BAYFIELD, Wis. (WCCO) — Access to the popular ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore will be closed by Sunday night due to safety concerns, according to National Park Superintendent Bob Krumenaker.

The caves, which just saw one of its longest and most popular seasons in recent memory, will close due to rapidly-changing ice conditions that pose a growing safety concern.

The decision was made at a meeting on Tuesday between Apostle Islands officials and partner agencies of the National Park Service. They decided that being proactive could prevent the worst-case scenario of ice falling on visitors.

Krumenaker says the early closing can assure that their wildly successful season can end on a high note.

“The beautiful formations are melting, and some have already fallen, raising concerns,” Krumenaker said. “Safety is our top priority.”

Kenneth “Bucky” Jardine, Bayfield County District 3 supervisor, says that while the season was a big economic success for his county, it must come to an end.

“The lake is treacherous, it’s a mean old lady,” Jardine said. “I don’t want to see anyone die out there.”

Park Rangers will closely monitor ice conditions through the weekend. Check the park’s Facebook page for up-to-date information.