Captain Ben Kilpela's Isle Royale Web Site

Introduction to Isle Royale Photos

Isle Royale Queen IV Web Site

Isle Royale 2007 Calendar

“Trails and Hiking Routes: Northeast Isle Royale”

Isle Royale Slide Show 2006

Isle Royale Slide Show 2005

Isle Royale Slide Show 2004

Isle Royale Slide Show 2003

The Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Studies

Isle Royale Web Ring

Ben Kilpela HOME PAGE

 

NEW!! – The Visiting Isle Royale BLOG!! which has Ben's Isle Royale 2006 Slide Show in blog format, so you can post comments, ask questions, or put up some of your own Isle Royale photos.

NEW!! Captain Ben’s Isle Royale 2007 Calendar – you can still get the ONLY Isle Royale calendar out there, featuring Ben’s photography, available at Lulu.com (search “Isle Royale”)

Ben’s pamphlet “Trails and Hiking Routes: Northeast Isle Royale” is still available. An excellent guide to the northeast trails and routes.

Brief Overview of

Isle Royale National Park:

Aerial view of the northeast tip of Isle Royale

Isle Royale, second largest island in the Great Lakes, is home to wild forests of the north woods, rocky shorelines along Lake Superior (the world's largest body of fresh water), coves and harbors and ridges and outlying islands and inland lakes of endless variety, ever-changing weather, the cool summer climate of Superior country, the breathtakingly clear waters of Superior and its harbors, and wolves and moose in a delicate balance of prey and predator.

The island is a US National Park, established in 1940 after decades of effort to preserve it. It is about 50 miles from Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula (the island is officially part of Keweenaw County), about 20 miles from the tip of the arrowhead in Minnesota, and only 15 miles from the Sibley Peninsula in Ontario, Canada.

Isle Royale is one of only two island national parks in the US. A place of astonishing wildness and beauty, it is one of America's few remaining wildernesses EAST of the Mississippi River. 99% of Isle Royale is preserved as wilderness. It has no roads or two-tracks. No wheeled vehicles of any kind are allowed. You must travel by foot or boat in the park. Except for a few very short roads at the two ends of the island, in the Windigo and Rock Harbor entrance areas, trails alone are found throughout the main island. The hundreds of small islands, islets, and outcroppings surrounding the large main island are wilderness, too, except for some administrative buildings and ranger homes in select locations.

The main island is 45 miles long and 9 miles across at its widest. The park encompasses a total area of 850 square miles, an area that includes the submerged lands of the park, which extend 4.5 miles into Lake Superior. The main island and its surrounding archipelago is made up of a series of parallel ridges, which are the broken edges of ancient lava flows that tilted up a billion years ago.

Isle Royale has 165 miles of excellent hiking trails (most are easy to moderate in difficulty) and 36 campgrounds for backpackers and boaters. Some of these campgrounds offer Adirondack shelters. There is no campsite reservation system. All campsites are first-come, first-serve. Many visitors worry about finding campsites, but it is seldom a problem.

The park boasts excellent fishing, historic lighthouses and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites, and hundreds of places to observe wildlife. Roadless Isle Royale is accessible only by boat from Copper Harbor, Michigan, the GATEWAY to ISLE ROYALE, (via the Kilpela Family's Isle Royale Queen IV) and from Houghton, Michigan, and Grand Portage, Minnesota, and by float plane.

Ben Kilpela, owner of this site, has been a Great Lakes captain since 1977. My parents purchased the Isle Royale Queen II in 1971, when I was a 15 year old boy. My brothers and I now operate the lengthened Queen III each summer. I have made dozens of trips to the island to backpack and canoe, as well as countless trips as a captain and deckhand on our family's passenger ferry. I have hiked on all but 6 miles of trail and have canoed, boated, and kayaked extensively at Isle Royale. Please see my Introduction to Isle Royale Photo Essay, written especially for those who have never visited the island. Write me any time about the island or further information on the Isle Royale Queen III.

Here's a painting of the family's former passenger ferry, the Isle Royale Queen III, at the dock in Copper Harbor by my Mom, the watercolorist Elizabeth Nordstrom Kilpela. (You can click on the painting for a full-size image.)

Come sail with the Kilpelas to America's great island wilderness.

This site takes part in the Isle Royale Web Ring. There are more than a dozen first-rate sites devoted to Isle Royale National Park on the Ring. I hope you'll visit some of them. You can also search on "google" for more on Isle Royale.

The Isle Royale National Park Net Ring is owned by Mike Tremblay, a backpacker and Isle Royale supporter.

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