnants of ancient volcanic rock that sinks into Lake Superior and rises again to form the Keweenaw Peninsula. Given its location, weather on the island changes constantly and is very cold in the winter and relatively cool in the summer. The waters are generally crystal clear and the shoreline is quite rugged.