Lake Superior home to the first

tribal national park

A federal grant helped establish the nation’s first tribal national park along the shores of Lake Superior, near Bayfield, Wis. The Frog Bay Tribal National Park, which preserves 88 acres of boreal forest and a quarter-mile of pristine shoreline, opened in August 2012.


The land around Chicago has been densely developed for decades, pushing out native species and habitats in favor of paved sidewalks, tall buildings, and parking lots. Restoring native habitat along the Lake Michigan shoreline has become a priority for several groups in the region, including the Shedd Aquarium and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. One area being restored is on Northerly Island, a peninsula that includes iconic Chicago institutions like the Shedd Aquarium, Solider Field, and Field Museum. What was formerly a large field with invasive species now contains rolling hills of oak savanna and prairie. A pond with adjacent marsh has been added to provide a more diverse habitat for native animals. In all, 40 acres on the southern side of the peninsula are being restored, through re-shaping the land and planting many new and native species.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • The potential loss of boreal forest
  • Rare wild rice habitat
  • Rare and culturally significant natural features
  • Small area with cultural and historical significance to Red Cliff Tribe


Reflection of trees in water sprinkled with leaves

The Frog Bay Tribal National Park, not pictured here, features a quarter-mile of pristine Lake Superior shoreline. Credit: Mara Koenig U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Results and Accomplishments

The project preserved a globally significant forest and a quarter-mile of pristine Lake Superior shoreline and increased public access to Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. Additionally, the project protects water quality in Lake Superior’s Frog Bay.