Open 7 Days a Week (except some holidays)
At the top of Wisconsin,
on the shores of Lake Superior
29270 County Highway G
Ashland, WI 54806
Located on County Highway G just off of US Highway 2, two miles west of Ashland, Wisconsin (just west of the roundabout intersection of Highways 2 and 13).
FREE Parking and admission. Hosted or sponsored programs at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center may require a registration fee.
Open seven days a week from 9am until 5pm.
Closed during these Holidays:
Established through efforts by the Friends of the Center, a grass roots, non-profit organization formed to support the goals of a new Center that combined elements of history, natural resources, and visitor information under one roof. The group lobbied the state and federal governments for nearly six years and obtained state and federal funds to build this Center. Construction began in 1995. The Center opened in May 1998. The Forest Service holds title to the facility and 180-acre grounds.
Staffed by 7 permanent and 34 seasonal or part-time staff members and volunteers.
Operated through a unique federal, state and local partnership. Federal, state, and local organizations align their missions to bring specialized services to our visitors and communities. The Center's operating partners are: The US Forest Service, National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Historical Society, University of Wisconsin - Extension, and the Friends of the Center Alliance, Limited.
The Forest Service personnel are responsible for the overall management, administration, and coordination of Visitor Center operations. Primary duties include operations oversight, budget formulations, execution and tracking, Board of Directors interface, conservation, coordination of special events and celebrations, and balancing partner needs and interests.
The National Park Service staff at the Visitor Center is responsible for the front desk operations. They develop the schedules and help coordinate duties for the front desk staff, and are in charge of maintaining displays in the main exhibit hall and maintaining A-V equipment. In addition, maintenance of the building and grounds is managed by NPS Personnel.
Staff manages the adjoining Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Refuge personnel continue to work on conservation and restoration issues on the Refuge, but also regionally to help landowners interested in improving the management of their land for fish and wildlife by assisting them with forest, wetland, and stream restoration projects. Additionally, Refuge staff assists Center staff with education, outreach, and hosting special events. Together, the Refuge and Center offer an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities and outdoor activities.
The WHS operates a nothern field office at the NGLVC, the History Center and Archives that provides program leadership for the visitor services and Temporary exhibits programs. HCA staff also assists NGLVC staff in the development of historical and genealogical records for a eight-county northern Wisconsin region. The HCA also coordinates an annual residency program that brings the expertise of WHS staff to the North Country to provide technical and programmatic assistance to local historical societies, units of local government, schools, and other public organizations.
The Friends role has changed dramatically since the Center first opened. In 2000, FOCAL began managing the Spirit of the North gift shop. With the proceeds from the profits, FOCAL has been able to award education grants, busing grants, matching snowshoe grant, and sponsor several programs and events at the NGLVC.
The Center's UWEX office is a unique, non-county, Cooperative Extension Office established in 1998 with the mission of providing environmental and natural resource educational program leadership for the public, visitors, local government officials, management professionals, and student groups. Staff develop and teach environmental and natural resource educational programs through a variety of outreach methods that support the Center's educational programming mission, often in collaboration with other Center patrners. The NGLVC-UWEX programs are dynamic to address emerging issues and opportunities with the Lake Superior Basin and beyond. Current programming is centered on estuary and coastal wetland education, sustainability, supporting partnership development with the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Research Reserve, State Basin Education initiatives, plus working with Center partners on school and youth programming.