This winter's cold temperatures got a lot of people excited about the prospect of being able to visit the Apostle Islands Ice Caves for the first time since 2015. While there was ice development, and most of Western Lake Superior froze over this winter, conditions just never were right near the caves, and officials with the park are saying the chance of seeing the ice caves open to the public this winter is now officially zero.

Officials at the park regularly check the ice to see if it would be safe for visitors, and during regular checks this winter, they continued to find unsafe conditions. Even though it was particularly cold through a significant stretch of the winter, two things got in the way of allowing for the public to visit the caves.

The first issue was broken ice that was pushed against the shoreline and froze into place, creating "shark fin ice" and uneven ice conditions that would be extremely difficult to walk on. The second issue is a thick layer of snow that fell on top of the ice, which insulated the ice and kept it from continuing to freeze. Crews consistently found soft or porous ice while checking conditions, even after especially cold weather.

Park officials say they've been getting a lot of inquiries about the potential of the ice caves opening yet this season, but the factors mentioned above combined with warming weather and rain have led to park officials to share the message that the ice caves officially won't open this year. You can see the park's full post about this news below.