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 to 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 heritage passed on over the generations?

Isle Royale is a place you can experience such things, 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) 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  that was the first hotel on Isle Royale. Our efforts are designed 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. 


All of the Isle Royale folks will miss Wes and Marit Farmer. Marit passed away in January 2005, and Wes followed her just 3 weeks later. Wes' great grandfather "Commodore" Kneut Kneutson first came to Isle Royale in 1901 and soon founded Rock Harbor Lodge. It was in the family until the 1940's when the National Park took over Isle Royale. The Farmer's maintain their camp known as "Coffee Pot Landing" , which was so named because of the hospitality extended to the hundreds of visitors who stopped by, either out of curiosity or to visit old friends.

Wes and Marit were fixtures of Rock Harbor. They were often seen visiting old friends in Tobin Harbor or having a quiet picnic at Hidden Lake. In 2003, Wes and Marit sat down for an interview with award winning journalist David Stokes. We will put excerpts of that interview on the website in the near future.

Annual Winter Meeting

Our annual winter meeting  in Minneapolis was attended by over 40 family members who enjoyed a day of discussion followed by a dinner.  Todd Strom presented a DVD that he made of scenes of last summer accompanied by music over  dinner.  After dinner Lou Matteson made a presentation of the history and roots of his family before and after coming to Isle Royale. This a presentation that Lou has done for many groups over the years.

Our meeting was attended by a the mid west regional director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Royce Yeater. The Isle Royale Families and Friends Association and the National Trust are exploring forming a partnership for the purpose of enhancing the preservation activities of the Isle Royale Families and Friends association in cooperation with the National Park Service.

For those who are not familiar with the Trust, they were chartered by congress over 50 years ago.  A few years back the Trust became independent from Congress. Today the Trust has over 270,000 members. There mission statement is:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded non-profit organization that provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to save America's diverse historic places and revitalize our communities.


"Island Meeting": Sunday July 31st, 2005
Tobin's Harbor, Isle Royale

grand Portage-Isle Royale Transportation Company
Saturday May 7, 2005 the Voyageur II begins service to Isle Royale

Isle Royale Natural History association
annual meeting:
Annual Membership Meeting and Field Trip
Field Trip ~ Saturday, July 24, 2005 - 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. (


 Northshore Commercial Fishing Museum

IRBA Annual Dinner Saturday May 7, 2005, Hancock MI
Island Meeting Saturday July 16th, 2005, Rock Harbor Lodge



Isle Royale History

Take a trip around Isle Royale in 1915. Below is  the first installment of the Halcyon I log beginning in August

Halcyon I
Log Book Pages for Halcyon I August 1915
(double click to enlarge pictures)

Stanley Sivertson Planking Fish on Grace Point 1950's

Scout 1934


Watch the news story played on KDLH - Ch. 3 about Isle Royale
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Last modified: June 28, 2007