CRANDON - One of the spectators at the Crandon Brush run today hadn't seen the race in 20 years. Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett said she's impressed by the event's draw.
"You've got racers coming from all over the United States, yove got fans coming from all over the midwest and across the country and it's huge for tourism. Toursim is a 16.8 billion dollar industry in Wiscosin, and right here in Forest County, they are bringing them in by the thousands," said Klett.
Racing might not appeal to everyone but Klett says, don't underestimate the economic benefit this sport brings to the region.
"When you host an event like this, you think oh well folks are coming in for the races in Crandon, they're coming in for a couple days. Well, think about the hotel stays, the camping stays, people are fueling up. They're grabbing their coffee, they're buying their breakfast, their lunch, their dinner. You know they're not leaving here without a souvenir!"
Klett said racers she talked to remember every track they've been on, and most told her Crandon is their favorite. As for the spectators, she says Forest county's hospitality goes a long way in bring people back.
"They treat people first class, their customer service is great. So we know that not only are people coming here and spending their money, they're treated well, they're coming back and they're going to do it year after year after year."
MEDFORD - You know curling from the Olympics. This week, master curlers from across the country are throwing their rocks in Medford. But this kind of curling you won’t see in Sochi, Mixed Doubles.
"Mixed doubles is fun. I really like it. It's really quick, everything happens quick and you're making a lot of precision shots because you don't have sweepers. I like that a lot and I like getting to play with Brady," said Cristin Clark.
FOREST COUNTY - Forest Count and Wisconsin Off-Road Vehicle Park Inc. (WORVPI) have found a 10,000 acre plot of land they would like to buy for an off-road park, according to WORVPI President John Schnorr.
Schnorr wouldn't discuss the exact location in Forest County, but said they would hope to buy the parcels by June 2014. Right now they’re contracting an engineering firm to evaluate the land.
"That's so environmental concerns can be met," Schnorr said. "We'll look at that as well as a pleasurable experience for an off-road visitor who is going to come up and spend hopefully a weeks vacation in Forest County."
Forest County leaders believe an off-road park could help bring more tourists to the area, and with that more money. The county has the fifth worst unemployment rate, 7.9 percent, in Wisconsin.
WORVPI used Ripon College to perform a feasibility study on the off-road park. It says the average off-roader will travel 300 miles to visit an off-road park. It also projected an off-road park could bring in nearly $28 million per year for Forest County businesses.
"It will take us some time to operate and open it up and develop the trails, the camp sites, the amenities inside," Schnorr said. "Realistically we could see an opening date of Memorial Day of 2015."
The park would host ATVs, motorcycles and other vehicles on off-road trails.
People can help fund the park by purchasing $150 charter membership passes. More than 30 have already been purchased. Schnorr says only 100 will be available.
"The pass will entitle the holder to a park pass, an annual park pass, for the first year when the park opens," Schnorr said. "It will give us some capital up front and afford them a discounted price down the road."
Even with the progress, Schnorr says the project is still in the early stages.
"If you are an optimist, you think a huge amount of progress has been made," Schnorr said. "But if you are a pessimist, not enough progress has been made."
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Neither Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. nor By Request Web Designs shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.