Issuu on Google+

SPRING 2010

Going Green

PLUS

When New London becomes New Dublin Local bird watching hot spots Guide to restaurants and lodging

The

LURE of Wolf River Fishing Any season, any reason

Navarino, others embrace sustainability

Resorting to Tradition

Many generations continue annual treks to region

Going Green

Navarino, others embrace sustainability

Resorting to Tradition

Many generations continue annual treks to region

Two seasoned anglers display their catch of white bass on a dock in the village of Fremont.


SPRING 2010

Going Green

PLUS

When New London becomes New Dublin Local bird watching hot spots Guide to restaurants and lodging

The

LURE of Wolf River Fishing Any season, any reason

Navarino, others embrace sustainability

Resorting to Tradition

Many generations continue annual treks to region

Going Green

Navarino, others embrace sustainability

Resorting to Tradition

Many generations continue annual treks to region

Two seasoned anglers display their catch of white bass on a dock in the village of Fremont.


GOLDEN COUNTRY

Something Fishy…? E

ver camp out overnight to be first in line for a newly anticipated film? Or stake out a place all day for the greatest fireworks display on July 4? What about jockeying for position to snag the mighty walleye? What? The latter may sound, well, fishy, but it’s true, as this vintage 1940s-era cartoon by Tom Rost can attest. According to the Wisconsin DNR, for some years throughout the 1930s through 1950s, there were some “pretty strange regulations” regarding fishing on the Wolf River. Many years had closed seasons, with strict dates and times on when fishing could occur. And when the season did open, it did so at midnight—often on April 1 (probably no coincidence it happened on April Fool’s Day!). So, as Rost’s cartoon depicts, anglers from far and wide would scurry up and down the river from Winneconne to Shiocton. Rost’s cartoon depicts the huddled masses—some on foot, some by boat—on the Winneconne Bridge, famous for being the only Wisconsin bridge on a state highway that fishermen can legally fish from anymore. With rods and reels at the ready, excitement ran high, and there was great temptation to start early. Lore even has it that a cannon shot fired at midnight tolled the start of the mighty walleye season. Rost—who died in 2004 at age 95—was no stranger to the great outdoors. And his work as a commercial artist and illustrator relayed that passion. For many years, Rost gained national attention for his illustrations of fish, fowl and fauna—many of which appeared in Field & Stream and other national publications. And the former staff illustrator for the Milwaukee Journal also designed and illustrated the first and third Wisconsin State Trout Stamps in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Rost’s cartoon was playful, if exaggerated. The fishermen—some clad in waders, some in caps and wool coats—were filled with anticipation. Even the word balloons illustrate their love of fishing—one noted, “Maybe he’ll grow to thirteen inches if I take him home and feed him.” Another quipped, “I saw you start at five to twelve!” But perhaps one balloon—at the far lower right of the cartoon—says it all, echoing the thoughts and dreams of Wolf River fishermen both then and now—“Nothing like fishing to take one away from it all.”

1700 GC

CENTRAL WISCONSIN’S FACTORY AUTHORIZED TUFFY DEALER! - 2010 INVENTORY IN STOCK -

ESOX MAGNUM

Sportsman X2

Rost’s cartoon is reprinted with permission of his son, Jonathan. For more details on ordering a poster of the cartoon—with proceeds going to Shadows on the Wolf—contact Gordon Pagel at (920) 841-2118 or gpagel@wolfrivercountry.com. Read more about the historic Wolf River fishing regulations online at www.wolfrivercountry.com. – Sharon Verbeten

www.fortfremontmarine.com | 920.446.3220 2 miles south of Fremont on County. Rd. II, right on the Wolf River


GOLDEN COUNTRY

Something Fishy…? E

ver camp out overnight to be first in line for a newly anticipated film? Or stake out a place all day for the greatest fireworks display on July 4? What about jockeying for position to snag the mighty walleye? What? The latter may sound, well, fishy, but it’s true, as this vintage 1940s-era cartoon by Tom Rost can attest. According to the Wisconsin DNR, for some years throughout the 1930s through 1950s, there were some “pretty strange regulations” regarding fishing on the Wolf River. Many years had closed seasons, with strict dates and times on when fishing could occur. And when the season did open, it did so at midnight—often on April 1 (probably no coincidence it happened on April Fool’s Day!). So, as Rost’s cartoon depicts, anglers from far and wide would scurry up and down the river from Winneconne to Shiocton. Rost’s cartoon depicts the huddled masses—some on foot, some by boat—on the Winneconne Bridge, famous for being the only Wisconsin bridge on a state highway that fishermen can legally fish from anymore. With rods and reels at the ready, excitement ran high, and there was great temptation to start early. Lore even has it that a cannon shot fired at midnight tolled the start of the mighty walleye season. Rost—who died in 2004 at age 95—was no stranger to the great outdoors. And his work as a commercial artist and illustrator relayed that passion. For many years, Rost gained national attention for his illustrations of fish, fowl and fauna—many of which appeared in Field & Stream and other national publications. And the former staff illustrator for the Milwaukee Journal also designed and illustrated the first and third Wisconsin State Trout Stamps in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Rost’s cartoon was playful, if exaggerated. The fishermen—some clad in waders, some in caps and wool coats—were filled with anticipation. Even the word balloons illustrate their love of fishing—one noted, “Maybe he’ll grow to thirteen inches if I take him home and feed him.” Another quipped, “I saw you start at five to twelve!” But perhaps one balloon—at the far lower right of the cartoon—says it all, echoing the thoughts and dreams of Wolf River fishermen both then and now—“Nothing like fishing to take one away from it all.”

1700 GC

CENTRAL WISCONSIN’S FACTORY AUTHORIZED TUFFY DEALER! - 2010 INVENTORY IN STOCK -

ESOX MAGNUM

Sportsman X2

Rost’s cartoon is reprinted with permission of his son, Jonathan. For more details on ordering a poster of the cartoon—with proceeds going to Shadows on the Wolf—contact Gordon Pagel at (920) 841-2118 or gpagel@wolfrivercountry.com. Read more about the historic Wolf River fishing regulations online at www.wolfrivercountry.com. – Sharon Verbeten

www.fortfremontmarine.com | 920.446.3220 2 miles south of Fremont on County. Rd. II, right on the Wolf River


FREMONT CHAMBER

920.446.3838 visit www.travelfremont.com


FREMONT CHAMBER

920.446.3838 visit www.travelfremont.com


contents 34 48 WOLF RIVER NEWS STREAM 16 | F  rom Energy to Education Wolf River Country making strides in ‘going green’

B y C h e ry l H e n t z

ON THE WATER 20 | A  ccess to All Wolf River Country focuses on accessibility B y C h e ry l H e n t z

24 | A  Walleye Heyday Introducing the class of 2008 By Joel “Doc” Kunz

26 | F  ishing for a Shore Thing Shore fising opportunities abound B y G o r d o n Pa g e l

30 | R  afting the River A fishing tradition

B y Ly n n K u h n s

IN EVERY ISSUE

FEATURES 38 | R  esorting to Tradition Return guests call Wolf River home…for generations

50 | Irish Antics When New London transforms to New Dublin B y M a r y B e t h M at z e k

54 | Rebuilding for the Future Seawall Solutions tackles restoration projects

7 From the

B y Ly n n K u h n s

Publisher

9 From the Editor

50

10  Calendar of Events

B y Ly n n K u h n s

34  Passing Currents

68 | Take a Walk on the Wild Side Long and winding roads lead to solitude

46 Map to Wolf River Country

B y W i l l S ta h l

77 | Exit Stage Left Far from Broadway, theater shines in Wolf River Country

48  Road Trip!

B y J ay e A l d e r s o n

SILENT SPORTS 58 | Prime Time for Birders Region is rife with bird watching options B y R i ck C o h l e r

On the Cover Photograph courtesy of Fremont Historical Society Our cover shot is a classic fishing pose probably taken around 1910. They are most likely standing on the dock of what is today the Bridge Bar in Fremont. The view is looking across the river to the southeast, and in the background is one of the first summer homes in Fremont, the Baughman Cottage. The cottage still exists today as the home of Dan Sambs, current Village of Fremont president, and his wife, Carol.

w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

82 Directory

58

84 Parting Shot

This way to WRC »»»»

www.wolfrivercountry.com S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

5


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From the publisher

January…thaw and the onset of Cabin Fever

A

s an active outdoorsman who

trouble fooling us. After a week of

grew up living and playing

unusually mild weather, things settle

in Wolf River Country,

back into normal temperature ranges,

I’ve never considered

and we are left with facing down six

the alternative to rushing headlong into

weeks of winter. Some will accept their

winter’s frigid embrace. For me, it’s an

fate, some will escape to warmer climes,

innate characteristic I had no control over,

and some will catch the fever.

much like my birthday, which is January

I usually catch it.

22. And as much as I believe my birth date

Symptoms vary from person to person,

is responsible for my willingness to play in

but in Wolf River Country, it often

the ice and snow, it, in turn, is responsible

manifests itself in obsessive or unusual

for me being conflicted.

behavior. If you start spending your

A well-documented weather

weekends making and painting jigs or

phenomenon we all know as the “January

tying three-way rigs and harnesses, you

thaw” regularly occurs around January

have it. If you own a raft and you are

25. During this period, usually lasting

sleeping in it where you dry dock it, you

about a week, temperatures will run

have it. If you are one of the guys who

about 10 degrees above normal. For us in

slides his boat across the ice to fish an open

Wolf River Country, that typically means

40-foot run of water, you have it.

temperatures above freezing and a literal

And yes, if you find yourself standing in

thaw. Most will seize the opportunity to

a cooler of hot water to thaw your feet out

partake in the outdoor resources the region

after your first barefoot run of the year, you

has to offer, while a few will fret about

definitely have it!

deteriorating ice conditions or whether

Fortunately, as you will see in this issue,

the run-off will cloud water clarity for

Wolf River Country offers many remedies

the upcoming sturgeon spearing season.

to break the fever, assuming your own

But one thing is certain—we all will be

obsessive attempts don’t work.

exposed to the fever, and some are more vulnerable to catching it then others. You may not be able to fool Mother

Gordon Pagel Publisher, Wolf River Country

WRC Photo Contest Winners For photo contest winners, visit our website, www. wolfrivercountry.com. Winning photos will be displayed along with a gallery of all submissions.

Nature, but she apparently has little

w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

7


8 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

2010

w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


From the Edi tor Phone (920) 841-2118 www.wolfrivercountry.com publisher Gordon Pagel gpagel@wolfrivercountry.com Managing editor Sharon Verbeten toylady@athenet.net design & Creative direction A2Z Design, LLC www.a2zdesign.com Jeff Amstutz, Principal/Creative Director Michael Miller, Art Director Advertising design Elizabeth Aaron Mike Heidl Design (920) 216-2508 mikeheidl@hotmail.com Contributing writers Jaye Alderson Richard Cohler Cheryl Hentz Jennifer Hogeland Lynn Kuhns Joel Kunz MaryBeth Matzek Gordon Pagel Will Stahl Sharon Verbeten Photographers Ron Brooks-All Aerial Photos Richard Cohler Eagle Studios Tom “Swell Guy” Austreng Steve Jordan Joel “Doc” Kunz Gordon Pagel Valley Camera (photo processing) reprints, advertising rates, subscriptions www.wolfrivercountry.com Letters to the editor, corrections, story ideas: Wolf River Country: Gordon Pagel gpagel@wolfrivercountry.com To advertise Gordon Pagel gpagel@wolfrivercountry.com (920) 841-2118 Wolf river country OFFICE 422 E. Frances Street Appleton, WI 54911 (920) 841-2118 2010 PUBLICATION SCHEDULE

February (Spring), May (Summer), August (Fall), November (Winter) Wolf River Country magazine is published quarterly by WRC Media. Spring 2010. Vol 2, No. 1. 422 E. Frances St., Appleton, WI 54911. Copyright 2010 by WRC. Reproductions in whole or in part without written permission are prohibited. Postmaster: send address changes to: 422 E. Frances Street, Appleton, WI 54911;

Sharon Verbeten Managing Editor, Wolf River Country

The promise of spring

W

ith winter comes inspiration—as I type this, the first snowstorm of the

season is blowing through, threatening to dump as much as a foot on

roadways, lawns and anywhere else I’d like to tread. It’s a sure thing that Wisconsin winters will include some snow—and for fans of Wolf River Country, that’s a very good thing. But don’t be confused that we’re calling this our spring issue—just a publishing term, really, when you publish four times a year. When you read this—likely in February—there may still be snow on the ground, but the promise of spring will be just around the bend. And with spring, comes the true promise of Wolf River Country. The river thaws, life springs anew, and people perk up—ready to explore something they may never have realized about the area. Maybe that’s the country cheese shop they’ve always wanted to visit—or taking a walk alongside the river, the remnants of winter still sticking to their shoes. Whatever spring means to you, rest assured you’ll find it in Wolf River Country— whether you’re a local or someone just driving through. Now, where will your path take you this spring? Here’s to your purposeful travels—and those wonderful detours that show us the unknown, and delightfully charming personality, that is Wolf River Country.

(920) 841-2118

w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

9


CALENDAR of events Calling all Fishing Fanatics

S

ign up to be a sturgeon guard volunteer. The DNR begins seeking volunteers in February or March. Visit dnr.wi.gov/fish/sturgeon/sturgeon_ guard.html for up-to-date information on what to join “sturgeon patrol.”

Fremont

» Sat. Apr. 17. Brat fry, 9 a.m. – 5

p.m., Fremont Village Parking Lot, sponsored by Wolf River Community Club, 920-407-1387. » Fri. Apr. 30. Demo Days, Fort Fremont Marine, 920-446-3220.

May

» Sat. May 1. Demo Days, Fort

February

» Fri.-Sat. Feb. 5-6 . Snow-Cross

Fremont Marine, 920-446-3220.

» Sat. May 29. Spring Rummage-A-

Races, Fort Fremont Marine, 920-446-3220. » Sat. Feb 6 . American Legion Fisheree, Blue Top Resort on Partridge Lake, sponsored by Fremont American Legion, 920-446-3279. » Sat. Feb. 20. Wine and beer tasting, 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., Ted’s Grandview Supper Club, sponsored by Tri-County Powerboat Alliance, 920-841-8372. » Sat. Feb. 27. Turkey dinner, American Legion Hall, sponsored by Fremont EMS and Fire Department, 920-446-2288.

Rama, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., sponsored by Fremont Neighborhood Watch, 920-446-3236. » Sat. May 29. Brat fry, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Fremont Citgo, sponsored by Wolf River Community Club, 920-407-1387. » Mon. May 31. Memorial Day parade and Lakeside Cemetery ceremony, sponsored by Fremont American Legion, 920-446-3279.

March

February

» Sat. Mar. 6. Chili dinner, pizza and

bingo, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., American Legion Hall, sponsored by Wolf River Community Club, 920-407-1387.

April

» Sat. Apr. 3. Egg hunt and breakfast

with Easter Bunny, 9 a.m., Fremont Elementary School, sponsored by Fremont Neighborhood Watch, 920-446-3236. » Sat. Apr. 3. Walleye Tournament Red Banks Resort, 920-446-2933. » Sat. Apr. 3. Walleye Tournament Historic Hotel Fremont, 920-446-2402. » Sat. Apr. 17. 10th Annual Walleye Tournament, weigh in at 1 p.m., sponsored by Fort Fremont Marine, 920-446-3220. 10 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

2010

New London

» Ongoing, Feb. 1-Apr. 10, Community

collector, dolls exhibit at New London Public Museum, 920-982-8520.

» Thu.-Sat. Feb 4-6, 11-13. “The

Marquis Crossing Ladies Society’s First Attempt at Murder,” Wolf River Community Theatre, 7:30 p.m., tickets, $10 reserved, $11 at door, 920-980-6060. » Sat. Feb. 13. Evening for Sweethearts, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, reception with snowshoe walk and campfire, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m., $40/couple. Register by Feb. 6, 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill. com. » Sat. Feb. 13. Curiosity series, cooking with Edison, New London Public Museum, 10-11:30 a.m., 920-982-8520. » Sat. Feb. 20. Women’s Wellness Day, New London High School, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., 920-982-5822. Preregister.

