Monthly Archives: April 2010

April 21, 2010

Going Extreme For Less

For immediate release:
Susanne Thiede-Barnet, 608-242-8895

Going Extreme For Less
Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers thrill seekers the best extreme activities in the Midwest

(April 27, 2010)—For years the territory of rebels and danger-seekers, “extreme” sports are becoming mainstream. With snowboarder Shaun White now the proud owner of two Olympic gold medals, sports that were once regarded as counter-cultural are attracting wider audiences. Thanks to their “outdoorsy” culture, pristine waters, and great extreme sports facilities, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are home to some of the best thrills in the Midwest.

Diving Wazee Lake
Diving in Wazee LakeLocated in Black River Country, Wazee Lake is among the best diving locations in the Midwest, and presents a challenge for any diver. The 355-foot plunge to the bottom of Wazee Lake makes it the deepest inland lake in Wisconsin.

For a truly extreme experience, dive during the winter! Ice divers cut holes in the thick surface ice and descend to an otherworldly realm. Wearing a wetsuit to fend off the cold, you’ll explore Wazee’s depths, traversing massive boulders and shear walls. Visibility, which is an impressive 30-40 feet during the summer months, is even better during the winter.

Wazee Lake’s depths hide the remnants of the former Jackson County Iron Mine, whose closure in 1983 shut off the pumps that kept the mine from filling with water. A series of circular haul roads wind around the pit where divers often find artifacts like chains, pipes and iron shovel teeth.

New to diving? The Wazee Sports Center is on-site and caters to divers of all experience levels. The Center will provide you with all the equipment and training you’ll need to get started.

Nearby Black River Falls offers great lodging, dining and a variety of shopping retailers—everything you need for the perfect diving adventure.

Skateboard Park in MiddletonSkateparks offer a great vacation asset for families looking to engage teens while the rest of the family pursues other activities. Best of all, most skateparks are free! Here are several of Wisconsin’s best:

Middleton’s Quarry Park — This 10,000-square-foot facility is designed for skateboard and rollerblade use. The park is open from mid-March to December and includes a pyramid, rails, and a four and six-set.

Boulder Junction Skatepark — Accessible by bike path, this community park includes a skatepark with a bank, quarterpipe, and three-sided pyramid in between. The park also includes a grind box and flatbar.

Rhinelander Skatepark — This Northwoods skatepark offers skaters three quarters of three-, four-, and eight-feet tall, and a ton of rails.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Camping
Hike the Porcupine Mountains in Ontonagon, MIThe popularity of television shows likeSurvivorman” and “Man vs. Wild” demonstrate the ongoing fascination Americans have with self-sufficiency and surviving in the wilderness. Although these shows tend to feature their hosts in rather remote and exotic locales, some of the most untouched wilderness areas are located within a day’s drive of the Midwest’s largest population centers.

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park protects the largest track of old-growth hardwood forests outside of the Adirondacks. And while park regulations would prevent you from hunting rabbits with sharpened sticks or building your own wigwam out of hemlock boughs, the vast acreage of completely untouched forests gives the wilderness camper a real test of their skills.

Black bear, white-tailed deer, beaver, wolf and moose live in these woods, which maintain a character that hearkens back to a time long before white settlement of the region. Numerous streams and waterfalls give you a chance to test your water purification skills. And the views – this is arguably one of the most beautiful places you’ll find anywhere. Gaze out over Lake Superior, ponder the blue waters of the Lake of the Clouds and spend your nights counting stars in a sky completely devoid of manmade lights. Wilderness camping doesn’t get any better than this.

Get complete information on the Wazee Lake diving experience – visit

For more information on visiting Middleton, Boulder Junction, and Rhinelander, visit, or

Learn more about visiting the Porcupine Mountains at

For more information about these and other Wisconsin destinations for extreme sports, contact Susanne Thiede-Barnet at 608-242-8895 or [email protected].

Download pdf.



This entry was posted in Media on Wednesday, April 21, 2010.

