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. 


August Meeting was a Great Success

Our summer meeting occurred on August 1st, 2004 on Belle Isle, followed by dinner at Captain Kidd Island. The attendance to both events was wonderful. We were privileged to have Phyllis Green, Isle Royale Superintendent at Belle Isle. After our meeting we went to Captain Kidd for dinner. Many thanks to Jim and Carla Anderson, and especially Sally and Jack Orsborn for taking care of the planning and logistics of this event. Fortunately the weather was spectacular. 


 Winter Meeting Location and Date are Set

Once again we will be meeting in Egan at the Hilton Garden Hotel. The date will be Saturday January 29th, 2005. We plan to have an event on Friday as well. The meeting and dinnertime are not set, but are likely to be similar to last year, when the meeting started at 3pm and the dinner was at 6pm. We will provide more information in the near future regarding making reservations.


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.

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

Upcoming Events

2005 Summer Membership Meeting
July 24, 2005 on Isle Royale

2005 Membersí Service Trip
on Isle Royale

July 26 to August 3, 2005
more details available in January

 IRFFA Strongly encourages its members to join IRNHA. This organization works closely with authors and artists, along with the NPS to promote many important aspects of the island.

Stanley Sivertson Planking Fish on Grace Point

 Northshore Commercial Fishing Museum
No events currently scheduled. Check the link for an update.


Watch the news story played on KDLH - Ch. 3 about Isle Royale
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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