» Sat.-Sun. Feb 20-21. Winter camping,

Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sun. Feb. 21. LNFI: Snowshoeing for Families, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 12:30 p.m. - 3 p.m., $6/individual, $10/family. Register by Feb. 10, 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sat. Feb. 27. Pruning Shade Trees: Beyond the Basics, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. $20/adults, $17/seniors. Register by Feb. 25, 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sat. Feb. 27. Willow basketry, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sat. Feb. 27. New London Area Chamber of Commerce beer tasting, Crystal Fall Banquet Facility, beer tasting, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., music, 9 p.m. - midnight. Cost $20 in advance, $25 at door. » Sat.-Sun. Feb. 27-28. Midwinter art exhibit and bottomless soup bowl feed, New London High School, 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

March

» Sat. Mar. 6. Leopold bench building

workshop, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m., $50/person, $45/students and seniors. Register by Feb. 20. 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sun. Mar. 7. Shrews and Mice and Moles… Oh My!, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 12:30 p.m. - 3 p.m., $6/ individual, $10/family. Register by Mar. 1. 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sun. Mar. 7. Pancake breakfast, Legion Clubhouse, 840 N. Waters St., 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., sponsored by American Legion Norris Spencer Post #263, 920-982-5260. www.newlondonwi.org/museum.htm. » Wed. Mar. 10. Learn about the w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


Manning the mighty sturgeon

T

he annual lake sturgeon spawning run along the Wolf River brings thousands of visitors to the shores for a unique experience. “The Wolf River is one of the few places in the world where the spawning activity takes place,” said Dan Helf, Wolf Water team leader with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “Five- to six-foot fish nearly climb out of the water to spawn. That’s pretty unique among other kinds of fish. It’s a very unique situation that people in the Wolf River area are blessed with.” He said the prehistoric lake sturgeon are interesting to watch. Spawning usually occurs mid-April to the first week in May, but this can vary, Helf said. “Sturgeon spawning is dependent on water temperature and flow,” Helf said. “It predominantly depends on water temperature. When it reaches about 56 degrees, that’s the signal for the sturgeon to begin their spawning activity. “Sometimes spawning can drag out and take a couple of weeks, and sometimes it can be done in literally days. Once

preservation, Village Hall in Fremont, 7 p.m., sponsored by Wolf River Preservation Club, 920-982-6247. » Thu.-Sat. Mar. 11-13. “Madame’s Been Murdered, Tea Will Be Late,” by Wolf River Community Theatre, at New London High School, 7 p.m., tickets, $10 reserved, $11 at door, 920-980-6060. » Fri. Mar. 12. Globe at Night, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Register by Mar 10. 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sat. Mar. 13. Landscaping with w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

they start spawning, as long as water temperature remains at the magic 56 degrees, they will go all day and all night. If it cools back down again, they will postpone their spawn and slide back down into deeper water. Once it comes back up they will finish their work.” There are three main sites along the Wolf accessible for public viewing: • www.dnr.state.wi.us/fish/sturgeon/shawanodam.html Shawano Dam, Shawano. Parking is available on the east side of the river at the end of Richmond Street. • www.dnr.state.wi.us/fish/sturgeon/bamboobend.html Bamboo Bend at Shiocton on County Highway 54. Parking is available on the north side of County Highway 54. • www.dnr.state.wi.us/fish/sturgeon/wrsturgeontrail.html Wolf River Sturgeon Trail, about two miles west of New London on County Highway X. Parking is available on the south side of the river about 1/2 mile from the spawning site. This offers handicapped access via a blacktop walking path. It also has fishing platforms, walking trails, a wetland walkway and a fishing area. “From our perspective, any time we can get access to the river for the public, that’s a good thing,” Helf said. “On a weekend during spawning season, thousands of people are there to see them.” Each spring, hundreds of volunteers and families have an opportunity to guard sturgeon at their spawning sites on the Wolf River and protect the fish from poaching. The volunteers of the “Sturgeon Patrol” guard the spawning fish 24 hours a day throughout the spawning season. Those interested in volunteering can fill out a form online at www.dnr.state.wi.us/fish/sturgeon/sturgeon_spawning.html or call (920) 303-5444. ­—Jaye Alderson

Natives, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., $5/person, $3/ students and seniors. Register by Mar. 7, 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sat. Mar. 13. Curiosity series, topic TBD, New London Public Museum, 920-982-8520. » Sun. Mar. 14. American Legion birthday party, Crystal Falls, 5 p.m., 920-982-5186. » Mon.-Fri. Mar. 15-19. St. Patrick’s Day weeklong celebration, 920-982-3891, www.newdublin.com. » Sat. Mar 20. St. Patrick’s Day grand

parade and Irish Fest, downtown New London, 920-982-3891. » Sat. Mar. 20. Build Your Own Rain Barrel, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m., $45/person, $40/ students and seniors. Register by Mar. 6. 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sat. Mar. 20. Crane count planning meeting, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m., all participating in the Annual Sandhill Crane County on Sat. Apr. 17 are encouraged to attend, 920-779-6433, continued» www.mosquitohill.com. S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

11


CALENDAR of events

ICE BREAKER Returns To Fremont March 12-14

A

fter an informal beginning in the spring of 2006, ICE BREAKER became an annual event when the venue was at the Bridge Bar in Fremont the following year. A tent was pitched for seminars while pool tables and dinner tables became display space for retailers, guides, and tournament directors. A few boats were on display outside, and the one-day show drew approximately 600 visitors. Now, three years later, ICE BREAKER 5 is a three-day show that has drawn thousands of anglers from all over the Midwest. Thanks to Channel Cats’ Fremont Event Center and the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, ICE BREAKER returns to Fremont in 2010. The show’s appeal is its strong line-up of speakers delivering seminars focused on catching walleye on the Wolf River and Winnebago system. The free show is the brainchild of local outdoor writer Joel “Doc” Kunz and Denny Fox of Fort Fremont. Visitors rave about the list of speakers and no nonsense information. This year’s line-up includes Daryl Christensen, Mike Gofron, “Axl” Ehricke and Joel “Doc” Kunz returning to anchor the show. As commitments from the likes of Chase Parsons, Dave VanOss, Patrick Byle and Larry Smith come

» Sun. Mar. 21. Musky Magic, New

London Middle School, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., 920-779-6433. » Sat. Mar. 27. Birdscaping Your Yard, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., $5/person, $3/students and seniors. Register by Mar. 23. 920779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com.

April

» Ongoing, Apr. 20-Oct. 30. Audubon:

The Art of Natural History exhibit, New London Public Museum, 920-982-8520. » Saturdays, Apr. 24-May 29. Morning bird hikes, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 7 a.m. -10 a.m., All skill levels are welcome, 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sat. Apr. 3, Easter egg hunt, Franklin Park, sponsored by New London Jaycees, www.newlondonjaycees.org. 12 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

2010

in, we will update on line at www. wolfrivercountry. com. Muskie aficionado Steve Worrel of Muskie First makes an appearance to discuss the growing muskie population on the lower lakes and Wolf River system. Pretty much a secret until recently, the area has a fairly good muskie population. A 53-inch muskie was caught last fall on Lake Poygan. News of 50inch muskie just adds to the draw of world class fishing in Wolf River Country. ICE Breaker 5 offers anglers the tools and information needed. Guides, lodge owners and local anglers knowledgeable on walleye, white bass, smallmouth, largemouth, catfish and the panfish population will be on hand. If you fish, you should be there. For more information, go to www.wolfrivercountry.com.

» Sat. Apr. 10. Rain gardening

workshop, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Register by Apr. 1. 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Fri.-Sun. Apr 16-18. Big Whopper Weekend, Riverside Park on W. Wolf River Ave. in New London, 920-779-6346. » Sun. Apr. 18. Leave No Family Inside: Way Cool Wetlands, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 12:30-3:00 p.m., $6/individual, $10/family. Register by Apr. 8. 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Tues. Apr. 20. Audubon: The Art of Natural History exhibit opening and reception, New London Public Museum, 4-6 p.m., 920-982-8520. » Fri. Apr. 23. Newstar Astronomy, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 8 p.m.,

$3/person, $3/students and seniors. Register by Apr. 20. 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com. » Sat. Apr. 24. Backyard Invasives, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.. Register by Apr. 15. 920-779-6433, www.mosquitohill.com.

may

» Sat. May 1. New London city-wide

rummage sale, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 920-982-2511. » Sat. May 8. Curiosity Series, topic TBD, New London Public Museum, 920-982-8520. » Sat. May 15. Leave No Family Inside: Froggie Went A Courtin,’ Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 12:30 p.m. - 3 p.m., $6/individual, $10/family. Register by May 5. 920-779-6433, www. mosquitohill.com. continued»

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Make Fremont a family fun destination F

ort Fremont Marine in Fremont will hold a walleye tournament April 17. Denny Fox, tournament director, said the 10th annual tournament will feature about 75 tournament boats of two-man teams, as well as a champion-of-champions tournament, featuring winners from previous years. “All the past champions of our tournament will be fishing in a separate tournament of their own to see who’s the best of the best,” he said. The free family-friendly event is alcohol free; free brats, chips and soda are available. “We encourage families to come on out, spend the afternoon on the shores and watch the fish coming in to be weighed,” he said. “They get the opportunity see some very

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impressive fish come out of the Wolf River, talk to some of the fishermen and find out how to catch their own. It’s a fun afternoon in the spring on the shores of the Wolf River.” Just two weeks later, Fort Fremont Marine will hold its annual Demo Days April 30 and May 1. As a grand kickoff to summer water activities, “Demo Days is an event where people can come out and test products all the way from wakeboards to boats,” said Jeff Thomson, one of the owners of Fort Fremont. “It started out (about 15 years ago) where we invited friends over to try out water skis. We had such a good time, we thought we should open it to the public. He said pro riders and factory representatives will be on hand to answer questions, demonstrate equipment and help visitors try out everything from wakeboards to water skis, bindings, boats. “It’s a fun event to kick off the summer early and see what’s new,” Thomson said. “Some just watch and others check the stuff out.” For more information, visit www.fortfremontmarine.com. ­—Jaye Alderson

S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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CALENDAR of events

Shiocton

» Sat. Feb. 27. Beginner basket

February

» Saturdays, Feb. 13, Mar. 13, Apr. 10,

May 15. Second Saturday Science. Topics – Hibernation, Maple Syrup, Amazing Amphibians and All About Birds. Navarino Nature Center, 10 a.m., $2 members, $5 nonmembers, $12 families, 715-758-6999, www.navarino.org. » Fri. Feb. 12. Owls of Navarino, Navarino Nature Center, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., $2 members, $5 nonmembers, $12 families, 715-758-6999, www.navarino.org. » Sat. Feb. 13 and Fri. Feb. 19. Candlelight snowshoe hike, Navarino Nature Center, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., $2 members, $5 nonmembers, $12 families, 715-758-6999, www.navarino.org.

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weaving class, Navarino Nature Center, 9 a.m., $15 members, $19 nonmembers, 715-758-6999, www.navarino.org.

March

» Fri. Mar. 12. Ruffed Grouse Society,

Navarino Nature Center, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., $2 members, $5 nonmembers, $12 families, 715-7586999, www.navarino.org.

May

» Sat. May 22. Wandering Down the

Wolf River, join the Navarino Nature Center canoe down the river, $20/ person, pre-register, 715-758-6999, www.navarino.org.

Winneconne February

» Sat. Feb. 27. Troutfest 2010, Main Fin ‘n Feather, 920-582-4775, www.winneconne.org.

March

» Wed. Mar. 3. Blood drive,

Winneconne High School, 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., 920-867-2880 » Tues. Mar. 16. Jazz concert, Winneconne High School, 5 p.m., 920-867-2880.

April

» Mon. Apr 5. Butte des Morts

Conservation Club banquet, Fin ‘n Feather, 920-582-4775, www. winneconne.org. » Wed. Apr. 7. Winnebago Lakes Council banquet, Fin ‘n Feather,

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Camping in winter—are you nuts?

N

o, says the winter camping experts at Mosquito Hill Nature Center in New London. Steve Petznick, coordinator of the Winter Camping Made Easy event, said the annual overnight experience has been a successful, fun and safe way for people to learn what it takes to enjoy camping in Wisconsin during the coldest part of the year. This year’s outing will be held Feb. 20 and 21. “It takes a certain person to want to winter camp, and that’s the kind of people we want,” Petznick said. “We teach people how to layer properly with different types of clothing, activities during the day and a campfire at night. The harsher the weather conditions, the more bragging rights people have—‘I was there the year it was 13 below at night.’” This event, established more than 20 years ago, is ideal for those who want to remain active outside during the winter. It combines educational sessions, outdoor skills lessons, excellent meals and fellowship with other outdoor enthusiasts. Past participants leave saying it was one of the best times they’ve had in winter.

920-582-4775, www.winneconne.org. » Sat. Apr. 10. Annual Civic League fashion show and luncheon, Fin ‘n Feather, 920-582-4775, www. winneconne.org. » Thurs. Apr. 22. Family reading night, Winneconne Elementary School, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., 920-867-2880.

May

» Tues. May 11. High school and 5th grade band concert, Winneconne High School, 7 p.m., 920-867-2880.

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Groups as small as eight or as large as 40 or more have participated in the event, and there is safety in numbers before participants try out winter camping on their own. “Another aspect of this campout is experiencing parts of the nature center property often inaccessible during warmer months due to it being in the floodplain of the scenic Wolf River,” Petznick said. “This lowland forest habitat is home to numerous wildlife species. Past participants have heard owls hooting overhead or coyotes howling.” He said participants bond quickly. “They have a blast,” he said. “They come in as strangers and they leave as friends. It’s the longest and most inviting 26 hours you’ll ever spend. It feels longer, but it’s all good. When people are done, they’re exchanging phone numbers and e-mails. It’s just amazing the camaraderie that is built.” Activities include building snow shelters, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, silly races and competitive broomball games. “A night walk without flashlights may be a first for many, and if the skies are clear an opportunity to learn winter constellations,” Petznick said. “Animal tracking and snowshoe hikes are all possibilities. Each year, the staff provides a variety of interesting seasonally related activities, but no two years are alike. If you’ve participated before, it’s not going to be the same.” One thing that has stayed the same is participants’ assessments of the four meals as “fantastic,” Petznick said. “The evening meal has become legendary. People come back again just for the food. Past menus have offered grilled shrimp, venison stew and even grilled inside-out Cordon Bleu.” Cost for Winter Camping Made Easy is $50 for adults and $40 for Mosquito Hill Friends members, seniors and students ages 14 through 17. Other discounts and arrangements for younger groups can be arranged. Check out www.mosquitohill.com. ­—Jaye Alderson

» Thurs. May 13. Middle school art

show, Winneconne Middle School, 5:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m., 920-867-2880. » Thurs. May 13. Middle school band and 6th grade choir concert, Winneconne Middle School, 7 p.m., 920-867-2880. » Fri.-Sun. May 14-16. Village-wide rummage sale and annual spring carnival, 920-582-4775, www. winneconne.org. » Tues. May 18. Choral concert for grades 7-12, Winneconne High

School, 7 p.m., 920-867-2880.

» Sun. May 30. Winneconne Historical Society opening. West Main and 6th Streets in Marble Park, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., 920-582-7643, www.winneconnewi.gov/historical.

Weyauwega September

» Ongoing, First Monday of month,

free community dinner, First Presbyterian Church, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., 920-867-2880.