April 21, 2010

Geocaching Takes Wisconsin By Storm

For immediate release:
Susanne Thiede-Barnet, 608-242-8895

Geocaching Takes Wisconsin By Storm
Hobbyists discovering new caches and contests in West Bend and throughout Northwoods

(April 27, 2010) — Geocaching offers vacationers a fun and inexpensive excuse to get outdoors. This relatively new hobby is a high-tech treasure hunt whose participants use GPS devices to locate hidden containers called geocaches and share their experiences online. Around the world, geocaching is enjoyed by participants of every age. The sport encourages support for the environment and community involvement.

With huge events, hundreds of caches, and plenty of woodlands, the opportunities have never been better for Wisconsin-bound geocachers. Three hotspots for this “game of high-tech hide and seek” are the City of West Bend and the Northwoods towns of Rhinelander and Boulder Junction.

West Bend
West Bend Cache BashKnown as the “Geocaching Capital of the Midwest™,” West Bend is home to a massive geocaching event each summer. An hour from Milwaukee and less than two from Chicago and Madison, West Bend’s $1,000 Cache Ba$h™ is the perfect way to get involved in geocaching. The Cache Ba$h™ is Wisconsin’s first-ever “Mega Event.”

This year’s event (August 13-14th) features an entire weekend of adventure: family friendly activities like a mystery and night caching, Geogolf, a pancake breakfast, beginners’ classes and much more. More than 450 caches are spread within a seven-mile radius. For the competitive geocacher, the West Bend Cache Ba$h™ prizes are among the region’s richest — $500 goes to the first place finisher.

Geocachers in West Bend also enjoy the community’s award-winning Museum of Wisconsin Art, the West Bend Sculpture Walk, and other attractions.

The Rhinelander Area
Geocache in RhinelanderA virtually untouched wilderness filled with caches — that’s what the Rhinelander Area offers. With more than 80 caches in the area ranging in difficulty, geocachers in this Northwoods paradise have tons of choices.

The “Osprey” cache is among the area’s most challenging and rewarding, and requires crossing rolling hills along the edge of a cedar marsh. The cache is positioned with a wonderful view of the home waters of an annually returning pair of Osprey. Many Rhinelander caches are part of the Northwoods Treasure Hunt, and offer special prizes to diligent geocachers.

The best place to start is with the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce maintained caches, which are positioned throughout Rhinelander’s downtown and also in nearby Oneida County Forest and various county recreation areas.

Boulder Junction
CachesLike its neighbor to the south, Boulder Junction offers geocachers a pristine wilderness waiting to be explored. More than 50 caches can be found in the Boulder Junction area, ranging in difficulty and accessibility. Boulder Junction’s abundance of lakes and woodland trails make geocaching in the area especially enjoyable.

One of the more unique caches in Boulder is “Fire Break,” located on Marsh Road (also known as “The Flats”), which serves as a man-made firebreak for the town of Boulder Junction. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a beautiful afternoon hike to the springs of North Creek to find the “Spring to the Springs” cache. A cache with an historical flair is “Old Boulder Tower.” Located near the town’s 84-foot-tall fire tower, which was built in 1932, this cache is accessible to the adventurous geocacher by hiking from a nearby road.

Learn more about the 2010 West Bend Cache Ba$h™ and register your team at

Get information for planning your geocaching trip to Rhinelander by visiting

For complete trip planning information for Boulder Junction, visit

Boulder Junction and Rhinelander are both part of the Great Northwoods Treasure Hunt. Find special caches at

For additional information about the growing popularity of geocaching in Wisconsin, contact Susanne Thiede-Barnet at 608-242-8895 or [email protected].

Download pdf.

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April 21, 2010

Learning On The Go: Trips That Bring Science and History to Life

For immediate release:
Susanne Thiede-Barnet, 608-242-8895

Learning On The Go: Trips That Bring Science and History to Life
The Midwest’s best opportunities for hands-on learning can be found in Wisconsin

(April 27, 2010)—Engaging kids in learning has always been a teacher’s (and parent’s) challenge. Thanks to a variety of exciting learning-focused stops near great Wisconsin destinations, that engagement can happen even on vacation.  Check out some of the best places to keep you and your kids learning.

