Warmer Lake Superior Winters Mean Islanders Can't Drive

Warmer winters on Lake Superior means there's no longer an "ice road" connecting Bayfield, WI to Madeline Island. Photo by Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio.

Before 1999 Lake Superior ferries never operated all winter between the communities of Bayfield Wisconsin and Madeline Island, the small resort town that's home to about 250 year-round residents. By February, the lake ice was usually too thick for ferries to plow through. Thick enough in fact for residents to drive across the frozen water on a makeshift ice road. But ice cover on Lake Superior has declined by nearly 80 percent since 1973. Ferries have run year-round three times in the last six years. Learn how warmer winters are affecting Madeline Island residents in this NPR piece