Isle Royale announces delay in opening for 2020 season

HOUGHTON — One of Lake Superior’s more notable islands has announced the delay of its opening.

Isle Royale National Park was slated to open June 15th after an initial delay due to the COVID–19 pandemic, and now the park is planning on further delaying the opening of their park.

The additional delay comes as a precautionary measure, to ensure the safety of staff and visitors to the park.

We decided that we still needed to give ourselves a little bit of time to further assess if the island will be safe to open, so we decided to stay closed for a bit longer,” said Liz Valencia, Public Information Officer for the park. “It’s really disappointing for everybody to see any kind of delay or change or anything like that related to Isle Royale. It’s really hard, it’s hard on a lot of people. But we’re still hopeful, we’re still hopeful we can salvage some sort of a season this summer.”

For now, the park remains closed until further notice, although another assessment regarding reopening will be made in late June or early July.

Factors taken into account for the decision include:

  • Availability of personal protective equipment
  • The number of EMS-qualified park staff
  • Availability of emergency support services from other agencies
  • Status of medical facilities in local communities
  • Social distancing requirements
  • State directives
  • Guidance on park housing

Additionally, ferry services for visitors are canceled for the remainder of the season. Lake Superior waters within park boundaries remain open for fishing, although boaters will need to be self–sufficient, as all park facilities (including docks, trails, visitor centers, campgrounds, shelters, outhouses, and fueling stations) are closed.