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Lake Superior ice caves now closed for the season

BAYFIELD, WI (WTAQ) - If you haven't seen the majestic Lake Superior ice caves by now, you're too late.

The National Park Service closed the long ice walkway to the frozen Apostle Islands' sea caves near Bayfield early Monday.

Officials decided that the ice was no longer stable enough for visitors to walk on. This was the first time in five years the ice caves were open to hikers.

The Park Service said about 138,000 people saw them during the past two months -- compared to over 12,000 the last time they were open in 2009.

It was a different world back then, because social media like Facebook were not as immensely popular as they are now. Those sites let folks spread the news about the ice caves -- and then the traditional news media from the U.S. and abroad chronicled the phenomenon.

Because of that, the Park Service expects more kayakers to paddle to the sea caves this summer. There's also a rough hiking path atop the caves from Meyers Beach, where the ice cave hike began.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)