S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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Wolf River Country Making Strides in ‘Going Green’ By Cheryl Hentz

From

reen” isn’t just a color anymore—it’s the true buzzword of the 21st century, with almost all entities focused on “going green” to help the planet at large and individual communities. Indeed, being more efficient with resources and being kinder to Mother Earth are not only politically correct, but, many feel, morally correct and socially conscious. Local governments are no exception, and, in some cases, they are helping set the pace. At the Navarino Nature Center in Shiocton, patrons can learn about becoming more green while seeing what they’ve done to practice what they preach. This past year, the nature center, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, built an 8,500-square-foot Renewable Energy Education Addition, which both displays 16 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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and demonstrates green ideas and designs. This building uses fossil fuels to heat and cool. During some periods of the year, it produces more electricity than it uses. Renewable energy systems heat, cool, light and generate electricity in a number of ways—such as geothermal, passive solar and solar photovoltaic. Conservation and energy efficiency are behind the ideas incorporated in the

design, including a high-performance building envelope; low-toxin paints and materials; energy efficient windows and lighting; water efficient plumbing fixtures; recycled materials and locally produced sustainable materials. “All the paneling in the building was harvested from the wildlife area around the building. We had to take down trees in order to build the building and in order to open up an area for the solar panels. All of those trees, all of those logs were all cut down by volunteers and milled locally,” said Tim Ewing, director and naturalist at Navarino. “They were then brought back to the nature center, where we finished them in-house using a preservative called Velvet w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

p h o t o g r a p h s c o u r t e s y o f N ava r i n o n at u r e c e n t e r

Energy to Education “G


Oil, which is a green, vegetable oil-based finish. So all the lumber is sustainable.” The floor tiles in the lobby are all recycled glass. The building also contains passive solar lighting and heating through the complex’s windows. “On sunny days during the winter, we’re collecting the sunlight to heat the building. The roof over-hang prevents the heat build-up during the summer months when the sun’s higher,” Ewing said. “There is a sun tunnel and tube lights that are in the roof of the lobby, and often there’s enough natural light coming through the tube lights so the lights don’t even have to be turned on. The restrooms are all low-flow fixtures, and in the men’s room, for example, the urinals are all waterless. So we’re conserving water, as well as using recycled materials and sustainable materials.” The building also contains geothermal heating and cooling in a horizontal closed system. Eighty-four electric solar panels provide electricity for the building, which helps back-up the geothermal heat. “We’re pulling our heat from the ground, and the solar panels are giving us the electricity to power the geothermal. By coupling those two systems together, we’re able to decrease our overall utility expenses,” Ewing said, adding that they have set up an interactive touch-screen kiosk where visitors can see what the electric use for the center is, what the production is and how the whole system works. So what kinds of savings are they realizing? “We had no real idea what our utility costs were going to be. With the old nature center building as it was, we had about a $150 power bill each month. When the geothermal system came online for the entire complex we did convert the older section of the educational building over to geothermal, too. So when the entire complex went online in March, our April and May power bills jumped through the roof because we now had only geothermal. The power bills were then about $700 a month,” Ewing said. “But when the solar panels came online in July, it evened things out, and for w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

  The Green Building at the Navarino Nature Center contains 24 solar panels on the southeast roof over the lobby and another 60 panels on the south roof.  Ground breaking at Navarino Nature Center, November 3, 2008.  Energize LLC installs solar panels on the roof.

the month of August, we actually received a credit from WE Energies of $50. For the month of September, we received a $20 credit, and in October we received a bill of $50. When you can go from having a bill of $700 or even $150 like in the beginning to getting credit or only having a bill of $50, that’s a big sway.” Ewing stressed, though, that they’re not looking to make money off the project, but rather striving for it to be an educational and demonstration site where people can come and see what a geothermal system or solar panels look like and learn how they work. From an educational standpoint,

besides the interactive kiosk, Navarino has some videos that show the entire construction of the building as well as those that explain geothermal systems. In addition, they have some small versions of solar panels that demonstrate how things like radio or race cars can be powered using solar energy. Electric meters show visitors how much energy the solar panels are making, and radio meters show how different colored surfaces become more active when solar or heat energy hits them. “We also have a small, kit-size wind turbine that on windy days we can show how they work. We’ve got a lot of different hands-on things that continued» S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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Volunteers finishing the paneling for the “Green Room” with lumber from the site.

people can use,” said Ewing. “Then in the other rooms of the nature center we have another project that we’re not completely done with yet but there we have paneling going into the lower level. We actually took down an old barn that was donated to us and those boards will be cut up sometime in the next year and we’ll be putting paneling up in the lower level that will actually be salvaged boards from the barn.” Outside the center, they’re capturing all of the rainwater from their gutters and diverting it into their pond or wetland. They eventually plan to have rain barrels on the front of the building to collect water for watering the landscape.

Every Little Bit

Green efforts don’t have to be this extensive or elaborate, however. Every little bit makes a difference and adds up in the long-run. This past summer, for example, the village of Winneconne replaced all the light bulbs in the library with newer fluorescent bulbs, simply to get a better energy bill. They also adopted a flex fuel 18 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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police car, which can use E-85 fuel. Last year, the village of Shiocton did an energy audit of the library, fire station and village hall. Based on the study, it was determined that the library could use an energy-efficient furnace—something they did this past summer—and new balusters in the lighting, paid for by a $1,600 WE Energies grant. “The study didn’t show anything was needed in the village hall because when it was remodeled two years earlier, they put in all the new energy-efficient things back then,” said Laurie Brunnel of the village administration office. The city of New London also did an energy audit of its municipal buildings. “We’ve done several [things] already, including little things like putting LED lights in our exit lights. We’ve also changed quite a number of our incandescent lights to compact fluorescents, and that’s quite a bit of savings for us right there,” said Chad Hoerth, New London’s director of parks and recreation. “The audit also recommended things like window replacement and boiler or air

conditioner replacements, things that are a lot bigger and more expensive. We’ve just applied to the state for the Community Conservation Energy Efficiency grant, seeking $200,000 for doing some improvements in our municipal buildings,” he added. “We’d like to do new skylights by our pool and also install some dimmers so that the lights would die down when the natural light is higher during the day. The grant would also let us do some energy efficient storm windows at our library and some air conditioner and boiler replacements.” New London hopes to know by early 2010 if they’ve been awarded that grant. From an exterior standpoint, the city planted several dozen trees in city terraces and parks this past year. And, in similar fashion, the village of Fremont has qualified to be part of Tree City USA for a number of years now. “We plant trees and shrubs to not only beautify, but to use up carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. And we maintain our nature trail on the west side of the village,” said Village President Dan Sambs. “Beyond that, we’ve spent a lot of money and incurred a lot of debt in the last 10 years or so on a new sewage treatment facility that we opened in 1997, and that is operating extremely well.” “Being proactive in the wastewater treatment area is probably the number one thing we’ve done. Since it opened, we’ve also installed on some of the plant’s larger motors, a special metering and oxygen monitoring system which slows down the motors. The motors also have variable speeds on them. So those things help us save electricity,” Sambs continued. “We didn’t do it with the sole purpose of being green; it’s kind of worked out that way though. So that’s a good thing.” w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


Excerpt from recent letter to the editor

(For the full version of this and other letters, visit www.wolfrivercountry.com)

“I first went to grab my novel I was in the midst of finishing, but for some reason your magazine caught my eye, and I decided to read that instead. The first thing I turn to is the beautiful photos by Andrew Horan. These photos look like they could have been taken from the Amazon River or the bayous in some remote country, but I knew

Only $15 and get ALL four issues in 2010 delivered to your door! Feb (Spring/Special Resort Issue), May (Summer), August (Fall), Nov (Winter) Go to www.wolfrivercountry.com and click on subscriptions Or mail your check and mailing information to: WRC Subscriptions 422 E. Frances St., Appleton, WI 54911 Or Call: 920-841-2118

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it was the Wolf River because I witnessed these images on the boat ride we took the night before. Your magazine made me feel proud of the area we live in, and I will be anxious to read the next issue of Wolf River Country.” Sincerely, Christine Correll, Appleton

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Wolf River Country

access

to all

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focuses on accessibility

B y

C h e r y l

H e nt z

W

e all know that most buildings these days, with some exceptions, and especially public ones, must be handicapped accessible. But public outdoor areas are often just as important as buildings. Many communities along the Wolf River understand this and have made a lot of their recreational areas accessible, no matter what one’s mobility issues are. One of the biggest undertakings was undoubtedly the Wolf River Sturgeon Trail, located on the Wolf River, just west of New London in Waupaca County. The project site has long been an historic lake sturgeon spawning area and a place for the public to get an up-close view of Wisconsin’s oldest and largest fish. But over time the site had deteriorated and the size and quality of sturgeon spawning habitat had been reduced. Public access to the site had also been reduced due to the eroding shoreline and a road widening project. Plus, at that time there was little to no handicapped accessibility. Realizing that something needed to be done, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) purchased a parcel of land around 2000. Later that year 2010

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and into 2001, a local committee began making plans to construct a trail along the water. All told, the Wolf River Sturgeon Trail project was the result of nearly three years of planning and fundraising activities conducted by the Wolf River Basin Partnership, a group representing local, state and federal government agencies, private citizens and local businesses and conservation organizations. It took about another two to three years to actually do the construction work, said Dan Helf of the DNR. “As with any project like this, it took time and it went in phases. It was definitely a communitybased project and what you see today is a completed trail, built from scratch,” he said. Not only has the 2,100-foot long trail restored the 1,400-foot sturgeon spawning habitat, but it has become an educational viewing access for people, Helf said. “The trail is all blacktopped, so it’s accessible to people with wheelchairs, or if they’re on bikes or what have you. People can go and see the sturgeon spawning in the springtime. If someone’s in a wheelchair, they can get out of their vehicle and wheel themselves right up to where the sturgeon would be spawning,” explained Helf. “There are also fishing platforms for people to fish either in the summertime or year-round and the platforms are designed so they can be used by people in wheelchairs. They can basically drive right up to them, park and get out of their vehicle, get in their wheelchair and get directly on the fishing platform.” Making it accessible to everybody was one of the goals of the group working on it. Ironically, one of the group’s leaders eventually had a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair himself. “So it worked out well because he was still able to see his work once it was all completed,” Helf said. There is also access for snowmobiles to get on the river in the wintertime as well as w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

 

   Shadows on the Wolf has been instrumental in providing handicapped access to the Wolf River. The fishing piers along the Sturgeon Trail in New London provide access to quality shore fishing.

access for ice fishing. In New London itself, they’ve made things easier to traverse for those with mobility issues. “Our public works director has been implementing a variety of projects, including curb and gutter work and handicapped accessible road interchanges, for sidewalks in particular,” said New London City Administrator Kent Hager. “The Bernegger River Walk is our new trail along the south side of the Wolf River and it is handicapped accessible. It also has three handicapped accessible fishing ramps.”

Those ramps stretch out 20 feet over the water so that you can fish from them even if the water is low, something that, according to Wayne “Ace” Van Straten with the Shadows on the Wolf organization, is very important. “You see some in other places that are great when the water’s high, but when the water’s low then they’re 20 or 25 feet from the water and that makes it hard, especially for people who are handicapped to fish,” Van Straten said, continued» S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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adding that he and his group have built three handicapped accessible fishing platforms in Shiocton this past year, and all with a cantilever design to aid fishing no matter the water levels. “They are 6 feet wide and 15 to 25 feet out over the water. Railings are built around them, but instead of being 42 inches high, (which is recommended by the Americans with Disabilities Act), which can be intimidating to someone in a wheelchair, they’re built lower with the handicapped person in mind so that they can functionally fish off the piers.” Two of the Shiocton piers are located near the village hall and the other is located just before Bamboo Bend. Including the piers in Shiocton, Shadows on the Wolf has built nine handicapped accessible fishing piers in recent years—two at the Koepke Park landing, two at the Barker Park landing and two at the County S landing in Stephensville. “Handicapped fishing piers was one of the projects that we started about four years ago,” said Van Straten. “Making the outdoors available to everybody is part of our charter and part of our reason for being. We want to see the outdoor resources being utilized not just by able-bodied [adults], but by kids and the handicapped. Those are the kinds of things we look at when we’re taking on projects.” Chris Brandt of the Outagamie County

What’s Behind Shadows on the Wolf?

Who are the Shadows on the Wolf? They are locals in and around Wolf River Country dedicated to conservation and preservation of natural resources and making the outdoors available to everybody. They have about 650 members, 250 of whom are in the organization’s newly begun second chapter in the Clintonville area. Since 1992, they have raised more than $650,000 to help with educational efforts for kids, restoring habitat and improving access to the Wolf River. March 6th is the organization’s annual fund raising banquet held at Romy’s Nightingale, located on County Road A, south of Black Creek. The event is really the only time they incur any sort of significant overhead expense. $25,000 to $35,000 in door prizes and major raffle prizes will be given away. “But the prizes are going to the people supporting us in the first place,” said Denny Conrad, “and most of the remaining dollars go directly to projects.” Conrad was one of six charter members who originally funded Shadows on the Wolf with $20 each. There are no paid positions in the organization; all the support staff is volunteer. The construction contracts for the improvement projects are usually fulfilled through local contractors, many of which are avid outdoorsmen themselves, who grew up hunting and fishing in Wolf River Country. “It is impossible to put a value on the hours these local contractors have donated with each project, but the real value of most of our improvement projects is well beyond our actual costs,” said Conrad. For more information about Shadows on the Wolf, call (920) 986-3887 or email acencookie2@yahoo.com.

The Rustic Wolf Inn in Shiocton provides the handicapped outdoors person with full access to Wolf River Country’s outdoor resources. The inn is located in downtown Shiocton on the banks of the Wolf River. There are three one-bedroom suites with kitchenette and each is fully furnished. The lower unit is set up for easy handicapped access with lowered counters in the kitchen and bathroom. The shower is designed to allow wheelchair access. Tim Conrad, proprietor and long-time resident of Shiocton, built the inn in 2008. “There just wasn’t any place to stay overnight here in town,” said Conrad, when asked why he got into the business. For more information, visit: www.rusticwolfinn.com.

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The Wolf River Sturgeon Trail in New London provides the public opportunity for intimate interaction with the river.

Parks Department has been instrumental in helping them get the necessary permits to do this kind of work. “Because ours are built with a cantilever design, no matter how low the water is, you’re still well out over the water and can still fish easily. I’ve talked to a lot of people and they’re impressed someone would think of doing something like that,” said Van Straten, adding that all the money for the piers was raised by the group, and the grading, building and approach work was done by member contractors from their club. “They’ve also given us an unbelievable amount of financial help to get these piers built without costing the club a whole lot of money.” The group wants to do a few more piers when time and funds permit, including one at the Highway 45 bypass in New London. “There is one there right now, but, again, it’s one of those that when the water’s low, you can’t really fish off of it too easily,” Van Straten said. Though they didn’t do anything recently, fishing and viewing areas in the village of Winneconne have been handicapped accessible for some time. “Everything is pretty much wheel chair accessible, including all our fishing areas and the bridge,” said Village Administrator Steve Volkert. w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

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on t h e wat e r

A Walleye Heyday By Joel “Doc” Kunz

Introducing the Class of 2008

A

s an angler who has seen the days when the Winnebago system was known as a cigar factory (due to lots of small fish) and fished through the post drought years of the 1980s

when catching a limit of fish was often an accomplishment, I am fortunate to be living in what may be the real heyday of walleye fishing in Wolf River Country. Since those drought years, strong year classes of walleye have established themselves in the system. The rebound year class of 1991, created the giant year class of 1996. Those fish established themselves in the system creating the much larger than normal year class of 2001, which was followed by three consecutive strong year classes in 2003, 2004 and 2005. With a strong year class every three years as the minimum required for the system to sustain itself, it’s no wonder those in the know are so excited about the Winnebago system. That excitement was bolstered this fall when the class of 2008 showed up. Looking forward to 2010, DNR fisheries biologist Kendall Kamke is optimistic about the Winnebago system. The spawning stock is such that he expects to tag a large number of fish in the 24 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

2010

marshes. He’s ordered 15,000 tags and expects to use most, if not all, of them. But Kamke won’t see what’s making news in the DNR office these days. Anglers will. Although low water levels and warmer than normal conditions kept the bulk of fall run walleyes from visiting the Wolf, large schools of 9- to 10-inch walleye did show up in the river this fall. Fall trawling results also showed a very high density of 2-year-old fish. In fact, it’s thought to be the second largest year class in history. The fish are also a bit larger and fatter than the average 2-year-old Winnebago system walleye. To those looking to the future, that’s good news. Because they are still juveniles, most won’t go in to the marsh, but they will make their way into the rivers. That means anglers will have to sort through these smaller, more aggressive fish to get to the good numbers of keeper size fish in the system. There’s also a strong forage base in support of these fish. Although the first, late summer trawling results showed cause for concern over baitfish populations, fall trawling results showed w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


Photographer, writer and avid fisherman Joel “Doc” Kunz is the founder of www. wolfrivercountry.com. He can be reached at joel@docswaters.com. w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

  Getting youth hooked on fishing can be challenging, so healthy year classes are not only good for the fishery, they ensure the preservation of a lifestyle that Wolf River Country was built on.  Growth rates in the Winnebago system are fast enough to allow a walleye that has seen its third summer to reach lengths of 12 to 14 inches. Next fall, that will be the class of 2008.

