Government Island just happens to be the only one of the Les Cheneaux Islands that is open to the public – all the rest are privately owned. It is also part of the Hiawatha National Forest System and is perfect for a camping trip with nobody else around. The only was to get there is by using a boat, canoe, or kayak.

The island was once the site of a Coast Guard Station along with a construction 'camp' for lighthouses, including the Martin Reef lighthouse.

In 1925, a total of fifty thousand dollars was allotted to build the light at Martin Reef. But where to build it? On nearby Government Island. A work camp was set up where they constructed the lighthouse's foundation; in late summer of that year, the foundation was taken out to the reef and sunk where the remainder of the building was built. Previously, a gas buoy was used to alert ships.

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By the summer of 1926, the camp was moved from the island to the lighthouse pier for better access.

In the 2000s, the remains of the old construction camp are easy to find. The old dock pilings, concrete foundations, and more lie in the woods, with great camping sites all around. If you decide to camp there during summer, take bug precautions, such as netting and clothing.

The gallery below shows images of the abandoned camp, the Martin Reef Lighthouse, and location.

Government Island's Abandoned Lighthouse Construction Camp


Les Cheneaux Islands

Vintage Beaver Island

The Scandal of High Island

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