Our Mission is: "To continue the over 100-year presence of family heritage, culture and rich human tradition on Isle Royale; to assure the preservation of historic family dwellings; to enhance the experience of NPS staff and Park visitors by serving as authentic links to Isle Royale's rich human history."

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What if you could go back in time and observe people living sensibly with  nature without  electricity, running water,  and telephones?

What if you could authentically experience what the island folk have experienced on "boat day" for over 100 years?

What if you understand the lifestyle, culture and feeling of a place going back 6 generations, learning about the traditions and culture  passed on over the generations?

These are things you can experience on Isle Royale , along with it's world renowned wilderness. Just a few of the families that once inhabited Isle Royale still call the island home. We have founded the Isle Royale Families and Friends Association, a 501(c)(3) (application pending) organization. We are open to membership to all those committed to maintaining the feeling of place that existed in the early 20th century, which was the height of the Fishing/Resort era of Isle Royale.  Working in partnership with the National Park Service, our members provide Interpretive Programs, Tours of historic cultural sites, and the maintenance of Island buildings that qualify for the National Historic Register, including the two story log building on Barnum Island that was the first hotel on Isle Royale. Our efforts are designed to promote and maintain the natural wonders of the  Isle Royale wilderness, and at the same time  to tell the authentic story of those who came to Isle Royale over 100 years ago. In the space of Isle Royale's history, our time on the island has been short. Nonetheless, families representing the commercial fisherman, miners, hotel owners, and the summer cottage folks, provide an authentic link to the rich human history on Isle Royale. 



We will be meeting at Belle Isle at 1pm. We expect the meeting to last for about 2 hours. After the meeting we will offering historic tours of Johnson Island, Capt. Kidd and Island, and we hope to go over to Crystal Cove. After this the we will be gathering for dinner at either  Johnson or Capt. Kidd Island.

Belle Isle Lodge as it appeared pre NPS (click to enlarge)

IRFFA Receives Approval from the IRS  for 501(c)(3) Status

 Thanks to Carolyn Klien, who followed through with her commitment making application for this tax exempt status, the Isle Royale Families and Friends Association has received approval from the IRS to be a 501(c)3 corporation.

MAY 2004

Annual Winter Meeting

Our annual winter meeting was attended by over 40 family members who enjoyed a day of discussion followed by a dinner. After dinner Photojournalist David Stokes  showed a 20 minute demo tape of his documentary on the Isle Royale Families. This was followed by a slide show presentation by Brian Tofte, one of the founders of the Northshore Commercial Fishing Museum. Our meeting was note worthy enough to be covered by KDLH TV News.

Meeting with Isle Royale Superintendent

 Grant Merritt, Carolyn Klien, and David Barnum went to Houghton to meet with Phyllis Green, Isle Royale Superintendent, and Liz Valencia, Cultural Resource Officer. Our meeting was in response to the letter sent to our group offering to initiate discussions about how the IRFFA and NPS could cooperate in a partnership for the preservation of the cultural history of the island. Superintendent Green very much encouraged us in our endeavor to enter into a long term partnership with NPS. She did point out that "the devil is in the details." A point well taken. Subsequent to our meeting a letter has been sent to Superintendent Green out lining in more detail our proposal.

IRFFA Applies for 501(c)(3) Status

 After a great deal of work and effort by Carolyn Klein, the application for the 501(c)(3) application has been sent to the IRS. According to IRS  instructions for form 1023  "Donors can take a charitable contribution deduction if their gift or bequest is made to a section 501(c)(3) organization. The effective date of an organizationís section 501(c)(3) status determines the date that contributions to it are deductible by donors." The effective date of IRFFA is July 2003. We are waiting to hear what the final determination is on our application.



Isle Royale Natural History association
annual meeting:
Annual Membership Meeting and Field Trip
Field Trip ~ Saturday, July 24 - a tour of the historic homes of Tobin Harbor, for members only contact IRNHA at or 906-482-7860 to sign up.
Meeting ~ Sunday, July 25, Rock Harbor, 2:00pm - Details available by June 1st here & in Wolf's Eye Issue 2, 2004, due out early June. (
IRFFA Strongly encourages it's members to join IRNHA. This organization works closely with authors and artists, along with the NPS to promote many aspects of the island.

Isle Royale Families and Friends Association
"Island Meeting": Sunday August 1st, Belle Harbor; meeting at 1pm, followed an historic tour of the area and  dinner.

Stanley Sivertson Planking Fish on Grace Point

 Northshore Commercial Fishing Museum

all members picnic potluck

tofte park

sunday, august 15 noon 

art show


september 11- october 10

reception saturday, september 11 3-6pm.

First log of the Halcyon I.      
 MV operated by GG Barnum II

W.H. Dunwoody
Isle Royale Story 
(click and read)


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Last modified: June 28, 2007