Photographs by Joel “Doc” Kunz

a better and stronger balance. According to these results, trout perch numbers have rebounded, and there is a good overall gizzard shad population. Emerald shiners are also in good supply, as are plenty of young of the year perch, drum, white bass and bluegill. Crappie numbers are up near historic highs which all add to the available forage base, a critical factor due to the overall size of the walleye population. That forage base actually made fishing a bit tougher this fall. Most anglers noticed large schools of minnows in the system. That made fishing tougher because food was so readily available. Fish were finding an easier time bulking up, making them less likely to find an angler’s presentation. When food is a bit scarcer, fish are easier to catch. But I’d rather see baitfish populations be stronger so the fish are well fed. That makes for nice chunky 15 inchers, perfect for the frying pan. So what does the class of 2008 mean to the Winnebago, Fox and Wolf River systems? Well, it means that the second largest year class ever recorded should start spawning in 2012 or 2013 and sustain the system well in to the future. Walleye in the system generally take four to five years to mature and then spawn for about 10 years. The 2008 fish will support the year classes being added by the strong groups from 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005. Fish from 2001 may be few and far between but the year classes from 2003 through 2005 should put large numbers of spawning age fish in the system. With the 2008 year class adding its DNA to the biomass at least until 2022, the future looks bright for Wolf River Country’s famous spring walleye run.

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e a g l e s t u d i o s / w w w. e a g l e - s t u d i o s . c o m

on t h e wat e r

Fishing f or a “shore” thing Shore fishing opportunities abound in Wolf River Country

courtesy fremont historical society

By Gordon Pagel

F

or shore fisherpersons, the Winneconne bridge is an icon. The image on this page, recently captured by Mark Koldos of Eagle Studios, could have served as inspiration

Until the mid-1970s when the old bridge was replaced, the Fremont Bridge was prime territory for the shore angler (top image).

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Fisherman’s Park in Fremont was not idly named. It is a good fishing hole.

p h o t o g r a p h s t h i s pa g e b y g o r d o n pa g e l

for Thomas Rost’s cartoon (see gatefold) created more than 70 years ago.  Successful fishing without a boat is all about location and timing. And in April and May, the Winneconne bridge is the right location at the right time. For the walleye run in April and the white bass run in May, the right spot on the bridge can be as productive as any you can get to by boat. It’s a unique fishing experience that cannot be had anywhere else in the state. As such, it also presents unique challenges. Landing your catch once hooked is one of them. Long-handled nets and weighted baskets, similar to a dip net, are probably two of the most common solutions. The atmosphere on the bridge tends to be amicable, so you can probably get away without a net of your own. But hospitality only goes so far, and if you are part of a double-header, I hope it’s your buddy who owns the net and he’s not the other half of the double-header.  Don’t despair if the bridge is too crowded. Both Lang’s Landing and Wolf River Resorts, on the west and east banks of the river respectively, offer bank fishing for a fee of $5 per day. Both locations have live bait and tackle, and you must check-in at the bait shop. During the peak of the white bass run, fishing from either of these resorts can be more productive then the bridge. Lang’s actually has a canopy extending over a portion of their dock providing protection in inclement weather. Lang’s bar is also open 6 a.m. to close.  The public docks at Waterfront Park, just south of the bridge on the west bank, are also an alternative access.  Fremont, like Winneconne, once offered the angler an opportunity to connect with the Wolf River’s walleye and white bass via the State Hwy. 10 bridge connecting its banks, but when the bridge in town was replaced in the 1970s, that tradition ended. In 2000, when State Hwy. 10 was rerouted to bypass Fremont, another new bridge was constructed a short distance south of the village. The village took advantage of its location to create Fisherman’s Park. Located on County Road H just south of Fremont, the park

This homemade dip net is one innovative solution to landing a fish from the deck of the bridge.

is actually under the bridge at the start of an outside bend in the river—the perfect location for fishing from shore.  When the white bass are at their peak in May, the public docks in Fremont located between the Bridge Bar and Channel Cats, will produce fish, too. In fact, any dock this time of year can produce fish. It’s a good time to stay with one of the many resorts located on the river. You may never have to leave their dock to fill your cooler!

 When it comes to location, the docks at Red Banks Resort are probably in one of the best for catching a limit of walleyes or filling a bucket with white bass. The resort is located several bends up river from Fremont on County Road H. Their docks are located over one of the more productive fishing holes on the river. There is a daily fee for fishing from their docks, but it is well worth it. Live bait, food, and beverage are available at the bar and grill. During the season they open at 5 a.m. for breakfast and stay open until closing or everyone leaves, whichever occurs first.  The county boat launch at Gill’s Landing at the end of County Road F, east of Weyauwega, is another location to get in on the white bass run. The seawall between the bar and the boat ramp provides ample access to the river. Gill’s Landing Saloon & Tube Trips, located right on the river, is open for lunch and dinner.  Between Gill’s and New London, there is limited shore access to the public, but the city of New London makes up for this deficiency. Much of the public access in New London can be continued» S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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Bernegger River Walk (formerly private property), which includes three newhandicapped accessible fishing piers.  Early in the spring, the backwaters of the Wolf River can warm faster than the main river, and those warmer temperatures will attract bluegills, crappies and large mouth bass. Few of these areas are accessible without a boat, but one area available to shore anglers is east of New London on County Road S. The highway bridges the river here, and there is access to a bayou on the south side. Crappies, bluegill, bass and northern are all available here. North of the road is a public boat ramp with two handicapped accessible fishing piers, installed by Shadows on the Wolf. Located on the main river channel, this is another opportunity to get in on the walleye and white bass run.  The community of Shiocton has numerous opportunities for shore fishermen. There has been a concerted effort by the community and Shadows on

p h o t o g r a p h s t h i s pa g e b y g o r d o n pa g e l

attributed to the development of the Wolf River Sturgeon Trail. (See access story on page 20) With all the opportunities available in New London, some will be more productive then others, depending on timing and the species you are targeting. Start your trip with a visit to Cash’s Little Shoppe of Bait, not only for bait, but also for current information on the local bite.  The entire Wolf River Sturgeon Trail along County Road X makes for ready access to the white bass run. The rip-rapped shoreline intended as sturgeon-spawning habitat also attracts smallmouth bass. Walking and casting parallel to the rocky shore can be effective. Try spinner baits, crank baits or a jig with plastics.  With its floating docks, Taft Park in downtown New London offers boaters access to the business district. Those same docks are a great opportunity for shore fishing. Directly across the river this spring will be the newly developed

Red Banks Resort and their docks are located on one of the best fishing holes on the Wolf River.

the Wolf to provide handicapped access to the river. In doing so, they have created exceptional opportunities for the shore angler. The cantilevered piers have been specially designed to put the angler in

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the proper position to have success from shore. Two piers are right in town located in the parking lot between the village offices and Rustic Wolf Inn. Just above Bamboo Bend, on Highway 54, there is a parking area and another pier. If you take Old Highway 54 south of Bamboo Bend, you will come upon Barker County Park and boat launch and yet another pier. Finally, north of Shiocton, off County Road M, is Koepke Access, where there are two piers located on a bend in the river next to the boat landing.  Success as a fisherperson sometimes has more to do with timing then technique and this is especially true for shore anglers. Visit www. wolfrivercountry.com for fishing reports and links to those in the know. For more information visit these sites: www.langslanding.com, www.wolfriverresorts.com, www. travelfremont.com, www.redbanks.net, www.thelittleshoppeofbait.com.

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rafting the river g o r d o n pa g e l

Sharing shores up raft fishing tradition B y L y n n K u h n s

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iver rafts. From the Wolf River and its stream tributaries from the Shawano dam downstream to Lake Poygan, you can see the homemade crafts. They’re those floating docks topped with clever, some would say cute, cabins, with soft-bending spines of bamboo poles reaching out over the river’s current at bends or along sheltered shores leading to farm fields. The only places in Wisconsin where you can still find this age-old style of fishing boat are in designated areas along the Mississippi and the Wolf Rivers. Like many outdoor traditions, river-raft fishing is one where people freely help one

another. If it were not for that, the tradition would be finished. The craft of building and maintaining rafts, and the sport of fishing from them is passed on, from generation to generation, neighbor to neighbor. Here, a unique, outdoor-loving community has formed that relies on cooperation and unselfish sharing —not

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only of labor, but of knowledge, and time together. That can also mean a lot of fun. From the DNR fishing regulations: “Fishing raft” means any raft, float or structure, including a raft or float with a superstructure and including a structure located or extending below or beyond the

ordinary high-water mark of a water, which is designed to be used or is normally used for fishing, which is not normally used as a means of transportation on water and which is normally retained in place by means of a permanent or semi-permanent attachment to the shore or to the bed of the waterway. New London resident John Faucher, editor of the County Post East and regional editor for Wisconsin Outdoors, has been fishing the Wolf River from rafts for decades. A few years ago, he built a new raft and is looking forward to organizing first the Mukwa area and, later, others who fish the Wolf River from Shiocton to Poygan in a cooperative organization. Like many other raft fishermen, for Faucher, it’s a family tradition. His great-uncle Bill Muskevitsch introduced Faucher’s father, Tom, to raft fishing in the late 1960s. “When he was a youngster on a farm, Uncle Bill was submersed in the river-raft culture, and he just about grew up on fishing rafts. That’s how my dad got into it,” Faucher said. “In those days, and the generation before, the old-school of farming families often would pasture their cows down to the river’s edge. They relied on that river, on its walleye and suckers, and found ways to fish efficiently — and with some degree of comfort.” The rafts were often crude and meager comfort during an early spring run may

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Photographs courtesy of Andy Fush, New London

...when somebody builds a raft, it’s like the old barn raisings. Everyone works hard and contributes. have come from lumps of coal smoldering in an old coffee can. Then, as now, rafts were often used, patched up and resold or traded to be repaired again. In the late 1970s, with the help of a neighbor and raft partner, Tom Faucher got rid of his big old raft and built two relatively smaller and lighter vessels that were easier to put in and take out. The nation’s economy wasn’t very strong then. “They didn’t have a lot of money, so they made do with what they had — there was no high-tech equipment,” John Faucher said. Tom Faucher gave one of those rafts to his then high-school age son. For 25 years, John fished from that raft with family and friends. Time takes its toll on any home-crafted structure that interacts with water and seasons, and in 2005, with some reluctance, John built a new raft. “You just kind of keep patching things up — and they get so much character you hate to let them go. But everybody kept telling me that it was time for a new one,” he said.

“...it’s like the old barn-raisings...”

J

ohn had planned on burning the one his dad had given him, but his character-loving heart won over. He salvaged wood and hardware from the raft’s dock and hauled the shack to a friend’s New London tree farm to set up

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as hunter’s shelter. That friend’s son shot his first buck there last season. John added, “It takes a lot of time and building materials, but when somebody builds a raft, it’s like the old barn-raisings. Everyone works hard and contributes. And then they celebrate.” He estimates more than 60 people helped during the three-week building period, just about everyone who had fished from his old raft.

“When you build a new one, you always wonder...”

T

he raft’s deck is 16 feet wide and 24 feet long, its cabin 10-by-12 feet. It was quite an operation. With steel under-decking and a deck of twoinch treated wood supporting a spacious rectangular cabin, it weighs several tons. “When you build a new one, you always wonder how it will float. This one is goodsized, just six feet shy of the legal length limit,” John said. While some rafts use the flotation of pontoons salvaged from commercially produced boats or plastic drain culverts that are filled with foam and capped at the ends, this one is buoyed by four rows of six recycled 55-gallon drums. It has a steel undercarriage, unlike the older models, built with wood. Its insulated cabin has a pitched roof, four standard windows,

closet/storage space, a kitchen area, bunk beds that sleep four and an RV-style biodegradable toilet. Like most river rafters, John has two places on the river where he has permission to tie up his raft — one for the spring run and another for fall. The rafts are moved on specially designed trailers — most often hay wagons — and launched in spring, to come out by October 31. Maneuvering several tons of dead weight onto river water and setting it somewhere where the fish may be and the current can rage isn’t easy. The launches and take-outs also call for the teamwork of experienced rafters helping others. In the water, the rafts are pushed, tugboat style, by motorboats, often flatbottomed, with the positioning in shallow areas often calling for men on deck working long push poles. As with the rafters’ other traditions, the old-fashioned cane fishing poles also endure simply because they work in that unique setting. The strength and speed of the river’s current demands the long pole’s maneuverability and ease of handling. Of fishing from the raft, John said, “It’s like trolling, but the water is moving, rather than the boat. In order to get the proper distance between all your lines, the cane pole is favored. continued»

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Though we do fish with spinning rods, the mainstay is bamboo.” Wolf River rigs, with the attraction of Rapalas, night crawlers or minnows also are used; as are crawler harnesses, with choices dependent on the river’s flow and the season.

“It’s definitely not about catching the fish...”

J

“...the main goal [was] to make sure we kept the tradition alive.”

W

hen first introduced somewhere during the river’s logging days, there were no laws to govern fishing from rafts. Some broke loose; others collapsed and sank. Accidents happened. In the late 1990s, after the DNR saw a need for uniformity in the codes that governed raft fishing, the Regulation of Fishing Rafts statute (30.126) was created. Also, any Wolf River-area municipality that adopts, administers and enforces a uniform registration system for fishing rafts and restrictions on those rafts may retain the registration fees in order to administer and enforce the ordinances. Local ordinances must be at least as restrictive as those set forth by the state. The rafts must be licensed, secured and safe, and local inspectors may check twice a season to ensure compliance. In some areas during the walleye runs, inspectors go out at least two times a week. “The DNR did a good collaboration effort with the local governments,” John said. “They held hearings with the main goal — to make sure we kept the tradition alive.” Raft ordinances, for instance, require

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courtesy of Andy Fush, New London

ohn’s “wild guess” is that over 500 raft fishermen tie up along the 60 to 70 miles of navigable river. The area includes frontage of an estimated 20 municipalities. “Spots to anchor are becoming few and far between,” he said, “and part of the reason is that the state has an aggressive purchasing plan for public lands along the river. If it were not for the [private] landowners who allow us to tie up, this would not be a tradition.” A whitetail yearling named Katie watches the progress of the building of what will be the Queen Ann, John Faucher’s fishing raft. As Faucher was building the new raft in 2005, a whitetail deer fawn was found still in its spots, emaciated, with wild dogs circling it near the site where a doe — probably its mother — lay dead, apparently from an accident with a vehicle. The fawn was nursed to health and stayed on.

that the crafts don’t take up more than one-quarter of the river’s span, obstruct navigation or interfere with public rights. They may secure to private property only with permission of the landowner, and may not tie-down to pubic lands. Rafts must be securely anchored, with a backup tie in place. Many rafters use 25-foot steel poles that they pound, or sink, into the river’s bottom. A cable is secured to a tree or other stabile site on the bank. “It’s all leveraged,” John said of the securing systems. “There’s the weight of the raft and the pull of the current. And you have to be ready for some of biggerboat traffic. Nobody wants his raft to get away. It’s a safety issue, but it’s also a major investment.” Money from the sales of raft licenses is used to pay for ordinance administration and to cover the expenses of the inspectors. If a raft is inspected and found not in compliance, the raft-owner may receive a phone call and a letter with

notice of 72 hours to comply. A citation and fine may follow. Mukwa Township, for example, with 988 households listed in its 2000 census, mails out four-page flyers each season to raft owners. This year, according to the flyer’s listing, there are 553 raft owners. John hopes to organize rafters in the Mukwa area into a co-op and lobbying group that can also share resources and information through an annual banquet, newsletters and networking. River cleanups and other habitat work would be part of the effort. John said, “There are fewer and fewer rafts every year. You would think there’d be more and more, but they’re quite expensive and labor-intensive. And — despite what most people think — you can catch more fish from a regular motor boat than from a raft. The common misconception is that we [raft fishermen] catch all the fish, and tie up and sit over the good fishing spot. But if people think

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there’s only one good fishing spot in 70 miles of river, they could maybe learn something.” While on the river, John often hosts passersby on his raft and has provided meals and time to share the traditions of the raft fishermen.

