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2012 Record Year for Tourism in Eagle RiverSubmitted: 04/23/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

2012 Record Year for Tourism in Eagle River
Photos By Kailey Burton

EAGLE RIVER - The City of Eagle River saw more revenue from tourists in 2012 than ever before.

According to the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce, businesses can thank a number of year-round special events for the increase in customers.

"We strategically do events throughout the complete season... In other words there's events in the winter, spring, summer and fall, and just different things to bring different people to the area. We continue to try to make them grow, and continue to look for new ways and new things to do to bring people to the area," said Conrad Heeg, Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce Director.

Some of those events include the US Pond Hockey Tournament, Klondike days, Cranberryfest, The World Championship Snowmobile Derby, and Journey's marathon.

The chamber also draws people in by advertising Eagle River and its events as far away as Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis.

"People come from those distances to come here to do things, well they're automatically going to stay overnight. And if they stay overnight they're spending money on lodging, to buy gas to go shopping to go to dinner," said Heeg.

Chamber Director Heeg, also credits their database of more than 400 volunteers for making the many large-scale events possible.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - A $5 million facility that just opened in Merrill hopes to give people a place to learn more about heavy equipment and technology.

On Friday, Nortrax, a division of John Deere, celebrated the grand opening of a facility. Dozens of community members and officials were at the ribbon cutting.The process to open up the location on South Pine Ridge started a few years ago.

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NEWBOLD - Hundreds of people took time to visit the Newbold Fire Department Saturday for their annual picnic fundraiser.

The event featured plenty of food, raffles, face painting, and live music. This was the 49th year for the event.

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TRIPOLI - The Tripoli Log Church celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. Most people say it's one of the oldest buildings in that community.

On Saturday, many people who grew up going to the church went back to celebrate its history.

"At four years old I started coming to Sunday school," said Elise Marheine who grew up going to the church.

"I was baptized here and I've been here just about ever since," said Skip Rice, who also grew up attending The Log Church.

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MADISON - MADISON, Wis. (AP) - " The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's request to provide federal low-interest disaster loans for individuals and businesses affected by flooding.

The SBA will provide loans for up to $200,000 for damaged homes, $40,000 for damaged property, and $2 million to businesses for physical damage and economic loss because of flooding.

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MOUNT PLEASANT - MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (AP) " A community in southeastern Wisconsin is planning ahead in case it becomes the site for a major Foxconn facility.

The Journal Times reports that Mount Pleasant officials are planning to create the position of project director to handle business related to the project.

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WOOD COUNTY - A man died after a motorcycle crash on State Highway 54 East of School Lane in Wood County.

The crash happened around 4:41 p.m. Saturday in the Town of Cranmoor.

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VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County prides itself on its miles of trails. Whether it's cross country skiing, walking or biking, there are plenty of options. But one of the longest is the Heart of Vilas County bike system.

"We have 47 miles of paved bike trails. I don't think that any place in the state can match that, it's awesome," said Mary Vangrinsven.

Those nearly 50 miles make up the Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail.

"It's like being on vacation every day of my life," said Vangrinsven.

When the trail started nearly 20 years ago, bikers, walkers and runners were very excited.
"I was pretty amazed by how much use it was getting. I wondered if this was just a fad or whether it was something real," said Vangrinsven.

But it was real. The finished trail goes through four different communities.

"It's been a great addition to what you can do in Vilas County," said Ken Wiesner.

Bikers can go from St. Germain to Manitowish Waters and hit up Sayner and Boulder Junction along the way.

"In my opinion, it's really changed the local economy for the better," said Wiesner.

Every Wednesday, a group of nearly 50 people bike along a part of the Heart of Vilas County Bike trail.

"I think we're really finding, especially in the areas up here, that we have very active adults," said Vangrinsven.

Wiesner and his wife Barb joined the group because they have a cabin in Vilas County.

"We've made a lot of new friends over the past 10 years, primarily in the biking," said Wiesner.

Whether you do it with a group of friends, or by yourself, there's also something to enjoy along the trail.

There are shops along the trail to rent bikes if you don't have one. If you would like more information on the trail, click on the link below.

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