Isle Royale National Park is currently accepting public feedback on what to do, if anything, to conserve the island’s dwindling, inbred wolf population. Currently there are eight adult wolves and an unknown number (two or three) of pups.
Three options are under consideration:
- do nothing, even if wolves go extinct
- allow wolves to go extinct and then introduce new wolves
- introduce new wolves through genetic rescue (introducing adult wolves to the island to offset inbreeding)
We lunched at the Greenstone Grill one last time. We’d had the same server all the times we’d been there. Her name was Katie, and although she’d worked on the north rim of the Grand Canyon last summer, she hailed from Ferndale, Michigan.
After lunch, we had some time for last-minute souvenir shopping while we waited to board the ferry. Adam struck up a conversation with Ranger Lauren in the visitor center. She explained how about forty of the park’s sixty-five summer staff were seasonal since the park shuts down between October and April, and that she’d essentially be laid off at the end of the season. She hoped, though, to return to Isle Royale next year. She also said that full-time, established rangers are able to move from park to park until they find the one they want to stay at.
It was our final morning on Isle Royale. We’d be taking the ferry back to Copper Harbor at 2:45 that afternoon. First thing, Adam went down to the dock to see if they were letting people rent motorboats that day.
They were, so Adam and Phil made the arrangements while Sean and I got a breakfast table at the Grill. Afterward, we donned our life jackets and headed out into Rock Harbor, just before the Ranger III set sail.
As we neared Rock Harbor, we came across Smithwick Mine from the mid-1800s. Like Siskowit Mine, it’s a huge pit from which the miners extracted copper.
Scoville Point is the northeast tip of the peninsula ridge that houses Rock Harbor Lodge and visitor center. It is at the end of the 4.2-mile loop of Stoll Trail. We set out with little more than water for an afternoon hike there and back.
We reached Rock Harbor in the late afternoon, and to our relief, we had our pick of campsites. There were even shelters available. We looked at one, but decided that we simply preferred to sleep in our tents.
Thursday morning we woke up and took stock. In our original itinerary, tonight would have been when we camped at Daisy Farm, but we’d already been here two nights. Already the regret of not having made it to a campground on an interior lake, with an increased likelihood of seeing more wildlife, was hugely mitigated by having been at Daisy Farm the evening before for Candy Peterson’s talk.
We decided to begin the hike back to Rock Harbor where, Friday night, we had a room reserved at the lodge. Our goal for Thursday, however, was Three Mile. We hoped to get the same lovely, harbor-side campsite we’d had Monday night, or at least the one adjacent.