The Kovac Planetarium
Located in the Rhinelander Area, the Kovac Planetarium is one of Wisconsin’s greatest wonders. It holds the distinction of being only the fourth globe-style planetarium ever built — and it’s truly a sight to behold. Most incredibly, it is the work of one man — Frank Kovac — who designed and built it himself over the course of 10 years.

Visitors will be treated to a 90-minute experience in which they’ll see the complete rotation of the night sky as it would appear through a 24-hour period. The Kovac Planetarium is open year-round by reservation only, and accommodates up to 25 people. It’s a truly incredible experience — and one you probably wouldn’t expect to find in the woodlands of northern Wisconsin.

The Horicon Marsh International Education Center
Visitor CenterIn March 2009 the Horicon Marsh International Education Center in Dodge County opened, providing visitors with brand new facilities, space and exhibits. The marsh is truly a majestic place. With educational programming appropriate for any age, a day spent learning about the Horicon Marsh is sure to stay with you.

Visitors get their first glimpse of the cattails from the spectacular Marsh Viewing Area in the brand new Education Center building. Programming is offered to the public each weekend and includes marsh history, bird and ecology-focused hikes, and kid-centered events. You’ll find it easy to spend an afternoon at the marsh. Enjoy the five miles of trails through woodlots, prairies, and the strange and beautiful marshlands. With more than 300 species of birds, the marsh is one of the top birding sites in the upper Midwest. During your visit you might also try canoeing, biking, and fishing.

The North Lakeland Discovery Center
There may be no better way to appreciate the natural wonders of Wisconsin than a visit to the North Lakeland Discovery Center. The Center is located in the middle of beautiful Vilas County, and makes for a great day trip.

Situated on a tranquil 63-acre site in the heart of lake country, the Center offers some of the best public ecology programming anywhere. If your family enjoys hands-on learning, look no further.

Each week the Center’s staff offers great lessons and events designed for visitors to the Northwoods. You might enjoy a guided snowshoe hike where you’ll hone your wildlife tracking skills, bring the kids for a special wolf pup program to learn about these predators, or join a Center naturalist for an exploration and history lesson on the backwaters of the Manitowish River. Looking to strike out on your own? The Center maintains a 20-kilometer trail system fit for mountain biking, hiking, and cross country skiing.

The Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center at Freedom Park
Freedom Park on the Great River RoadScenic views, a great chance to see bald eagles and falcons, and the unique stories of a historic part of America are highlights at Freedom Park. Nestled above the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers in Prescott, Wisconsin, Freedom Park is a great place to begin your tour of this region, or of the entire Wisconsin Great River Road.

Step into the past through the unique stories of the people who called this region home: the brave pilots of steamboats that brought people, products and ideas from New Orleans to the Twin Cities, the Dakota people who lived in the area for centuries, and the first immigrants who made a living through fishing and boatbuilding. While you’re here, be sure to take a stroll along Freedom Park’s trails, keeping an eye out for the birds that call the Prescott area home. From May to October enjoy local honey, bread and fruits and vegetables at the on-site farmer’s market. Other events are held throughout the year.

The Rhinelander Logging Museum
Logging Museum in Rhinelander, WisconsinLocated deep in the Northwoods, The Rhinelander Logging Museum is an authentic logging camp where visitors go back to a simpler time. True to its 1870’s roots, the Rhinelander Area camp includes a bunkhouse, cook shanty and a blacksmith shop. Each of the camp’s buildings is meticulously recreated, and offers visitors the chance to see what life was like for the adventuring souls who worked on the edge of early American civilization.

Museum visitors will see many of the tools and equipment used by early loggers, including a steam hauler and the massive steam engine that ran the narrow railroads with logs. As one of the driving forces behind the U.S. economy in the 19th century, Rhinelander’s logging past will introduce you to an exciting era.

Visit for more information about Rhinelander Area attractions such as the Kovac Planetarium and the Logging Museum.

