Due to status of ice at Meyers Beach, ice caves remain closed
March 2, 2019
BAYFIELD, Wis. — National Park Service officials based in Bayfield announced Friday that the ice caves along the Lake Superior shore near Meyers Beach remain closed.
The NPS ice team checked conditions Thursday. Two distinct sheets of ice were found, according to a press release, including a “relatively smooth ice for much of Mawikwe Bay (at Meyers Beach) and a fractured ice sheet along the entire length of the caves. This sheet is rough with shark fins and overturned ice.”
Significant snow cover is one of the big challenges, the release said. There is 1 to 3 feet of snow, with even deeper drifts. The snow cover doesn’t allow the NPS ice team to get an accurate interpretation of the actual ice surface.
“When drilling holes, rangers found the ice to be soft and porous, which would make sense due to the fractured ice from Feb. 9 freezing back together, instead of blowing completely away,” the release continued. “These frozen junctions can often be poor quality.”
Due to the weight of the snow and porous ice, water is leaking onto the ice surface, creating slush spots, hidden under the snow, up to 12 inches deep in places. Much of the slush was found on the travel route from the caves to Meyers Beach.
“We’ve recently received quite a few questions about the overall ice cover on Lake Superior as it relates to the ice caves. It is important to remember that ice conditions can change very quickly on the Big Lake,” said the release.
It has been cold, and the forecast is for more cold over the next few days.
“We would like to see more off shore ice to build up and help prevent any movement of the near shore, fractured ice,” said the release. “The safety of you, our visitors, and park staff is of the utmost importance in any ice cave event. We will continue checking conditions and provide updates to Facebook and our website.”