Apostle Islands National Lakeshore officials say the popular ice caves could be open to the public this weekend.
Lakeshore planning chief Julie Van Stappen says they’ll check the ice Wednesday, then make the call. The ice must be locked in and thick enough on the trail out to the mainland ice caves.
“Recent satellite images show that about 90% of Lake Superior is ice covered,” reads a post on the National Park Service’s Apostle Islands Facebook page. “Some of that ice is recent and pretty thin. Rangers will check ice conditions at the ice caves again early this week and if there is no severe weather in the next few days, we are optimistic about opening the ice caves at the end of the week.”
High winds are in the forecast for the area this week. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Van Stappen says it’s hoped the extensive ice cover on the lake will protect the ice cave formations from breaking up.
The caves were open to the public last winter for the first time since 2009. An estimated 138,000 people visited the caves last season. They were so popular the National Park Service decided to implement a $5 charge for visitors this year.