Warm Up to the Ice Age Trail
If you were a tourism psychologist, you might diagnosis Wisconsin Dells as exhibiting a bit of a split personality. While the community prides itself as “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®,” there are three state parks close-by that bring in their share of visitors too. One of the biggest draws is the Ice Age National Scenic Trail at Devil’s Lake State Park. It is part of a 1,000-mile-long footpath marking the furthest advance of the last glacier in Wisconsin. Climbing enthusiasts also find plenty of challenges at Devil’s Lake Park. The other two parks are Mirror Lake State Park, a favorite for canoeing and kayaking, and Rocky Arbor State Park, where tall pines and sandstone bluffs offer a cool escape for picnickers and hikers.

Interview Recommendations

  • Shirley Tollaksen, chapter coordinator for the stretch of the trail that runs through the nearby Baraboo Hills
  • Steve Zowin, owner of Mirror Lake Rentals, on fishing Mirror Lake

Round-Up/Trend/Sidebar Story Ideas

  • Getting the entire family out for a hike
  • De-coding prehistoric Native American effigy mounds along the Ice Age Trail

Eco-friendly Practices in the Dells
You can "travel green" when you visit Wisconsin Dells. Let’s start with the waterparks. The Kalahari Resort has installed a smart "Energized System" which automatically conserves heat and turns off lights when guests leave the room. The Wilderness Resort won a Governor’s Award for Energy Efficiency last year for its condominium resort on Lake Delton. For restaurants, House of Embers plants their own garden behind the restaurant and buys locally whenever they can. It’s a similar story at the Cheese Factory Restaurant, sourcing summer produce from local farms. Then there’s Sundara Inn & Spa, with its new villas built with sustainable building practices and its organic cuisine and organic spa services.

Interview Recommendations

  • Pete Tennis, housekeeping director for all the Wilderness resort properties, who led the energy saving initiative

Round-Up/Trend/Sidebar Story Ideas

  • Tips to being an eco-conscious guest
  • What to look for in a hotel if "traveling green" is important to you

International Crane Foundation Folks Don Costumes
The mere sound of a crane is enough to stir the spirit. The oldest living family of birds on the earth and a cultural symbol of fidelity is also the most endangered species of bird. The only place in the world where you can see all 15 species of cranes is tucked away in a wildlife preserve on the outskirts of Wisconsin Dells. Surprised? So are a lot of people. Founded in 1973, the foundation’s work extends to five continents to protect the cranes and their ecosystems. Here in Wisconsin Dells, the group focuses on captive breeding and other programs designed to reintroduce cranes into the wild. A few years back, you may recall seeing news coverage of staff dressed in crane costumes to help in the reintroduction process of whooping cranes, the rarest of the cranes. Ultralight aircraft flown by crane-costumed pilots were even used to guide the young birds on migration routes from Wisconsin to Florida.

Interview Recommendations

  • ICF staff member Ann Burke who has dressed in costume as part of her life’s passion to preserve the crane population
  • George Archibald, one of the founders of the ICF

Round-Up/Trend/Sidebar Story Ideas

  • Eco-tourism is growing as multi generations take preservation seriously
  • Turning a vacation into a learning experience