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Bayfield County Wild


Jun 6, 2018

On this episode of Bayfield County Wild Co-hosts Nancy Christopher and Mary Motiff, director of Bayfield County Tourism, speak with Kevin Schram, president of the Chequamegon Chapter of the North Country Trail Association. They discuss how Kevin’s subchapter handles the maintenance and promotion of their portion of the trail running through Bayfield and Ashland counties, as well as other upcoming area events throughout June. 

Waterfalls and Hiking Trails in Bayfield County 

Bayfield County is rich in natural wonders, so we invite everyone to get out and enjoy nature to its fullest this summer! 

Houghton Falls – A popular location for visitors for its beauty and natural resources, Houghton Falls’ eco system is delicate. Visitors are encouraged to adhere to the signage and stay on the designated trails to avoid additional damage to the area. As part of the Bayfield Regional Conservancy, helps the Town of Bayview to manage and preserve the falls and surrounding land for the future. 

At Lost Creek Falls near Cornucopia, the Forestry and Parks Department has made some improvements to the trail, including the addition of a boardwalk. It's approximately 1.5 miles to the falls, Stay tuned for more developments at Lost Creek Falls later this year, with the addition of a bridge that leads to a picnic area and steps to get down to the falls. 

Hiking Trails – Bayfield County has over 35 different hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels. From three-quarters-of-a-mile on the Gil Larson Nature Trail around the Old Iron Bridge in Bayfield, to a much longer hike on the North Country Trail, hikes are noted as easy to moderate for both rookie and experienced hikers. 

Interactive Map – Did you know Bayfield County Tourism offers an online interactive map – usable on mobile devices or computers – that can assist you in planning your next hike? Click our link, then click on “Play,” followed by “Non-Motorized Trails.” You can then zoom in and see trail details throughout Bayfield County! If you’d prefer a printed brochure, please contact our office and we’ll be happy to send one your way. 

North Country Trail 

America’s longest among 14 national scenic trails, the North Country Trail runs through seven states, from the plains to the east coast. The North Country Trail Association (NCTA) is a national organization based in Michigan. Its various subchapters in each state are responsible for maintaining and promoting its particular section of the trail. Kevin Schram and the volunteer members of the NCTA’s Chequamegon Chapter handle the section of the trail that runs through both Bayfield and Ashland counties. The Wisconsin portion of the North Country Trail offers continuous wilderness hiking for over 130 miles. 

To get a sense of the depth of the 4,600-mile-long North Country Trail, if you headed west from Bayfield County you could hike about halfway into North Dakota. Heading east, the trail stretches as far as New York. Kevin hopes that in the future, the trail will link up with the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. Only a dozen people have hiked the entire trail, with half accomplishing this journey over different periods of time. These individuals are referred to as section hikers. The other six are considered through-hikers, who start at one end and walk continuously to the other. There are plenty of day hikes on the North Country Trail in Bayfield County for those who want to do a more casual hike, though. 

The work Kevin and his team accomplish includes re-routes around wet areas, removal of fallen trees on the trail and maintenance on bridges and other structures to ensure safety for all hikers. He speaks highly of the Wisconsin portion of the trail for backpacking, as two different wilderness areas allow camping anywhere you desire, if the location is at least 200 feet from a fresh water source.  

Currently, the Chequamegon Chapter of the NCTA is working with the National Forest Service to construct some back country campsites, which will help to make the North Country Trail in Wisconsin a premiere backpacking destination. Kevin hopes to have a campsite every seven miles, but it will be a slow process. The National Forest Service will hopefully approve at least two sites in 2018, and Kevin’s group could have them built by fall. He says that ideally, all campsites would be listed on maps so visitors can better plan their stay. 

Anyone who hikes the North Country Trail can register on the NCTA website to get special patches that recognize when individuals have hiked 50 or 100 miles of the trail. Kevin says there are fun, interpretive and themed hikes offered as well. June’s hike focuses on finding and identifying different species of birds. For event info, follow the Wisconsin chapter of the NCTA on Facebook

June Events 

Summer is heating up with a full list of events in Bayfield County!

Throughout June: World-famous recording artists like Brandi Carlile, Jackson Browne, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo and Kenny G will perform under the stars this month at Big Top Chautauqua. Tickets are available here and for more information, check out last month’s podcast with Big Top Operations Manager Phillip Anich. 

Through June 10: Admire over 50,000 blooming daffodils, a vibrant mosaic of roadside lupine & rolling orchards of apple blossoms bursting into rosy color during our month-long celebration of spring, Bayfield In Bloom! Take a self-guided garden tour and attend the annual Blessing of the Fleet. 

June 9: The 8th Annual Summerfest Spider Lake Run begins and ends at the Iron River Community Center. Registration for this 10K, 5K or 2-mile walk/run is available here

June 7 – 10: Legendary Waters Resort and Casino will host the RV, Sport & Boat Show. Check out all the toys to make your summer fun, from hot tubs to motorcycles.   

June 21: Kayak the Namekagon allows you to experience the wonders of the area with the leadership of a naturalist. Paddlers of all experience levels are welcome. 

June 23: The Superior Vistas Bike Tour celebrates its 14th anniversary this year with a leisurely ride supported by different route choices. Whether you want to ride 10 miles or 100, you’ll see incredible views of Lake Superior from the hills surrounding it.  

June 24 – July 8: Try your hand at the art of glass blowing with a class at Oulu Glass, located north of Iron River and south of Port Wing in the northwest corner of Bayfield County.  

We also encourage you to get out on the water by either renting a boat (pontoon, sailboat, motorboat or kayak), chartering a sailboat, taking a boat tour of the mainland caves or taking an Apostle Island cruise! Any excuse is great to check out the big lake or the many inland lakes this summer.  

July Preview 

Bayfield is the Berry Capital of Wisconsin, with the biggest selection of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in the state. We’ll discuss all the orchards, berry farms (and wineries) to visit in Bayfield County on next month’s episode! 

If you want to learn more about Bayfield County, be sure to subscribe to our podcasts. Get a little WILD at travelbayfieldcounty.com, and don’t forget to explore our interactive map

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Affiliate Notes 

Pine Point Lodge — Located in the heart of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, this family-owned resort offers relaxation, recreation and activities all year long on the Pike Lake Chain. Clean and comfortable cabins, a friendly tavern and many local attractions await you, as well as over 500 feet of lakeside excitement with free kayak, canoe, paddle board and wind surfer rentals to all guests. 

Drumming Woods B&B — Newly constructed just outside of Cable — adjacent to thousands of acres of public land for enjoyment during all seasons — this bed and breakfast provides casual elegance and a warm atmosphere for all visitors. Whether you enjoy hiking, canoeing, fishing, hunting or trap and skeet shooting, there’s something for everyone.  

PJ’s Cabin Store — Conveniently located on the corner of County Y and Lake Road near the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes, be sure to stop by while you’re in Barnes for everything from ice to bait and everything in between. It’s not just a gas station and convenience store – it’s a bar and grill, too, and the staff can help with hunting & fishing licenses, plus insider tips on area information.  

Pinehurst Inn — Surrounded by beautiful gardens and bordered by Pike’s Creek, Pinehurst Inn offers comfort and tranquility. Recognized as one of the Top 10 Eco-Friendly Inns in America by BedAndBreakfast.com, the Pinehurst In is committed to environmental sustainability while providing a magnificent, rejuvenating stay, nestled among soaring white pines.