“...the nighttime... is golden...”

L

ike the raft’s construction, its launches and take-outs and maintenance, fishing —time on the raft on the river—is often a family affair. Some raft fishermen have their families aboard on certain nights of the week, while other days may be dedicated to time for “the guys” to get together. John says about 70 percent of his trips to his raft are for overnight stays. “The average raft owner gets out of work on Friday and scrambles to pick up the kids from school, and get them to his raft before dark Friday night. Then they’ll fish until church on Sunday.” He added, “Now, there’s so much [daytime] boat traffic, nighttime on the river is golden.” He said that the raft fishermen typically use propane lanterns, so it’s incredibly quiet, with nights accented by the simple hiss of the lanterns and their lingering reflections on the river water, usually calmer then. The raft fishermen, women and children often take shifts, to watch the lines through the night. John added, “It’s defiantly not about catching the fish. It’s all about the time we spend together, and away from the rat race. It’s like your own island. The fish are just a bonus—one good fish and you have a fish dream for life.” Other dreams-come-true may drift up from river raft docks. “My wife, Ann, and I had our first date on my raft during the 2005 Walleye Whooper weekend, and I’ve been hooked on her ever since,” he said with a smile. Their family now includes John’s preteen stepchildren, Matt and Sarah, and 3-year-old Lily, who will inherit the raft. “I hope she has our passion for this,” John said. And so, the tradition will continue.

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Passing Currents

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The seasons, the reasons we love Wolf River serenity

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ey— don’t we have it good? It’s an ever-changing banquet to nourish our souls and senses, a forever-morphing setting fit for our outdoor adventures, a relentless challenge for our abilities to plan, and, at times, to survive. All in one place, over nothing but time 34 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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and the sun’s abridged southward arc. Here in Wolf River Country, the season from summer’s end to winter’s fade always kicks butt, sometimes soothes the soul and certainly can ruffle the flabby boredom that creeps in with monotony. First autumn… then winter... and finally… spring’s bliss and the early

walleye run. Remember how it goes? Sure, but you’ll also recall that you can never count on it ever being the same. First, the hickory nuts and leaves start to fall as the air chills more with the night. The lakes and rivers recede some and clear up. Then, the first tender nip of frost, then maybe a late hard rain and more iced air, and too soon the trees, even the willows, are mostly bare. We see more sky and feel a cleaner sun and truer wind. Harvest, Hunter’s, White, Bitter and Wolf moons rise above us. Some ice forms first over riverbank rocks and along the marsh grass, and one day, there’s some more ice reaching out from, and butting up to the lake’s edge. Then more and thicker ice that the dog can walk out on, and now we can. At first, some timid snow had wiggledanced down in a cute tease, then it came sideward, then it slammed us. Then in drifts it built inches, sometimes with a topping of ice. Winter has arrived in Wolf River Country. “Transitions” is far too gentle a word to explain what happens from end of summer to winter’s further edge. Our world transforms from lush, verdant farmlands and rich, almost steamy woodlands to raw-white life-sucking tundra. The lakes become immobile; snow is everywhere. w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


Lynn Kuhns

For the most part — well, perhaps not the driving-on-the-roads part — we love it dearly, as hunting, ice fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and simple walks in the woods open to us, all newwhite and fresh again There’s a sweet nakedness here, where foliage and color no longer hide us. Caught in the stark reality of Nature with her pants down, winter is lovely, awesome and frightening at the same time. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But I hope you can take a quiet moment now, or lots of them through this season, to savor the awesome blessings we have. Those blessings we often take for granted, or curse, even. The seasons give us relentless, uncontainable change and that offers precious challenges and bewildering opportunities. You don’t have to be a wilderness bum or snow bunny to enjoy it. I see that change, even in the boathouse that I love and has been in our family for 75 years on the east shore of Lake Winneconne. As a young girl, that little one-room rectangular shelter was my summer home. No running water meant I had to haul bucketsful from a neighbor’s artesian well. It meant trips to the outhouse and doing our wash at the Laundromat over in town. We lived about 100 miles south, in w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

Glendale. Dad worked in Milwaukee, and each summer, Dad, Mom and us kids — along with cousins, school buddies and whoever else could visit — would come “up” to Winneconne. Dad would drive back toward Milwaukee on Monday morning to begin his work week and then return Friday night for hugs, fish fries and good times in that boathouse. Our entertainment was simple — roasting marshmallows, playing hide and seek, paddling the canoe down Mud Creek, catching perch or frogs. A lot of swimming, and king-of-the-raft and water-weed fights. Dad would also spend his two vacation weeks here fishing with long cane poles, building rock walkways and walls for the pond, and watching the sunset…with all of us, together. Each Labor Day was a sad leaving, locking-up, goodbye-to-cottageneighbors time. But the air was chilling, the perch quieted and all our hiding places had been found. And school waited. Sometimes, we’d come up in winter and ice fish. It took forever to heat up that frigid boathouse, and we’d sleep with our clothes on or with us in sleeping bags on the floor, to wake up warm and somehow find the outhouse. It seemed to squeak with winter’s chill. Now, I live in Winneconne year-round and can watch that old boathouse go through its seasonal duties without a hitch. Much like before, each summer brings friends and relatives to party or head out to fish, go tubing, watch the kids swim, snooze in the hammock or cast out a line. The property is co-owned by my cousins’ clans and me, and our family has mushroomed over four generations. Summers down by the lake in the boathouse can be wild with neon-colored swimming noodles, tangles of water ski ropes, tubes in various stages of inflation and cornered teepees of fishing poles.

There are birthday parties, grilled walleye and salmon, bonfires, horseshoe and volleyball tournaments, and more than a hundred folks at our “Christmas in July” celebration, when Santa arrives by boat, motorcycle or Jet-ski. Gradually the toys of summer, its colors and sparklers are all tucked away. In that boathouse, the wet footprints dry, the gasoline, beer and tanning-oil smells fade. I clean out the refrigerator and sweep up the lake-bottom sand, gum wrappers, scraps of fishing line and long-lost poker chips. The canoe paddles I prop up side-by-side like little wooden solders ready for duty. Then comes fall and the boathouse transforms into a familiar meat locker, with our family’s whitetail deer hoisted, skinned and quartered there. I feel an age-old, but always fresh, excitement with each arrival. We take time for pictures, a few beers and colorful stories of the hunt. Then I sweep up the deer hairs and sometimes clean the plastic drop cloth of dried blood. I close up that boathouse, making sure that nothing is left behind that can freeze and burst, or tempt any mice. The old shack is quiet again... waiting. I’m almost jealous of its patient, sure serenity. Now, in winter, I put on my crosscountry skies down by the boathouse before taking the snowmobile trails across the ice to check with the ice fishermen, or trekking up Mud Creek under a fullmoon night to hear nothing and breathe my thanks into icy air at heavy rest. I sometimes peek into that boathouse before I head out and might smile as I look up at those neon-colored swim noodles balanced stupidly on the rafters. So odd, they’re waiting now — the lake all frozen stiff and spiked with ice shoves laced with gashes of snowmobile tracks. But their time will come again, as surely as it went. And, hey — don’t we have it good? S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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Wolf River Resorts Wolf River Resorts offers a variety of accomodations. Large air conditioned, family friendly cabins, apartments with modern appliances, complete with cooking facilities, motel units and sleeping rooms.

17 N. 1st Avenue • PO Box 188 Winneconne, WI 920-582-4555 Doug & Cody Nelson, Proprietors

www.wolfriverresorts.com

Located in the center of 154,000 acres of water. The Largest Chain in Wisconsin Wolf River House is referred to by our staff as our “fishing” resort! The on-site bait shop/office offers live bait, tackle, gas, beer, beverages, ice, snacks, and license sales. Fish cleaning facilities, fishing and pontoon boat rentals. Lighted fishing piers and docks available for your personal boats.

Situated on a 2 1/2 acre wooded lot that offers privacy and allows room for picnics, outdoor games and relaxation. A central bonfire pit makes for great evenings of fun and story telling. An adjacent 28 acre park offers a swimming beach, ball diamond, boat launch and playground. Cozy, comfortable, air conditioned cabins with modern appliances complete with cooking facilities await your stay. Channel docking facilities accommodate your personal boat or rental.

These air-conditioned, one room efficiency units offer complete cooking facilities and are situated on a private channel with boat ramp, covered boat stalls and fish cleaning facilities.

Cottages, Motels, Apartments & Rooms

Complete bait & Tack shop• Boat Gas/Oil • Boat & Motor Rentals • Docking • Fish Cleaning & Freezing Facilities • Fishing & Hunting Licenses • Ice, Soda, Beer, Snacks • Fishing Guides


Resorting to

TRADITI N Return Guests Call Wolf River Home ... for Generations b

y

L

y

n

n

K

u

h

n

s

I

f fishing—and the quiet, unhurried time outdoors it provides with family and friends—is the commercial, communal and spiritual song of the Wolf River, then local resorts are its orchestra, stage and support crew. They’re the places people over many miles come to do what they love. And that’s usually to fish. In Wolf River Country, any resort may include cabins, campsites, hotelor motel-like layouts, picnic areas and fire pits, trailer parking sites, a bait and tackle shop, boat rentals and a restaurant or bar.

Special thanks to Doug Korn, Doug Nelson, Dorothy Nimmer, Wanda Harrison and Ann Mathwig for sharing their knowledge and collections of old postcards and photographs.

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Hundreds of “regulars” who first came to Wolf River Country to test the waters as young men or women have returned for decades with fishing buddies, and also with their children, then grandchildren. And their chosen—adopted perhaps is a better word—resort often becomes a cherished component of their family traditions. Traditions need to endure. Guests trust that “their” resort will always be pretty much the same—easy on the budget, a lot of fun—a no-frills place where they can dump their big-city stress baggage as well as their gear and get busy catching fish. The histories of some resorts on the Wolf River reach back into w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

the 19th century. They sprang up soon after larger hotels enjoyed success, drawing upscale guests from Chicago and Milwaukee, as well as the Fox Valley. Steamships, railroads and later, highways and freeways, made the Wolf River area more readily accessible to those seeking to escape the city’s summer heat. Since fishing is an attraction for people of all occupations, the early waterside resort owners designed and operated their places not for luxury, like the hotels and inns had, but for efficiency, fun and simplicity. Some began as rented-out farmhouse rooms; others were little handcrafted cabins, while still others were more continued» S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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spacious and accommodating for families, guy-groups and others seeking comfort and camaraderie. Winneconne and Fremont are two municipalities that span the Wolf River, as do their bridges—and the timeless draw of their historic resorts. Let’s look at a few.

A Pioneering Spirit

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he European pioneers who settled the Winneconne area included Yankees, Germans, Norwegians and Irish. After 1868, when the railroads came, the area prospered with mills, logging, shipyards, steamboat traffic, commercial fisheries and other businesses. Waterfowl and fish were plentiful, so Winneconne became a hunting and fishing paradise. As they are today, resorts were an integral part of the village’s early economy. On the west side of the bridge, there was the Winneconne House, which later became Mapes House. The majestic three-story Lake View House, near what is now Leo’s Filling Station, was “a popular resort hostelry” built in 1869 and operated under a succession of owners through the early 1920s. The Resorter Inn, still standing as an apartment house on the bank of the river’s west shore, was built by Charles Bersch in 1909.

Posing alongside Korn’s Tavern with heavy stringers of white bass. The original tavern is still part of the Fin ‘N’ Feather Restaurant in Winneconne (top). Nickel’s Boat Livery (above) was located on South First Street on the west side of the river. Nickel still lives in a house on the same waterfront property.

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“That’s why they came — to hunt, and mostly to fish.” Dorothy Nimmer, Winneconne

One notable resort area in the village of Winneconne runs along the channels in the northern reach of the west side of the bridge, near the tree-named streets. August and John Frerks, Clarence Briggs, Ivan Karlbom, Vern Brown, H. B. Wiesner, John Neirman, C. E. Wentzel, Ralph Nickel and Louise and Babe Tonn were some of the pioneers of Winneconne’s resort traditions. Many were owned and operated by husbands and wives who lived in a house on or near the resort. Often their children helped with the business and as adults took ownership. On the east side of the bridge, Cottonwood Villa, now part of Doug Nelson’s resort complex, was built in 1908. The Wolf River House, also owned by Doug Nelson, was built in 1890 and first operated as a hotel. Down river, on South First Avenue, the Elm Tree Inn was a fashionable dining spot and a Winneconne landmark that welcomed anglers for generations. w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

Resorters’ Inn and others like it were designed not for luxury, but for efficiency, fun and simplicity.

In any collection of pictures taken during the heyday of resorts, you’ll see heavy stringers or branches supported by happy anglers and weighted with fish, or rows and rows of them laid out to show. Often the fishermen were dressed in suits and ties. Dorothy Nimmer, active with the Winneconne Historical Society, commented as she looked at an old postcard of proud anglers and their catch, “That’s why they came— to hunt, and mostly to fish. At the resorts, they were treated just like continued» S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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“It’s amazing what a summer place means to people.” Doug Nelson, Winneconne

The Hotel Fremont has a long tradition of being the “hot spot” in Fremont (top). This scene has been re-enacted hundreds of times every spring for the last 100 years and more (above).

family. It was a closely knit group.” Winneconne resident Doug Nelson doesn’t want to see that change. He bought the Wolf River House from Clarence Brownell, whom he had worked for part time. “I bought it as a functioning resort, and I have kind of resisted the urge to do anything but that,” Nelson said. He’s also acquired Lakeland Resort, efficiency units on a private channel on the west side, 42 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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and Pinecrest Cottages, situated on a 2-1/2-acre wooded lot just east of Lake Winneconne Park. From his small office tucked in the Wolf River House’s bait shop, Nelson said, “A while back, there were mom ‘n’ pop outfits all over the place. Some have been sold to developers that come in with bulldozers and build condos; others were split off and sold as cottages, many to former customers.” Nelson wants to preserve what was. “The reason that I’ve fought that [selling, developing his resorts] is because of our customers. It’s amazing, what a summer place means to people. For more than 60 years, some have been coming back, now with their grandkids. It’s not about the fish—it’s all about the enjoyable family experience— it’s about getting away from the routines of soccer practices, laptops and work schedules. That’s what fishing can do.” Nelson hosts one family that’s come back each summer for decades to hold their family reunion there, now renting eight w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


cabins for the event and spending hours around the fire pit. “I’d like to think that we’ve managed to preserve something that’s pretty darned neat—100 years of it.” According to Nelson, there are two distinct groups who return to his resorts—the “serious fishermen,” who come up alone or in small groups in spring and fall for the walleye and white bass runs, and those who come with their families, to fish and otherwise play in summer with their spouses, children and grandchildren. Many do both.

