Skip to main content

Forget the ferry, trips from MN to Isle Royale by seaplane may be coming

Commercial seaplane service from Grand Marais is being considered.

It may be easier for Minnesotans to get to Lake Superior's Isle Royale National Park.

The only way to get to from Minnesota to the remote islands is by taking a roughly 2-hour ferry or private boat. But now there's a proposal to add commercial seaplane flights from Grand Marais to Isle Royale, which is a popular place for backpackers, campers, anglers and kayakers.

Currently, there are seaplane routes to Isle Royale, but they're all based out of mainland Michigan. Adding service to and from Grand Marais would increase the maximum daily number of visitors by plane from 20 to 40, the proposal notes.

The National Park Service is taking comments on this proposal until March 17 (you can comment here), and if it's approved the flights from Grand Marais to Isle Royale would be done on a trial basis for one or two years.

Flights from Grand Marais to Tobin Harbor would cost $380 round trip, or $260 for a one-way ticket. Round-trip flights from Grand Marais to Windigo would be $290, while a one-way flight would be $200, according to the proposal.

About Isle Royale

Isle Royale is located in the northwestern portion of Lake Superior – technically in Michigan, even though it's actually closer to Minnesota.

The Isle Royale National Park includes one large island and more than 450 smaller islands, totaling 133,788 acres of land and 488,008 acres of water, according to the park's website. There are 165 miles of trails, 36 campgrounds and 337 miles of shoreline that offer tons of things to do and places to see.

It's $7 for a day pass to get into the park, with CNN reporting in 2013 the park sees about 16,500 visitors annually (note: the park isn't open in the winter due to weather conditions).

But the island is a lot more than a place to experience nature. The wilderness preserve has a unique ecosystem – there are only 19 different mammals on the island, compared to about 40 mammal species found on the nearby mainland, the park's website says.

This helped Isle Royale be designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980, and has led to many studies, including the longest predator-prey study in the world, which focuses on wolves and their prey – the moose.

Isle Royale has made headlines in recent years for its declining wolf population, and the National Park Service's efforts to save it. You can read more about that here.

You can read more about Isle Royale here.

Next Up

School dinners lunch

Minnesota to offer free school meals to 90,000 extra students

Gov. Tim Walz, who is facing re-election in November, announced the measure on Monday.

motorcycle

Minneapolis man dies from injuries days after motorcycle pileup

The 69-year-old died after four days at Regions Hospital.

Sebastion Wolbersen-O’Hara

Police: 15-year-old missing from home north of Twin Cities

Authorities say he may be headed to the metro.

Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr_optimized

Foundation, the building, the win

Identifying Value Plus Catalysts helps your financial strategy and foundation

boating minnesota lake

25-year-old Hopkins man drowns after falling off boat

The man reportedly fell from the boat while fishing with friends.

mayor frey city minneapolis live stream march 14 2022

What's in Mayor Jacob Frey's budget proposal?

Here's a breakdown of what the Minneapolis mayor is focusing on in 2023-24.

Low, Mimi Parker

Low cancels Europe shows due to Mimi Parker's cancer treatment

The Duluth band says the decision follows 'recent changes' in Parker's treatment.

Screen Shot 2022-08-15 at 11.09.39 AM

Wisconsin man admits to 1992 revenge killings 15 years after boyhood tragedy

The 52-year-old man is in custody 30 years after the 1992 double murder.

Related

Forget the ferry, trips from MN to Isle Royale by seaplane may be coming

Commercial seaplane service from Grand Marais is being considered.

The National Park Service wants to save the wolves on Isle Royale

There are only two highly-inbred wolves left on the island.