by Milas Hewson and Petri Bailey

Many of us know that Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world – but have you ever wondered what’s out there? Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) is excited to unveil new interpretive panels which explore unique features of North Shore culture, heritage and ecology.

In an effort to engage visitors and share messaging about conservation and history, Lake Superior NMCA has developed 15 interpretive panels in collaboration with community partners. These panels will be placed in or around the communities of Rossport, Schreiber, Red Rock, Nipigon and Thunder Bay.

Visitors are invited to hike to Eagle’s Ridge on the Nipigon River Recreation Trail. There, they will find an interpretive panel about Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles, and their special relationship with the North Shore. This panel even includes an audio box which plays the calls of these raptors.

As any local resident knows, the relatively warm and shallow waters of Black Bay and Nipigon Bay are home to an abundance of fish. An interpretive panel on the Red Rock Mountain Trail introduces visitors to the excellent habitat in this area, and also allows them to learn a few fish facts hidden within the panel.

In Schreiber, interpretive panels were installed to explore the history of travel on the North Shore. A photographic timeline tells the story of traditional boats like the birch bark canoe, transitioning to more modern methods of travel like the schooner, steamship, and rail. On Battle Island, (a short boat-ride south of Rossport), six interpretive panels will tell the story of the lighthouse keepers who lived on this island since the turn of the 19th century. In Thunder Bay, the former Coast Guard Icebreaker ALEXANDER HENRY stands as a living tribute to nautical history on the North Shore. This vessel is now stationed at the Thunder Bay Marina, where visitors can check out new interpretive panels related to Porphyry Island and its lighthouse keepers.

Located across Lake Superior NMCA, at lookouts, beaches and islands, these interpretive panels were developed using extensive research and input from local experts to give visitors a deeper understanding of this remarkable lake. Lake Superior NMCA wishes to thank the contributions of our many community partners, including the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior, the Friends of Battle Island, the Township of Schreiber, Bill Skrepichuk and Brian Ratcliffe.

No matter where you go when you visit the Lake Superior NMCA, you are sure to find this collection of panels entertaining and educational. How many can you visit this summer?

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