Up the River

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urther up river, from Winneconne, the town of Fremont was first officially settled in the spring of 1849 by D. Gordon. The Village of Fremont was organized in 1888. It, too, prospered with the generosity of the Wolf River and its hunting and fishing opportunities. Wanda J. Harrison still rents out Harrison’s Cozy Red

Cottages at 500 Wolf River Drive, formerly Water Street, as she has for a quarter of century, and is active in the Fremont Historical Society. She spent her summers in Fremont and resides in the home that was moved to the site in 1905 by Ernest Schmidt, drawn by horses. “Father built the two red cottages, one was an ice house. The property was left to my father and uncle, then to my sister and me. And now, I’m it!” Harrison recalls the summers she spent in Fremont as a girl. “That river was so pristine—there were turtles on logs everywhere, frogs croaking, wild rice growing along the river. Back then, hardly anybody had a seawall—you just didn’t need it. And it was quiet. There weren’t a lot of speedboats, mostly people just rowing their boats.” At first, Harrison said there was no set rental fee, but later the cabins rented for $15 a month, usually to fishermen who’d come in early spring during the walleye and white bass runs. Now about three quarters of her guests are returning customers; continued»

Wanda Harrison, owner of Harrison’s Cozy Red Cottages, still lives in the original homestead built by her grandfather.

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some come back every year. Often it was a family affair. One family, a single mother and her daughter from a suburb of Chicago, have returned to the cabins for 22 years, always right around Mother’s Day, to spend a week fishing in Fremont and enjoy time together. “The daughter, she was a tiny little girl,” Harrison said, “Her and her mother loved to fish from the dock, from morning until night and now, she has a child of her own.” Seated in the comfort of her historic riverside home, Harrison said, “They like the river and the small-town feel. It’s quiet, and you can get away from all the hustle and bustle of the big city. Once they come, they come back, and you get to know them.” Red Banks Resort was founded up river from the town along a higher banked area that was once an Indian settlement. In 1909, 320 acres of land were purchased by Gottlieb Steiger, one of the first settlers in the Fremont area, who ran much of it as a farm. “He was also a lumberman,” said Ann Mathwig, Fremont Historical Society treasurer. “He worked on the river, driving the logs. They did everything in those days, work the farms, trap and work the She added, “I think they rented out rooms in their farmhouse to fishermen and hunters, and decided that it was such a good business, they built some cabins down by the river.” At first, Steiger’s son ran it, and since then Red Banks’ owners have changed numerous times, as has its layout. Currently, there are two businesses operating at the location, Red Banks Resort

“That river was so pristine— there were turtles on logs everywhere, frogs croaking, wild rice growing along the river... and it was quiet.” Wanda J. Harrison, Fremont

and Campground, owned by Bob and Rita Caryl, and Red Banks Motel. Mathwig said many Fremont residents would have picnics at the Red Banks. According to Mathwig, Hotel Fremont has “lots of history” and was constructed in 1895 within only about two months, but at first it had no electricity or plumbing. John Steiger purchased it in 1912 and renamed it the Steiger Hotel. “That was the place in the 1940s,” Harrison added. “The dining room faced the river and had snow-white linen table cloths. All the rich people from Appleton, Oshkosh and other cities would come in their launches, lovely boats with big inboard-outboard motors.” The hotel has changed owners many times, yet retains its charm.

The Baughman Cottage was one of the first summer homes built in Fremont. It is the cottage seen in the background of the magazine’s cover shot.

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Darv and Joyce Koneman purchased the hotel in 2004. Since doing so, they have successfully carried on the hotel’s long tradition of providing room and board to travelers and fishermen. Mathwig recalled, “Fremont was just mobby on weekends when the white bass and pike were running; you [the local residents] didn’t go downtown with your car because there was not any place to park. Downtown was, as Mathwig put it, “really a nice little community, with three grocery stores, a drug store, farmer’s co-op, furniture store (still operating as Lewin’s) and a men’s clothing store, as well as two button factories and other manufacturers.” What did the old-time anglers wear? “In those days, they [fishermen] put layers on layers. You might see a salesman in his suit and tie, and he probably took the train from Chicago,” Mathwig said. Wolf Ridge Cottages, just up-river from Harrison’s, is another local resort with a rich history of providing a casual and affordable escape from the city. Continuing up the river to where it opens up into Partridge Lake is Ted’s Grandview Supper Club, built on the site of the old Grandview Hotel and still enjoying the same “grand” view. Between Ted’s and the current public beach on Partridge Lake stood yet another resort, the Dickson Lodge. There’s more history and tradition waiting to be shared at Fremont’s many grand and humble resorts sharing the Wolf— the Fremont River Court, Larry and Jan’s Bayou Resorts, Gala w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

A classic portrait of the river and downtown Fremont as seen from the bridge (top). Proud carp fishermen. Mill Bayou is in the background (above).

Resort, Hahn-A-Lula Resort & Campground, Blue Top Resort & Campground, Cabin On The Creek, Cabin On The Wolf, Gala Resort & Campground, Party Doll, Triangle Farm, Guth’s Resort and many others—each with a unique story to tell, each with fishing and family fun somewhere close to its heart. The best thing is, you don’t have to be a tourist, a fisherman, a regular or from Chicago to enjoy them. S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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Visit www.wolfrivercountry.com for detailed maps to all the wildlife areas in Wolf River Country. See “Walk On The Wild Side” article on page 68 for more.

Over 30,000 acres of Public Lands.

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R e s ta u r a n t

S p o t l i gh t s

ROAD TRIP! B Y G OR D ON PA G EL entire menu is available to go. When the subject of retirement came up, Sue responded with a quick retort, “How do you go about retiring from a way of life?”

Damn Yankees Watering Hole Your Host Tom “Goober” and Julie Olk Where? County Road M, north of Hortonville, on the Wolf River, (920) 779-4902

Sue has been serving coffee to her “extended family” since 1972!

Arrowhead Restaurant Your Hosts Sue and Jim Brooks Where? 108 West Main Street, Winneconne, (920) 582-4258 Why Go? A traditional diner in every sense of the word, the Arrowhead is even more a gathering place for “extended family.” That’s how Sue thinks of her customers, which is as likely a reason to visit the Arrowhead as any other. Sue and her husband, Jim, purchased the restaurant in 1972. Jim still is the prep-cook, all the soups and pies are homemade, and Sue still waitresses. Open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., breakfast is always on the menu, but don’t overlook the daily specials. The perch plate on Friday is $5.95. Daily specials range from liver and onions on Monday to chimichangas and taco salad on Wednesday. The

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Good luck finding them on Google maps. The actual address is a private road, and Google is unable to get a lock on them. Just go north of Hortonville on County Road M until you cross the Wolf River. Damn Yankees is on the river at the bridge. (It might be easier to get to Damn Yankees via the river than it is by using Google maps.)

The new building dwarfs the old bar. The square footage has been quadrupled!

Why Go? Because Damn Yankees is damn nice! A brand new building should be completed by mid February. The new bar is beautiful, with panoramic views of the river and the outside sport venues. Offering everything from sand volleyball to camping and tube trips, Damn Yankees should be on your list of summer hot spots. Then there’s the food. Try Goober’s half-pound hot beef sandwich, made from tenderloin and ribeye cuts, for $3.50, or a one-third pound mushroom and Swiss burger for $3.75. All the burgers are one-third pounders. Breakfast is really what brings people back, though. Hey, how can you say no to a McGoober sandwich—an English muffin with four strips of bacon, two eggs, two slices of cheese and mayo. Who needs health care reform? Check out Damn Yankees Sunday, March 14 for annual chili cook-off, when the customers serve as judges. Damn Yankees is open 6 a.m. to close, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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ad


I Ri SH

An ti c s

When New London Transforms to New Dublin

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sy new london

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B y M a ry B e t h M at z e k

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hat began 26 years ago as a small, meaningful way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in New London has turned into a community-wide, weeklong festival that completely transforms the city of 7,200 on the Wolf River. “The event just grew and grew over the years because that’s the way we Irish are—we like to celebrate,” said Carrie Katerzynske, a New Dublin organizer. Organized by the Shamrock Club, the celebrating begins with an official proclamation from New London Mayor Gary Henke changing the city’s name to New Dublin for the week. A group of “leprechauns” then change the city’s signs. While the St. Patrick’s Day parade is the centerpiece of the celebration, several events go on throughout the week, including Irish music, caroling, Finnegan’s Wake (a parody of an Irish funeral) and plenty of corned beef and cabbage, before the parade. And while the whole city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, most people in the area are of German descent, but as Katerzynske said, “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.”

Humble Beginnings

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hat is now known as the New Dublin celebration began as a joke around a kitchen table in the early 1980s. A group of friends decided to celebrate March 17 by placing a department store mannequin in an old wicker coffin and carry him from Coyle’s Tire to the Midtown Restaurant performing an Irish wake. That foolery marked the city’s first “Finnegan’s Wake” and an impromptu parade. When local police found out, they advised the group that if they wanted to do it again next year, they would need a permit. “From there, it was like ‘Let’s have a parade’ and it just grew from there,” Katerzynske said. Pup Loughrin, owner of Pup’s Irish Pub and one of the event’s first organizers, is blown away by how much the New Dublin festivities have grown over the years. “It’s just amazing. We thought we would just have a little parade and now it’s a huge parade—the largest St. Patty’s Day parade in Wisconsin—and the events last a whole week,” he said. “I never would have dreamed it would be like this.” New Dublin festivities have attracted w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

 New Dublin’s own leprechauns, left to right, Dave Revai, Tom “Moochie” Barrington, Jerry O’Neill, Michael “Pup” Loughrin and Patrick Sullivan  St. Patrick (Lincoln Barrington) leads the annual parade.

national attention. In 2009, National Geographic listed New London as one of the top 10 places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, while the Smithsonian Institution tagged the event as one of the top five most unusual ways to celebrate the holiday. AOL/Digital City has also ranked the annual parade as one of the top 10 St. Patrick’s Day parades and celebrations.

Come Together

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he annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which will be held this year on March 20, is the largest in the state. “Last year for our 25th year,

Hooligans and Leprechauns St. Patrick’s Day may occupy just one day on the calendar, but in New London (or New Dublin as it’s known for one week in March) there’s a flurry of activities. •M  onday, March 15: Leprechauns change the city’s name to New Dublin and visit local schools, businesses and senior living facilities. •T  uesday, March 16: Nicknamed Hooligan Day, it’s an opportunity for many people to get their first taste of corned beef and cabbage. Popular spots? Pup’s Irish Pub, Half-Nelsons and The Waters. •W  ednesday, March 17: Sing along to traditional Irish tunes at St. Joseph Residence and Franklin Park apartments. •T  hursday, March 18: A night of free, Irish family entertainment at New London High School featuring local residents singing, dancing and sharing Irish humor. •F  riday, March 19: An Irish Ceili (pronounced kay-lee) gathering of friends and family with plenty of dancing and music at Crystal Falls Banquet Hall. A Finnegan’s Wake is also held at Pup’s Irish Pub. •S  aturday, March 20: The traditional parade kicks off in downtown New Dublin at 1 p.m. An Irish Fest is also held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. under a heated tent in the parking lot at Festival Foods. For more information, visit www.newdublin.com.

we had more than 50,000 people attend, but most years we get 30,000, which is still a great number,” Katerzynske said. “We have more than 120 entries in the parade from all over; it’s definitely a big deal.” The parade attracts people from throughout the region who are looking for a fun way to spend a Saturday. The parade includes bagpipers, marching bands, floats, clowns and St. Patrick himself. continued» S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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  Michael “Pup” Loughrin behind the bar. The Jolly Giant Stilt

Walkers from Madison are interactive characters that attract attention with high impact personalities and whimsical wit. The voices of New Dublin’s Grand Parade, Judy McDaniel and Melissa Mulroy, and their unique personalities, humor and wit add just the right amount of color to the parade each year. The hearse carrying Finnegan to his final resting place.

After the parade, Irish Fest kicks into gear under a huge, heated tent featuring bands, beverages, Irish food and market booths. Putting the event together isn’t an easy task. Katerzynske said there are about 25 to 30 active Shamrock Club volunteers, but the end result is worth it. “It’s such a wonderful event and so much fun,” she said. Loughrin calls the annual New Dublin celebration a giant “family reunion.” “We do have a very Irish neighborhood, and everyone comes back for New Dublin Days—kids, grandkids, the whole bunch. It’s a great way to see everyone, to catch up and celebrate,” he said. The annual Finnegan’s Wake is held at Loughrin’s Pup’s Irish Pub and he calls it a perfect fit. “We’re an Irish pub; what better way to get involved? It’s just a wonderful time,” he said. And that’s no blarney. 52 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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B y

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K u h n s

ts c je o r p n io t a r s resto le k c a t s n io t Seawall Solu things than buy uch rather repair m e’d w n he w e rself tradition, here was a tim ned that fix-it-you do an ab r ve ne ve e who grew up new. Some ha at better than thos th s ow kn e on fabrics and fences and perhaps no and implements, s ol to re he w , es fraction of their in farm famili ended for only a m or up ed or sh were repaired, g s. you’re considerin replacement cost s of dollars when nd sa ou th to in te transla That fraction can 54 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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2  Scott Krause and Mike Rudder pull the top plate off a recent repair.  Damage like this on the exterior face of a seawall likely means there’s more extensive damage on the backside. The surfaces of the wood in contact with the soil deteriorate faster than the surfaces exposed to the lake or channel.

1 something as pricey as a seawall, often installed for $250 to $375 per linear foot. Fremont resident Scott Krause has drawn on the thrift and ingenuity required during his days on the family farm in West Bloomfield for a new and exciting part of his professional career. His stalwart work ethic and personal desire to make things better for his neighbors also are critical to this success story. Krause worked in the residential construction business for more than 20 years under the name Scott Krause Builders. Three years ago, when he was working on a home on the Wolf River, the owner asked him to repair a deteriorating seawall. “I told myself, ‘I can do something with that,’” Krause said. “So I formulated an idea and I refined it through trial and error. My work spawned from a need.” His work, now under the name Seawall Solutions, needs some explanation. “The phrase seawall re-facing is kind of a new term,” Krause said. “People have this mystique about seawalls—that you can’t just go and fix them and that they have to be completely replaced. But typically, the pilings are good and strong, and can last for 30 to 50 years or more. It’s the faceboards, set [horizontally] behind the pilings that are exposed to all that constant soil erosion w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

and damp conditions that lead to rot.” Many homeowners, often worried about the high costs of replacement and unaware of Krause’s system, put their seawall project on hold. And that’s not wise. Rot and decay are relentless. Typically, Krause sees a five-year delay between when homeowners see a problem with the seawall and when they address it. “Assessing damage to a seawall is similar to determining the size of a visible iceberg,” Krause said. “By the time you see even minor deterioration on the exterior wall, damage on the backside can be very extensive.” That’s reason to act fast. Any concern for expense can also be eased. “Generally, the cost of re-facing your seawall is about a quarter of the cost to completely replace it. However, if too many of your existing pilings are not structurally sound, re-facing is not possible,” Krause said. He can straighten buckled walls and, when needed, will draw from a network of subcontractors for such work as driving replacement pilings and landscaping. Some worry about the mess of construction and the lengthy process of seawall work. “What appeals to homeowners about this system is that the repair is non-intrusive. Heavy equipment is not needed, since we carry in most of our equipment and materials. I usually work with a three-man crew, including myself, so the average residential property seawall repair takes three days,” Krause said. According to Krause, another plus for homeowners is that the DNR has determined that the re-facing repair work he does on existing seawalls qualifies for exemptions, where a replacement would often require a permit. The style of his installation process does hark back continued» S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

