Madeline Island

By: Ava Bleifus

Madeline Island is part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. It is located in the northern part of Wisconsin. Madeline Island is 14 miles long and 3 miles wide; there are many paved and unpaved roads that lead you around the island.

You have to take a ferry boat from Bayfield, WI to La Pointe, the only town on the island. La Pointe is a very small town that has restaurants, a candle shop, a grocery store, an ice cream shop, a convenience store, a golf course, and a marina. 

Madeline Island is known for many things like kayaking, camping, and swimming in Lake Superior. The average temperature of Lake Superior is 54 degrees fahrenheit which makes swimming very cold but still enjoyable.

A popular place to visit on Madeline Island is called Eagle’s Nest, which is part of Big Bay State Park. There are many different cliffs, at different heights, that people can jump off of into Lake Superior where the water is deep enough to make it safe. 

Every August, Madeline Island sponsors a swimming race called “Point to La Pointe Swim.” It started in 2006 with 24 people and now over 500 swimmers participate every year. It is a two mile course that goes between Bayfield and La Pointe. Most people wear wet suits because the lake is so cold.

Another celebration is the Fourth of July parade that goes down the main street of La Pointe. People can create their own floats and be part of the parade, and also throw candy at the spectators. There is also a marching band made up of the island residents. The parade is followed by a celebration in town and a fireworks display that night.

There is also an inline skate marathon, and a running marathon every summer that visitors and residents can participate in. 

While visiting Madeline Island you can also learn about the history at the island’s museum. The island was named after Madeleine Cadotte, an Anishinaabe woman who was the daughter of Chief White Crane and married to a fur trader named Micheal Cadotte. Before the fur traders arrived the island was home to the Anishinaabe people who spoke the Ojibwe language. The Anishinaabe people called this island Mooningwanekaaning. That name came from the bird called mooningwaneg, which is called a flicker in English. In 2015, the town of La Pointe started to place bilingual signs in both English and Ojibwe as a way to honor the Anishinaabe people. 

Madeline Island is a great place to visit in the summer because there are so many things to do. There are about 2500 people that live on the island during the summer, and year-round there are only 250 people. It takes about 5 hours to get there from Saint Paul and it’s worth a visit.

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