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“The Lake is the Boss”

  • Madeline Island Museum 226 Colonel Woods Avenue La Pointe, WI, 54850 United States (map)

Free and Open to the Public

Speaker: Bob Mackreth, author and retired Park Historian of the Apostle islands National Lakeshore.

A popular souvenir for tourists who visit Bayfield today is a tee‐shirt emblazoned with the adage, “The Lake is the Boss.” Veteran fisherman Julian Nelson coined the phrase while recounting some of his adventures in a lifetime spent on Lake Superior.

Anyone who ventures onto the lake more than few times, by sailboat, powerboat, or kayak understands this truth. Join historian Bob Mackreth for a look at some memorable occasions when mortal men and women learned that Gitche Gummee always has the final word.


Bob Mackreth retired in 2005 as Park Historian at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore after a 27-year National Park Service career.

After assignments at Sequoia National Park, Cape Cod National Seashore, Fire Island National Seashore, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, and Cuyahoga National Park, he gladly sunk roots in northern Wisconsin.

He writes frequently on regional history and serves as advisor to the Apostle Islands Historic Preservation Conservancy.