Residents of Madeline Island are forced to follow the schedule of the ferry boats this winter instead of the normal ice road due to the warm weather.
Each winter an ice road linking the island to the mainland is in place by now, giving the islanders a few weeks of freedom to come and go as they please, day or night, unbound by the ferry schedule or the fees said the Duluth News Tribune. It's a bright spot in the dark days of winter, especially when living on an island where most of the stores and restaurants are closed from November until May.
According to the Associate Press, Madeline Island resident Burke Henry has been tracking the winter ferry runs since 1965, said 1998 is the only year in which the boats operated all winter.
Each season used to be predictable: the ferry line closes, the wind sled goes into effect for a couple weeks, the ice road opens, and finally tourist season begins again when the ferry boats begin their first journeys of the new year, said the Duluth News Tribune.
Residents of the island will not see the freedom they are used to seeing this winter. According to the Madeline Island Ferry Line, the earliest the ferry leaves the island in the morning is 7:00 a.m., on weekdays, and the latest it comes back from the mainland is 5:30 p.m., running hopefully every other hour in between.
Once the ice break-up is finalized, the ferry boats will run more often, making access to mainland easier. But until then, the warm winter weather will hold the island residents captive on the 14 mile long strip of land.