News / USA

Winter Builds Rare Icy Path to Lake Superior Ice Caves

TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
Crowds of people are flocking to northwestern Wisconsin to trek on a frozen-over Lake Superior to reach dramatic ice caves accessible on foot for the first time in several years, courtesy of the long frigid winter.
 
The ice caves on Superior's shoreline are carved out of sandstone by waves from the lake and derive their name from the icy freeze in winter that makes them glisten with hoar frost, icicles and ice formations.
 
Reachable in warm weather by boat, the caves are accessible in winter only by walking across ice when it is thick and stable enough.
 
It has been five years since the ice caves were last reachable in the winter, officials said.
 
About 35,000 people have hiked the more than 1-mile route across the ice in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore since officials declared the ice "low risk" on Jan. 15, park spokeswoman Julie Van Stappen said.
 
"We have never had this number of people coming," she said. "It has been a bit overwhelming, but it has been great for the local community, and they are gorgeous."
 
A cool autumn and early winter combined with polar vortexes helped lake ice build up weeks earlier than normal, said George Leshkevich, a researcher for the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
 
The Great Lakes in the last week reached its broadest ice coverage in 20 years at 88 percent, with Lake Superior at about 95 percent, according to the research laboratory.
 
Van Stappen said the round-trip trek to the caves can take three hours or more over a well-packed and slippery path with little cover to break the sometimes fierce winds.
 
Still, the number of visitors was expected to surge over the three-day Presidents Day weekend, boosting tourist activity in such towns as Bayfield, about 18 miles west of the caves.
 
Maggie's restaurant in Bayfield was doing more than double the business it normally does in February, which is typically a good winter month anyway because of events such as cross country ski races, office manager Heidi Nelson said.
 
"Our waiters and bartenders are just elated," Nelson said.
 
At the Bayfield Inn, manager Tyler Stoklasa said this may be the busiest winter season he has seen.
 
"We are doing July-type business right now," Stoklasa said.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid