National Park Service


Date of this Version



Published in Weber, Samantha, and David Harmon, eds. 2008. Rethinking Protected Areas in a Changing World: Proceedings of the 2007 GWS Biennial Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. Hancock, Michigan: The George Wright Society.


Unique land features at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore include rocky cliff faces, clay banks, sandscapes, and bogs. Clay banks contain a high percentage of sand which is eroded rapidly and transported by long shore currents to form a variety of coastal sand features or sandscapes. Sandscapes include several unique landforms such as barrier beaches (Julian Bay on Stockton Island) and spits (Long Island); cuspate forelands, which are triangular- shaped seaward extentions (Raspberry and South Twin islands); tombolos, which are sand or gravel bars stretching from an island to the mainland or another island; a double tombolo (Stockton Island); and sand spits (Cat and Outer islands). These various landforms are located primarily on the southern sides of the islands. Sandscapes typically comprise a beach that is devoid of vegetation, active dunes vegetated with beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata), interdunal hollows, stabilized dunes and/or beach ridges, and frequently a former lake basin covered with bog or alder thicket community type vegetation.