For more information about the Horicon Marsh and Dodge County, visit

Get complete details about Vilas County nature opportunities at

Find more interesting attractions along the Wisconsin Great River Road at

For additional information on any of these destinations and other historic and scientific activities, contact Susanne Thiede-Barnet at 608-242-8895 or [email protected].

Download pdf.

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April 14, 2010

A Real Road Trip

The old-fashioned family road trip is alive and well along the Wisconsin Great River Road 

La Crosse QueenIf you’re looking for a great road trip—one full of beautiful scenes, interesting people and places and lots of opportunities for memorable experiences—look no further than the Wisconsin Great River Road National Scenic Byway.

Running for 250 miles along the Mississippi River on Wisconsin’s western border, the Wisconsin Great River Road has the distinction of being the only designated National Scenic Byway in the State of Wisconsin. And with numerous scenic overlooks, wildlife refuges, historic markers and unique river towns, it is arguable the best drive in the Midwest.

What sets the Wisconsin Great River Road apart from other byways is the fact that the Mississippi River is a working waterway, full of boat and barge traffic. At viewing stations located in Alma, Fountain City, Trempealeau, Genoa and Lynxville, you can watch riverboats pushing barges through the enormous locks. And on the rail lines running along the river, almost 100 trains a day pass through the river corridor, carrying miles of cars loaded with freight.

View from Hanging RockEach of the 33 river towns are linked by the Wisconsin Great River Road could be destinations in their own right. Places like Potosi, Prairie du Chien, Onalaska, La Crosse and Pepin were home to some of the earliest European settlers in the area. Historic sites include Stonefield in Cassville, Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien and the Freedom Park Great River Road Interpretive Center in Prescott.

A dozen scenic overlooks provide some great views of the river and the surrounding countryside. And all along the way, you’ll stumble on historic markers, interesting shops, one-of-a-kind museums and excellent trails.

The Wisconsin Great River Road journey can take between two days and one week, depending on how much you want to explore.

An audio tour is available for the entire route 250-mile route. It’s a great way to really connect with what you’re seeing as you drive. Learn more about the Wisconsin Great River Road and download the free audio tour at


April 14, 2010

Rusk County’s Incredible Rivers

Four wild rivers offer great canoeing and kayaking, fantastic fishing and a variety of recreational options

Paddle the FlambeauLike most northern Wisconsin counties, Rusk County is home to a number of lakes—a total of 250 lakes in county, to be exact. But the true stars of this sparsely populated region of northwest Wisconsin are the rivers.

The Chippewa, Flambeau, Jump and Thornapple rivers of Rusk County offer some of Wisconsin’s best paddling, birdwatching, fishing and wilderness camping. Each of the four rivers has its own unique properties. But what all of the rivers have in common is quality—miles of undeveloped banks, great fishing, numerous camping opportunities and excellent public access.

For a straight-forward paddling trip, the Flambeau River is the perfect option. It’s among the most beautiful of all of Wisconsin’s rivers and features a number of well-documented and mapped paddling routes. As the river flows towards Ladysmith, paddlers will find many excellent places to camp.

One of the best kept secrets in the Midwest, the Jump River is not only one of the best paddling experiences, it’s also one of the cleanest riverways in North America. Solitude seekers looking to get away from the sights and sounds of civilization need to take a trip down the Jump River. The stretch from Highway 73 to Sheldon offers 9 miles of natural beauty. Clean banks of river-rounded stones invite you to take a break and enjoy the scenery.

The Chippewa River is the king of Northwoods rivers, big and brawny, with deep bends that hold monster musky. An exciting paddle is from the Hwy D bridge in Exeland down to Imalone—an 11-mile stretch with lots of fast water and great fishing. Walleye and bass fishing can be excellent on this section of the Chippewa.

The Thornapple River is truly wild, twisting and turning through remote forests and wetlands. If you’re looking for great birdwatching and wildlife viewing, this is the river for you. Be sure to check local conditions before embarking on your trip—the Thornapple River is prone to low water during periods with little rain.

A complete paddling guide for the Flambeau River is available, as well as a floating map with selected routes on several Rusk County waterways. To order a map and get more information on Rusk County’s rivers, visit