One of the really enjoyable things about being editor at Lake Superior Magazine is that sometimes you get a “mini vacation” over the phone just by having conversations with people around the Big Lake. That certainly was the case with my recent chat with Kim Alexander, general manager at Isle Royale Resorts (part of Forever Resorts).
Just to give you a little personal background, I will be ever indebted to Kim for helping me, via satellite phone, to reach home when my dad fell ill while I was on the island during a fellowship with a group of environmental journalists. He was calm and helpful, attributes I’ve got to figure go well with a manager of lodging establishments within a remote national park.
I wanted to ask Kim what’s been going on at the island park as he heads into the island’s busiest season. First, of course, I asked about wildlife sightings. (One of my favorite images of Isle Royale was the small fox, sitting primly and unnoticed behind the ranger warning us DO NOT FEED THE FOXES. It had a little smile that seemed to say, “You can feed the foxes. Who you going to believe? Someone as unbelievably cute as me … or this park ranger?” Really, though, you shouldn’t feed the foxes.)
Kim says it was only recently he saw his first moose of the season near the Rock Harbor Lodge. “I hadn’t seen a moose all summer. Everyone wants to see a moose. And there was an otter playing in the water just a few days ago.” Kim sent his photos of wildlife sightings, along with some shots of the Forever Resorts’ newest venture – brand-new cabins at Windigo, on the opposite side of Isle Royale from Rock Harbor.
There hasn’t been rentable “cabin” space on that side of the park before, I don’t think. The $49.95-a-night, one-room cabins are pretty basic – no running water – but there is electricity inside and a propane barbecue grill and picnic table outside and a nearby store. And shelter from the elements, of course.
Kim has been working at Isle Royale for 21 seasons and brings his family with him. “It’s definitely been a fun. I can’t wait to get here in the spring.” No. 1 skill for a lodging manager at a remote island? Planning – because you can’t just go to the corner store for supplies.