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Rib Mountain State Park master plan revisions could include additional ski runs, mountain biking, hikingSubmitted: 10/31/2019
Story By Stephen Goin

Rib Mountain State Park master plan revisions could include additional ski runs, mountain biking, hiking
WAUSAU - An early morning chairlift to the top of Granite Peak in Wausau had a dual purpose for Safety and Professional Services Secretary-designee Dawn Crim.

Along with Gov. Tony Evers, Crim got a closer look Thursday at preparations for the winter season. The duo also inspected ski lift machinery. 

"All of the mechanics are working and he puts his stamp on it, he puts his stamp on our department and we put our stamp on the people," said Crim.

The Granite Peak workers who accompanied Evers and Crim on their inspection are among nearly 170,000 in Wisconsin employed because of outdoor recreation. The industry generates 17.9 billion in consumer spending year round. 
 
"Ski areas I think provide a real solid anchor for winter tourism and enable tourism to be much more year round and sustainable," said Granite Peak owner Charles Skinner. 

Soon, year round tourism will be a greater focus at Granite Peak. The state Natural Resources Board approved a revision of the Rib Mountain State Park master plan just last week.

"There's potential opportunities here for expansion of other outdoor recreation opportunities like mountain biking, additional hiking in addition to additional ski runs," said DNR section chief Missy VanLanduyt.
 
Granite Peak requested more than 150 acres for additional runs nearly five year ago. Evers said Thursday he says "can't imagine why we wouldn't want that expansion."

Ski season at Granite Peak launches November 16.


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NORTHWOODS - Wisconsin's lakes have a lot to offer their visitors. But some, like aquatic invasive species, are unwelcome due to the damage they can cause to native ecosystems.

There's a growing effort to prevent, contain, and control the spread of these aquatic invasive species, especially this holiday weekend. As part of the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, volunteers will be stationed across popular boat landings, doing inspections and educating boaters on how to properly clean their boats.

"Any type of holiday weekend, especially the fourth of July when there's a lot more boat traffic, there's an emphasis on getting more awareness out there," said DNR recreation warden Justin Bender.

Aside from volunteers, most boat landings also have information posted on aquatic invasive species and the laws regarding boat cleaning. Citations for not properly cleaning your boats typically run $200-300.

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The Hodag Water Shows Board of Directors have canceled the water ski shows for 2020.

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ST. GERMAIN - The St. Germain Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first ever 'Sunday Funday.' 

On Sunday, July 5th, there will be two bands: Flying Blind from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tony Ocean 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

St. Germain's Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Penny Strom said she wants this to be an opportunity for people to get outside while being safe.

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- The U.S. headed into the Fourth of July weekend with many parades and fireworks displays canceled, beaches and bars closed, and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans' self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak.

With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors and local officials have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.

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State cigarette taxes were also increased during this time period and contribute to this reduction.

"Wisconsin is breathing easier today thanks to this law, but we know there are many people in our state who still smoke," said DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm. "We urge smokers to take advantage of the programs available to help them to quit, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people who smoke are believed to be more susceptible to the virus, and can become severely ill with it."

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The shelter got a helping hand, thanks to a $35,000 grant from the ASPCA. It's part of an initiative to help brick-and-mortar shelters improve their animals' quality of life.

Shelter director Angie Schaefer says that money paid for 20 new cat-condos, fencing for two new dog yards, and several other much-needed supplies.

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If you're interested in volunteering or donating to the humane society, visit its website for more information.

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