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1 to the good old days, when careful, pieceby-piece hand measurements and attentive cutting and fitting ensured that repairs were often better than new. After an initial inspection and estimateconsultation with the property owner and a signed contract, on-site work begins. Working in his waders in the water on the old wall, Krause leaves the old facing boards in place and carefully measures and attaches a fiberglass panel barrier to the pilings on the water-facing side of the old boards. Working from the bottom up of each section between pilings—usually 6 feet— he attaches tongue-and-groove 2-by-6s, much like the original wall, but most often of a much higher green or water-rotresistant grade. The bottom board of each section has a wedgecut along its length so it so can be pounded into the bottom of the lake or channel. Then Krause measures the distance between the pilings for each board as he works up from there. On shore, members of his crew custom-cuts each tongue-and-groove board that will become the new facing. Not only is the length specific, but also the slant cut that will fit the board around the piling also is measured. The boards, vacuum-infused with high-quality green treatment, are then pounded into place to ensure a tight fit. According to Krause, each board is essentially locked into place—not only with its horizontal tongue-and-grove fittings, but also with a vertical “lock” 2-by-6 upright board that’s wedged in flush against the vertical length of the piling on each end of the section to fit behind the pilings’ landside curves. It’s bolted into

3

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2  With worker Mike Rudder on shore to cut the boards, Scott Krause, owner of Seawall Solutions, is in the water to measure, then custom fit, the seawall’s face boards in place with a mallet.  Scott Krause pounds a section of faceplate into place. Because the old faceplate boards will eventually deteriorate, he uses a fiberglass barrier between the old and the new faceplates to keep the replacement boards from direct contact with the soil and extend the life of the wall.  Once the top plate is pulled, you get a better picture of the real extent of the damage. Even with this slight bulge, this wall is repairable. If the bulge were more pronounced, some excavation would be done by hand and the old wood might be cut away.

place. The re-faced wall is freshly attractive and complete in itself within six-foot sections, so there’s no patching effect. “Everything we do is locked into place behind the piling and bolted with special-coated lag bolts,” Krause explained. The top board is then secured along the section’s length, and when the backfill is in place, its pressure provides more leverage to further lock in the seawall’s facing. Krause added, “The local seawall installers do great work—it just doesn’t last forever. I’ve developed this re-facing system and refined it with common-sense consideration of what’s needed, and what will stay strong. It’s pretty simple, but before I w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


Before

After

invented this system, there was no alternative.” Krause, who will work from the Green Bay area to Fond du Lac, has created a portable model of a section of re-faced seawall and pilings to show homeowners what to expect. Its tag reads, “Why completely replace it, when you can reface it?” He’s now ready to work on jobs statewide. A graduate of Weyauwega-Fremont High School, Krause, 41, learned the construction trade before he became a volunteer firefighter. After completing night school for fire prevention and emergency medical training, he became a full-time firefighter with the Oshkosh Fire Department. He’s been married for 19 years and has three children. The 24-hours on, 48-hours off 56-hour work week schedule of the fire department enables Krause to work full days on his Seawall Solutions projects and still have time for his family, hunting and fishing. Each season, he expects a 30-week season, from mid-April through Thanksgiving. Prices for seawall re-facing vary, depending on the seawall’s height, number of sections, current damage and other variables. Most come in between $60 and $120 per linear foot. “What’s important to me is the control I have over each project. Only exact measurements, for example, and careful cutting will ensure the tight-fitting construction we need,” Krause said. “It’s not the easiest way to work, but I always have a huge concern about giving my customer a high-end result. I’m putting my name on this project. I guess that all comes from small-town Midwestern living.” w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

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Sil e n t S p o rts

Prime time for birders chirp, c

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Region is Rife with Bird Watching Options B y R ic k C ohl e r

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here may still be a few patches of snow hidden in the shadows deep in the woods. The early spring shoots of green are just barely poking through last fall’s thatch. In the wetlands, though there may still be a fringe of thin ice around the edges of pools in the early morning, spring has arrived. Flocks of ducks and geese stop to rest and feed along the Wolf River waterway. Some will stay; most will move north for the spring breeding. It is prime time for birders, the first chapter in a new season of watching and listening in the woods, wetlands and fields of Northeastern Wisconsin. Birding is a popular activity, and Wolf River Country has a bounty of places where hundreds of species of birds can be found. There are more than 1,500 members of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology (for the uninitiated, that the “study of birds.). And the Northeast Wisconsin Birding Club, centered at Mosquito Hill near New London, has dozens of members who participate in club events. There are several large public grounds where birders can find many varied, colorful and melodic species. The Navarino Wildlife Area south of Shawano is the largest. The tract, managed by the Department of Natural Resources, covers 15,000 acres. The wildlife area is comprised of sandy uplands and ridges with marshy depressions. Open fields, swamp conifer, lowland scrub, continued»

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Rick Cohler w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

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Rick Cohler

Other than a desire to spot some brilliant birds, not many tools of the trade are needed for effective birding—except, of course, a pair of binoculars. Seasoned birders don’t recommend buying a high-powered, expensive pair of binoculars. Rather, those in the 7 x 35 or 8 x 40 range work the best since they have a wider angle lens. Higherpowered binoculars are too difficult to hold steady in the field, experts say. And less expensive binoculars are better if they need to be replaced if lost or damaged in the field. A good bird field guide is strongly recommended is Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America by Roger Tory Peterson is a long-living standard and comes highly recommended. Thayer Birding Software is a series of CDs and on-line downloads with identifying birdsongs. Most public libraries have extensive collections of bird books. It is a good way to look for one that suits your needs before purchasing a guide on which you will depend. Finally, comfortable, sturdy shoes and clothing suited to marsh, woods or fields will outfit the novice or veteran birder well. Now, set those eyes to the skies! In addition to Mosquito Hill and Navarino, there are 10 other state wildlife areas within Wolf River Country. They range in size from 400 acres to more than 4,000 acres, totaling an additional 18,000 acres of public land. Access points into these public lands are not always obvious. You can find consolidated links to DNR maps of all the wildlife areas in Wolf River Country at www.wolfrivercountrymagazine. com. Click on the tab labeled “WRC Wildlife Areas.”

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Bring on the Binoculars!

  Swans cleared for take-off. A Sora Rail in search of a meal.

bog, bottomland hardwoods, pine plantations and aspen/oak forest make up the habitat types. The West Branch of the Shioc River and the Wolf River run through the property. Centered in the area is the Navarino Nature Center where Tim 60 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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Ewing is naturalist. “During migration, we have hundreds of Tundra Swans moving through the area,” Ewing said. “There can be 3,000 to 5,000 Sandhill Cranes. There are prairie birds and forest species in the woods

from mid-May through the summer. We usually have between 90 and 100 species in the area.” For long-time birder Don Goers of Shawano, Navarino is a special place. Goers remembers when the cranes first w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


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In search of Redpolls. The common Redpoll is seen in North America primarily in winter.

started to reappear in the region. “I can remember seeing 90 to 100 those first couple years,” he said. Goers has also surprised bird experts by finding Prairie Chickens and Snowy Owls at Navarino. Of key interest to Ewing is a study of whether the Golden Wing Warbler and the Blue Wing Warbler, both of which can be found at Navarino, can mate to produce a hybrid. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in New York is currently conducting a study on the two species. The Center sponsors habitat hikes in the spring, where birders can identify by sight and call the various species. Many of the birds are not seen, but only heard on the hikes and the bird counts which take place at popular birding facilities. Navarino has a complete bird list on its Web site, detailing the sightings of more than 230 species. Each spring, songbird surveys are taken. Bill Koontz, another Navarino enthusiast, explained that specific plots are determined and assigned. Birders then listen and watch for a short period of time and record what they continued» w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

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Redhead ducks frequent shallow freshwater lakes, ponds and marshlands.

hear. It is typically done between dawn and 9 a.m. “That’s prime time,” he said. The evening just before sundown is also a good time to hear thrushes and other ground-dwelling birds. At Mosquito Hill, naturalist Steve Petznick conducts Saturday morning bird hikes beginning in mid-April. “It’s the perfect opportunity for beginning birders,” he said. “A staff member directs the hike and is there to answer questions.” Those hikes take place from 7 to 10 a.m. It is also a good time for parents to bring children to introduce them to the pleasures of the woods and birding. Mosquito Hill will loan binoculars for the walks. Mosquito Hill also has a self-guided birding trail which opens in April. There are signs with color pictures of species, information on habitat, facts and a map. The loop trail has about 30 signs where birders can stop and learn. A CD player with bird songs and an audio description is also available free of charge. The Northeastern Wisconsin Birding Club has an “active” name, according to Petznick. “We called it a “birding” club to show action,” he said. “We go out and do it.” Petznick said a club is a good way to be introduced to birding. “If people have an interest, they can participate with other people who have the same interest. We are social birders; we often have lunch or other activities after our outings. Birding brings them together, and we’re close-knit, but we’re not a clique. We welcome anyone.” The club offers monthly meetings with specific topics and a number of outings and day trips throughout the year. For beginning birders, continued» 62 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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T o m “ S w e l l G u y ” A u st r e n g

The Red Tailed Hawk is probably the most common hawk in North America. If you look closely, you can find them almost anywhere.

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 Its brilliant yellow head, together with its loud, rusty-hinge call, make the Yellow-headed Blackbird a conspicuous presence in western wetlands. Snowy Owls get their name because their coloring is almost pure white when they are full grown. The largest and most widespread heron in North America, the Great Blue Heron can be found along the edge of small inland ponds. Great Egrets are found near water, salt or fresh, and feed in wetlands, streams, ponds, tidal flats and other areas. Goldfinches often flock with Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls.

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G r e at H e r o n p h o t o g r a p h b y T o m “ S w e l l G u y ” A u s t r e n g

photographs courtesy Northeast wisconsin birding club

Petznick offers some tips: »Start slow, learn about birds. »Have the right attitude. Don’t expect to see every bird you hear or want to see. »Take it all in terms of amazement of being outdoors. A third great site for birding in the region is Terrell’s Island, located on the shores of Lake Butte Des Morts northwest of Oshkosh. The property, owned by the Butte des Morts Conservation Club (BDMCC) since 1994, is an attempt to return a large marsh area to its original state. According to its Web site, the BDMCC was born from the efforts of three men with a common vision—to conserve, preserve and restore (give CPR to) precious and endangered wildlife habitat within Lake Butte des Morts, its adjacent watershed and wetlands.

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The male Mourning Dove’s territorial and courtship call is a series of mournful cooing notes. They are one of the most widespread birds in North America. This makes them not only a popular songbird but a game bird as well.

The Club cares for 1,183 acres of wetlands on Lake Butte des Morts known as Terrell’s Island. Restoration projects for these wetlands make up the bulk of BDMCC efforts though it also partners with other conservation organizations, and the Wisconsin DNR on projects involving the Winnebago Pool, as well as the Fox and Wolf Rivers. A barrier wall has been built to keep carp and other unwanted species out of the marsh. This has improved water quality to the point where long-dormant wild celery and wild rice has sprouted. The marsh has trails which take the birder through the grassy marshes to see pelicans, other waterfowl, and marsh songbirds. Other public property sites where birders can find numerous species in the Wolf River area include the LeSage Property in the Wolf River bottomlands near the intersection of Outagamie County roads S and M, the Rat River Wildlife Area north of Highways 150 and 110 between Winchester and Zittau and the wildlife viewing area off Patton Road east of Shiocton on Hwy. 54. For more information about the sites and organizations mentioned, visit Mosquito Hill, www.mosquitohill.com; Navarino Wildlife Area, www.navarino.org; Northeastern Wisconsin Birding Club, www.newbirdclub.org; Terrell’s Island, www.bdmcc.org; or the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, www.wsobirds.org. w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

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alking in the last delicate glow of an autumn sunset, we heard wild voices, many of them, crying something like karee, karee, karee, overlapping each other but still rhythmic like the frogs of spring. But it wasn’t spring, so what were they? I’d heard that sound before. Turkeys? No, turkeys don’t sound like that. As we came to an opening in the woods where we could look out over the marsh, we saw them—sandhill cranes by the score were circling back to the marsh after a day gleaning the harvested fields. Silhouetted against the fading sky, with stalk-like necks and stick-like legs they swirled in, lighting on the places where they would spend the night in this way station on their route to the south. This gift of a moment was given us at Navarino State Wildlife Area near its state-of-the-art nature center. Navarino is the largest and most developed of the wildlife areas in Wolf River Country, but it’s by no means the only one with a variety of recreational opportunities. Of all Wisconsin’s public lands, state wildlife areas may get the w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


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Shiocton and New London to Mukwa State Wildlife Area, finding its first parking area just beyond New London. The Wolf is a big river there, rolling gray in the late fall light, ruffled by an upstream wind. An observation platform of the Sturgeon Trail lies just across the road. As at Mack, trails wandered off in several directions, and we chose one continued» that led through canary grass

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surveyors’ tape. Who had done that? The woods were alternately brushy and open, and in the falling snow very interesting. When we found ourselves in an open area, with no obvious trail leading out of it, we turned back toward the car, stopping at a bare tamarack tree so my friend could collect some of its tiny cones to attach to her Christmas gifts. From Mack we drove through

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least respect from the general public. The Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer indicates them with a rifle-shooter icon. I had imagined them as uninteresting pieces of the countryside reserved for people who might want to shoot waterfowl (most of them are shown in wetlands). Much of their lands is marsh, but they also encompass a wide variety of the Wolf River Country landscape—marsh, yes, but also grasslands, wet woods, dry woods, upland forest and Wolf River bottomlands and bayous. These range in size from Navarino (15,000 acres, about 23-1/2 square miles) down to Deppe (430 acres), and they are not just for hunters. They are open for a range of activities, including hiking, wildlife viewing, birding, fishing, berry and mushroom harvesting, canoeing and cross-country skiing. Many of these activities are much more associated with state parks and forests, but the wildlife areas belong to you too, and they are numerous and often closer. Unlike state parks though, many of the access points to state wildlife areas are not well marked and often lie at the end of seldom traveled dead-ends. Most likely you will not find any signage unless you are adventurous enough to explore to the end of the road. On the day of the first falling snow, a friend and I set out to explore a few of these local wildlife areas. Approaching Mack State Wildlife Area from the south, no obvious sign told us when we were in it, but the map I’d downloaded from the DNR showed a parking area and we soon found it. The first trail we tried wandered off into tangled brush and we backtracked. The next one meandered off into open grassy wetlands. A branch led toward the woods and we followed a trail blazed by strips of variously colored

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and clumps of river birch, finally finding ourselves looking out over what would be open water in another season, a muskrat lodge near the other shore like a tiny island. In the falling snow and solitude it was a delightful moment as it could be in budding spring, green summer or fall colors. Later we stopped at the Wolf River Wildlife area where we met a young man unloading a gun from a truck. Ducks or geese? I asked. No, he was after deer with his muzzleloader. “Did you see any deer out there,” he asked. “No,” we said, “only a few crows.” Knowing hunters were around made my friend a little nervous, so when we saw a car in a parking lot at the Rat River area, we passed on a hike there, though an intriguing patch of woods beckoned across the marsh. Two days later, I spoke with Kay Brockman-Mederas, a DNR wildlife biologist who is in charge of the state wildlife areas between Shawano and New London. She told me signage and other amenities were limited because they have a very small staff compared to continued»

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Publisher’s note: Including Navarino’s 15,000 acres, there are more than 30,000 acres of public wildlife areas within Wolf River Country. As noted, these areas do not take priority when it comes to available funds for improvements. Whether intended to do so, this helps keep these areas “wild,’ but it also can make them difficult to find. Visit www.wolfrivercountry.com and click on WRC Wildlife Areas to find detailed maps of each wildlife area in Wolf River Country. Have fun exploring!

