Another blast of winter is hitting a large swath of Wisconsin Monday, but the ice is still not safe enough to make the trek to the ice caves along the shore of Lake Superior at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Park officials over the weekend reported dangerous conditions and noted that while the government is shut down, "search and rescue capability will be extremely limited, and most likely significantly delayed."
While the shutdown is expected to end Monday and end that problem, rangers continue to stress that ice near the caves has deteriorated in recent days. Park rangers who checked on Friday "found very porous, poor quality ice," and had to turn around when they encountered a large area of high risk ice.
• Cathedrals of ice: 16 must-see photos of the Superior caves
• Feb. 2014: Inside the majestic Lake Superior ice caves
Recent warm temperatures and forecasted high winds are expected to weaken the ice further in coming days.
The ice caves' frozen beauty draws tens of thousands of people to Lake Superior's south shore when the weather cooperates. During 2014's frigid winter, hike-in access opened and nearly 140,000 visitors made the mile-long trek on Lake Superior to view the sparkling caves and snap otherworldly photos. It was the first time they'd been accessible to the public in five years and visitors couldn't get enough.
Despite the pent-up demand, park officials are urging restraint on their Facebook page: "Please stay safe and stay off the ice!"