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 and inter-act with and  island folk  that have experienced "boat day" for over 6 generations? What if you could understand the lifestyle, culture and feeling of a place going back to a bygone era, learning about the traditions, heritage and culture passed on over the generations? Would you consider this a cultural landscape worth preserving?

Isle Royale is such a place you can experience and question this culture and history, along with the well known 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 our  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 cottage folks, provide an authentic link to the rich era on Isle Royale.

IRFFA NEWS June 2006

IRFFA Winter Meeting January 28th 2006

Our winter meeting took place in Duluth at the Inn on the Lake. The National Trust for Historic Preservation was there, represented by Genell Shuerell and Chris Morris. NPS was represented by Liz Valencia. Our day meeting involved a workshop on basic principles in historic preservation. In the evening, our dinner was followed by a historic photographic tour of Isle Royale by Tom Gale, assisted by Carla Anderson. Our meeting was covered by the Duluth News Tribune. The article is reprinted below.

January 29, 2006

Stuart Sivertson's grandfather began commercial fishing on Isle Royale in the 1890s. For decades, Severin Sivertsen hauled in tons of lake trout, whitefish and herring from the reefs surrounding the island, which became a national park in 1940. Commercial fishermen and their families once lived on the island,

Royce Yeater, NTHP, Carla Anderson, Johnson Island  IRFFA

The National Trust, in coordination with IRFFA and NPS,  is sending  a small group to Washington Island this summer to engage in a service project working on a building, first built around 1895. This building was once called the "Tool House". Later it was used to store commercial fishing nets.

Restoration Project on the "Big" Boat House on Barnum Island

Around 1910 the large cedar sided boat house built for George G. Barnum I. It was first used to store a gas boat named the Sunbeam. From 1919-1971 it was the home of the 25' gas and sailing boat the Scout. In 1971 George G. Barnum III sold the Scout to Westy Farmer of Rock Harbor for $1.00. It was donated by Mr. Farmer to the National Park. The Scout remained on Mott Island for some years and was later acquired by Fred Funke who brought it to the Apostle Islands. Mr. Funke donated it to the Bayfield Maritime Museum where it under went extensive restoration. The Scout now sits as a display out side of the museum.

The big boat house  is shown around 1940

Big Boat House prior to the restoration effort
(click on the picture for restoration pictures)


IRFFA 2006 Summer  Meeting, Sunday August 6th Washington Island

Our summer meeting will begin at 3pm CDT on Washington Island. The meeting will be followed by dinner
847-639-2446, or 847-727-2446

Washington Island, Washington Harbor

Isle Royale Natural History association

Upcoming Events
IRNHA 2006 Members Meeting on Isle Royale
Friday, July 28
8:00pm ~ Rock Harbor Auditorium Program by Isle Royale Loon Researchers Mike Meetz & Bill Beckman
Saturday, July 29
10:00am - 2:00pm ~ Field Trip details to be announced. Bring your lunch and meet at Rock Harbor Visitor Center
2:00pm - 5:00pm ~ Members Service Project, Painting RH Auditorium
8:00pm ~ Isle Royale Images Program by photographer Bob Guiliani, Rock Harbor Auditorium
Sunday, July 30
10:00am ~ IRNHA Board Meeting Rock Harbor Auditorium
**2:00pm - 3:00pm ~ Annual Membership Meeting, Rock Harbor Auditorium
3:30pm - 4:45pm ~ Membership Program to be announced, Rock Harbor Auditorium
**5:00pm ~ Membership Picnic whitefish & brats on the Rock Harbor Waterfront. $12 for adults, $6 for children.
**These events for IRNHA members only.
Times & events subject to changes. Please check here or Rock Harbor Visitor Center Bulletin Board for updated information.

 Northshore Commercial Fishing Museum

Public Programs
Saturday, July 8, 2006  Noon-5 p.m.

Life on the Lake!

July 22, 2006, Sunrise:  IRBA Fourth Annual Fishing Tournament from sunrise to 2:00pm.  Should have some good rivalry again this year, more detail in coming newsletter.

July 22, 2006, 3:00pm:  IRBA Annual Island Meeting at the Rock Harbor Lodge, Isle Royale, MI.


A Trip Around Isle Royale on the Halcyon I

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)

Commercial Fisherman Stanley Sivertson 


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