Late Ice on Lake Superior Slowing the Start of our 2014 Tourist Season
The late ice cover on many parts of Lake Superior is slowing the start of our tourist season. The ice road is gone now, and windsled travel is anything but easy. So the "shoulder season" between ice road and ferry transportation is delaying the activities of many Madeline Island businesses, including our own.
We have new listings to bring to market, but there's little point in photographing a new listing covered in snow and ice. The ice cover on Chequamegon Bay isn't exactly a tourist season marketing feature.
As of April 17th (three days ago) the Great Lakes were still over 37 per cent covered with ice. This is an unprecedented amount of ice cover and the most observed since 1973, over forty years ago.
The news isn't all bad. The late ice cover and heavy barrage of winter snows means we are likely to have improved lake levels. Winter tourism set a record, with visitors to the Apostle Islands Ice Caves hitting record high numbers.
But on Madeline Island, spring is unfolding very slowly. I was planning a trip to Madeline Island and Bayfield, Wisconsin this coming week to photograph new listings. That trip has been postponed again and again over the past several weeks.
You can't rush the start-up date for the Madeline Island Ferry Line, but I'm hearing various predictions that it could be as much as another week to ten days before the first Ferry begins to run beweeen Bayfield and Madeline Island.