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chuckling a little. Navarino does have extensive recreational trails and a few other places have roads that follow old levees or have been built to get timber out. Hunting is the main reason these areas exist, but other recreational use is encouraged. Brockman-Medaras

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the areas they have to manage. The trails we had found were, as I suspected, “social trails” made by human feet rather than DNR plan. Hunters probably left the surveyor-tape blazes to find their way to a specific place or to not get lost. “Technically, it’s littering,” she said,

recommended that people using the areas for other recreation during any hunting season should wear blaze orange. She reminded me that bicycles are not allowed on state land, unless it has a designated bike trail. ATVs are allowed only for disabled hunters. Snowmobiles are only permitted on designated trails managed by clubs; a few cross corners of these lands. “Each of these areas is unique,” she said. Each has something a little different to offer. On the morning after the first accumulating snowfall, I ventured alone to the Lower Wolf River Bottoms, La Sage Unit. At 500 acres, it is one of the smaller local areas, but it is bordered on the east by the Wolf River and has in its small area a mix of grassland, marsh and forest. Some of the history of the Wolf River is laid out in the old oxbow lakes and dry channels that curve through the bottomland. The woods are open and easy to walk through without trails. On this bright day trees cast shadows across the ice of the old oxbows. In one place a tiny creek runs under a road and swiftly toward the Wolf River. According to the DNR Web site, “The primary purpose of state wildlife areas as stated in the statute is to ‘provide areas in which any citizen may hunt, trap or fish.’” So you do have places that you have paid for to hunt and fish––and also to roam and watch and feel the natural heart of Wolf River Country.

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Arts & C ra f ts

Exit stage left

B y Jay e Ald e rs o n

Far from Broadway, theater shines in Wolf River Country

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unting and fishing? Check. Summer watersports? Check. Fine arts? Check! Yes, although Wolf River Country is primarily known for its outdoors activities, there is a softer, more cultured side to the area, too. Dedicated members of local arts communities offer a variety of cultural fare for the benefit of local audiences as well as tourists who discover the region’s beauty and offerings.

involved. Mom, dad and the kids all get involved in this community of theater.” Many area residents have just walked in the door saying that they want to help out, and they have become lifelong friends, Brown said. Brown is particularly continued»  Red Letter Day.  Girls in Nunsense!  S,S, & E. Hunchback of Notre Dame Goes West. All of these performances are productions of the Wolf River Theatrical Troupe.

Taking the Stage in New London

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 P h o t o g r a p h s c o u r t e s y o f W o l f R i v e r T h e at r i c a l T r o u p e

The Wolf River Theatrical Troupe in New London has staged a wide variety of productions—totaling more than 200— since it began in 1982. “I truly believe in the lifelong benefits that you get from live theater,” said founder and president Margie Brown. “I’m a teacher, and I have done everything from plays to skits to musicals for years. In 1982, I thought I’d like to see if adults in town were interested in theater. We held a meeting, and we had over 60 people come. So there was an interest.” Members of the group have grown to be like a family, Brown said. “We’ve had three successful marriages come out of here,” she added. “We always say we should hang another sign up that said ‘Matchmaker.’ It’s been fun watching parents who come in to do a show with babies, and we get to watch those kids grow up through the years. “Sometimes a whole family will get involved in a Christmas show, and then they stay

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gratified with the benefits live theater has brought to children of the area. “They learn confidence, people skills and community,” she said. “They learn to listen and follow directions, they learn self-discipline. They are skills you don’t just use for that six-week run of the show. You use them your whole life. “One of the most successful and fun things we’ve done is that about five years ago, we did a summer workshop in theater for kids. Some of those kids have gone on to become our directors. Many kids do more things in school and church because of their experiences here. It’s a lot of fun to watch them grow and mature.” One of those students was a boy who came in for summer theater. He liked arts and not sports and had always been an outcast because of that. “After about three days, he said, ‘I finally found where I belong.’ That will always stick in my heart,” Brown said. “He found his niche.” Brown said New London has been supportive of the group from the beginning and even underwrote a loan to 78 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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  Vocalists perform during a Wega Arts radio show presentation.  The esteemed George Gerold Opera House, built in 1915, in downtown Weyauwega is the site of many theatrical presentations. w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

Photographs courtesy of wega arts


help the group buy its theater building. “We wouldn’t be here without the city,” she said. “There are people who really believed in us.” However, with the building in ill repair, they are looking for a new home. “We’re hoping for continued support from the city and the townspeople so we can keep our community theater alive,” she said. “I want to offer the live theater experience, and I want to make it affordable. It enriches our town and it enriches the people who are involved in the audience or onstage. There’s nothing like live theater. When you’re watching a movie, it plays to your emotions. “When you’re doing live theater, you’re immersed in it. The feedback between the audience and the actors on stage is really what it’s all about.”

“The challenge of developing new material is a great one,” Fehl said. “It’s an opportunity to shape what is observed and share one’s responses. It’s a wonderful thing and a big part of our heritage.” The group also offers special events, concerts and art exhibits. Past exhibitors include watercolorist Marilyn Perry from New York and local painters and photographers. Upcoming offerings include a show of paintings by Tony Basquez of New

London in April; glass sculptures by Mary Beisner of Weyauwega in May and fiber art in June; as well as a concert by the Fox Valleyaires barbershop chorus of Appleton on April 24. “Generally, art of any kind—and particularly theater—is fantastic for emphasizing the value of free expression,” Fehl said. “I think that the use of the imagination in developing material, writing, directing and viewing is very valuable and important. continued»

Welcome to Wega Arts 

The Weyauwega Arts Organization (Wega Arts) presents its offerings at the historic George Gerold Opera House on Main Street. The building dates from 1915 and is in the process of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Numerous local residents contribute to the success of each art offering, and there is a board of directors. But the three main drivers are Kathy Fehl, Ian Teal and Holly Martin. In New York City, Fehl wrote, produced and directed plays; Teal was involved in a comedy group, producing and directing. They both came to the Weyauwega area in 1993 to visit Teal’s family. “We ended up thinking it was a lovely area and thought we would stay for a while,” Fehl said. “And it turned into a longer while.”  They founded Wega Arts in 2007 when the opera house was purchased. “The community has been thrilled because the building had been closed for 15 years,” Fehl said. “So to have it come to life is exciting. We’ve had a lot of great attendance and support.” Wega Arts focuses on developing original plays and musicals. They also offer children’s art classes. w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

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On with the shows! P hotograph b y R oder i ck / co u rtes y of R ebel A ll i ance T heatre

Here’s a look at some upcoming productions in Wolf River Country.

Justin Schrauth in a performance at Rebel Alliance Theatre in Omro.

It’s different than reading and playing video games. It’s very engaged. “It’s provocative for any audience and requires that there’s a kind of interaction. Any theater is something that is very much alive.” She said running Wega Arts is challenging and time-consuming, and they always are seeking new volunteers to share the workload of developing and expanding the arts organization. They hope to have salaried positions someday. “I really love the theater, the building and the town,” she said. “I’d love to see it grow.”

On the Road in Omro  Rebel Alliance Theatre is based in Omro, but many participants from neighboring Winneconne regularly get involved. Founded in Oshkosh about 15 years ago, Rebel Alliance moved to Omro six years ago because it is a “culturally progressive and forward-thinking community that we really wanted to be a part of,” said artistic director Kelley Duhatschek. The group recently purchased a building at 404 S. Webster St. in Omro and 80 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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hope to being performing there in 2010. “Like all theaters, we offer a safe place for the open discussion of ideas and a place to practice the creation of and participation in myriad possible worlds,” Duhatschek said. “Unlike many theaters, all of our productions have a built-in element that allows our audience to engage with actors in a discussion about the ideas we are bringing up in the play—even the totally hilarious ones! One person’s comedy is another’s tragedy, after all.” Rebel Alliance offers comedies, dramas, original programming and classical fare like Shakespeare. They also hold theater arts and education workshops and public programs. “Above all, what we do is provide an artistic home that we hope is inviting to the community,” Duhatschek said. “The arts provide the inspiration for innovation and the vehicle for manifestation of dreams. Every ‘progressive’ invention, every ‘thing’ of beauty, every discovery that has been made by humans was first dreamed by someone and brought into being by collective effort and a spark of

Wolf River Theatrical Troupe »Feb. 4-6 and 11-13, 7:30 p.m. The Marquis Crossing Ladies Society’s First Attempt at Murder, Wolf River Community Theatre, 225 N. Water St. »March 11-13 at New London High School, 1200 Klatt Road. Madam’s Been Murdered, Tea will be Late, an English comedy. »June 17-19 and 24-26 at Wolf River Community Theatre. Everybody Loves Opal, a comedy. For ticket information, call Judy at (920) 982-6060.    Weyauwega Arts Organization »April 24 – Fox Valleyaires barbershop chorus. »April—Painting by Tony Vasquez of New London. »May—Glass sculptures by Mary Beisner of Weyauwega. »June—Fiber art.  All offerings are at the George Gerold Opera House on Main Street.    Rebel Alliance Theatre »Feb. 18-20 and 25-27, Taming of the Shrew, a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare. New locations for 2010; check the Web site for more details. »April 8-10 and 15-17, Webster, children’s show, a new play by Kalin Ayn Duhatschek and resident Rebel playwright Marty Duhatschek. »May 27-29 and June 2-5, Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley.

magic that we call spirit. “The world needs places where people can be free to dream what is possible, to talk about how it might be made real and work together to create the world we all want to live in and share. ‘The arts’ are those ‘places.’” For more information on the groups mentioned, visit them online at www. newlondonwi.org/wolf_river_theatrical_ troupe.htm, www.Wegaarts.org and www.rebelalliancetheatre.org. w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


Dire c tory

New London Area

Resort and Lodging Guide Fremont Area

» America’s Best Value Inn

» Blue Top Resort & Campground 1460 Wolf River Dr., 920-446-3343 www.bluetopresort.com » Cabin on the Creek 7854 County Road H, 920-268-2818 www.cabinonthecreekwi.com R » Cabin on the Wolf N212 County Road H, 920-446-3803 www.cabinonthewolf.com R » Gala Resort & Campground 9692 County Road H, 920-446-3222 www.galaresort.com » Hahn-A-Lula Resort & Campground 8861 S. Wolf River Rd., 920-446-3245 www.hahnalula.com R » Harrison’s Cozy Red Cottages 500 Wolf River Dr., 920-446-3677 » Historic Hotel Fremont 218 Wolf River Dr., 920-446-2402 www.thehotelfremont.com R » Larry & Jan’s Resort 209 Doty St., 920-446-3161 www.fremont-wi.com » Pine Grove Resort E7426 County Road H, 920-446-3295 www.pinegrovefremont.com » Red Banks Motel E7331 Red Banks Road, County H North, 920-446-2911 » Red Banks Resort & Campground E7321 Red Banks Road, 920-446-2933 www.redbanks.net » Wolf Ridge Cottages 522 Wolf River Dr., 920-446-3167 www.wolfridgecottages.com » Wolf River Outfitters Resort & Campground, 306 North St. 920-446-3116, www.wolfriverguide.com R » Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort, E6506 Hwy. 110, 920-446-3420 www.fremontjellystone.com 82 | Wolf River country • S p r i n g

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1409 N. Shawano St., 920-982-5820 www.bvinewlondon.com R » AmericInn Lodge & Suites 1404 N. Shawano St., 920-982-5700 www.americinn-newlondon.com R » Antiques With Inn 1776 Division St., 920-982-4366 www.antiqueswithinn.com R » The Freeman House Bed and Breakfast, 312 W. Cook St., 920-585-8535, www.thefreemanhouse.net R » Huckleberry Acres Campground E9005 Huckleberry Road, 920-982-4628, www.hikercentral.com/ campgrounds/113487.html » Rainbow Motel, 1140 N. Shawano St., 920-982-4550 www.rainbowmotelnl.com R » Wolf River Trips and Campground E8041 County Trunk X, 920-982-2458 www.wolfrivertrips.com » Wolf River Getaway (vacation home rentals), E9256 County Road X 920-982-0707 www.wolfrivergetaway.com R

Shiocton Area

» River’s Edge Camping Resort W7615 County Road F, 715-725-3344 R » Rustic Wolf Inn, N5619 River St., 920-986-1300, www.rusticwolfinn.com R

Winneconne Area » Lang’s Landing, 111 N. First St., 920-582-7501, www.langslanding.com R » Wolf River House Resorts 17 N. First Ave., 920-582-4555 www.wolfriverresorts.com

» Country Inn Supper Club & Motel 7273 Cty. Rd. II, Larsen. 920-836-3153 www.countryinnontheratriver.com R R “OPEN YEAR ‘ROUND” with winter

lodging available.

Restaurant Guide Fremont Area » Anglers Bait Shop, Bar & Grill

N700 County Road H, 920-446-2442

» Channel Cats

204 Wolf River Dr., 920-446-2200 www.channelcatsbar.com » CD’s Westside Bar & Restaurant E6659 County Road U, 920-446-3353 » Drew’s Tavern, 7703 County Road II 920-836-2297 » Gala Resort & Campground 9692 County Road H, 920-446-3222 www.galaresort.com » Gills Landing Saloon and Tube Trips E 6870 County Road F, Weyauwega 920-867-2844, www.gillslanding.com » Guth’s Bar and Grill E7294 Guth Road, Weyauwega 920-867-2877, www.guthsresort.com » Hahn-A-Lula Resort & Campground 8861 S. Wolf River Road 920-446-3245 www.hahnalula.com » Here N There 9686 County Road HH, 920-446-3414 » Historic Hotel Fremont 218 Wolf River Dr., 920-446-2402 www.thehotelfremont.com » Hitching Post Bar & Grill E5646 Lakeshore Dr., Weyauwega 920-867-3666 » Hunters Sports Bar E9102 State Road 96, 920-667-4980 » Knot Anchor Inn W230 County Road H, 920-446-2414 » Log Cabin Tavern 223 Wolf River Dr., 920-446-3606

w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


» Ted’s Grandview Supper Club 710 Wolf River Dr., 800-924-0197 www.tedsgrandview.com » The Coffee Klatsch, 125 E. Main St., Weyauwega, 920-867-2980 www.coffeeklatsch.com » Wally’s Still, 9693 US 96 920-779-4010 » Wolf River Diner, 306 W. Main St., 920-446-3153 www.wolfriverdiner.com

New London Area » Beacon Street Deli

422 E. Beacon Ave., 920-982-6446

» Bean City Bar and Grill

N2505 Bean City Rd., 920-982-1500

» Bree’s Inn, 323 S. Pearl St. 920-982-7511

» Bucky’s Restaurant 815 N. Shawano St., 920-982-3840

» Bulldog’s Bar & Grill

2104 N. Shawano Rd., 920-982-4469

» C & R Waterfront Bar & Grill

408 W. North Water St. 920-982-6550 » Club 123, 309 S. Pearl St. 920-982-7411 » Copper Shot 318 W. North Water St. 920-982-4064 » Corner Café, 203 N. Shawano St. 920-982-3979 » Crystal Falls, 1500 Handschke Dr. 920-982-0627 » Easy Street Bar 519 W. North Water St., 920-982-7999 » Familiar Grounds 206 N. Pearl St., 920-982-4332 www.familiargrounds.net » The Firehouse Restaurant 300 S. Pearl St., 920-982-7909 » Half-Nelson’s 1601 N. Shawano Rd. 920-982-1600 www.halfnelsons.com » Highway Hop Diner 1821 Mill St., 920-982-3463 » Hong Kong Buffet

w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m

310 Wolf River Plaza, 920-982-9899 » John’s Bar, 211 S. Pearl St. 920-982-9985 » Jolly Roger’s Pizzeria 220 W. North Water St., 920-982-2333 » Log Cabin E8557 Highway 54, 920-982-6499 » Main Street Pub 306 W. North Water St., 920-982-3255 » Marly’s Restaurant 520 S. Pearl St., 920-982-5390 » New London Family Diner 400 N. Shawano St., 920-982-9060 » New London Lanes 106 E. Wolf River Ave., 920-982-4982 » Pantry Restaurant 317 S. Pearl St., 920-982-6439 » Phil’s Still (Club 54) E8565 Highway 54, 920-982-0721 » Pine Tree Supper Club E8095 Highway 54, 920-982-5738 » Pup’s Irish Pub E8558 Highway 54, 920-982-3891 » Shamrock Heights Golf and Supper Club N5525 Old Highway 45, 920-982-9993 www.newlondongolf.com » Sugar Bush Inn W10875 Cty. Tk. WW, 715-752-3129 www.sugarbushinn.net » The Waters Supper Club & Lounge 815 W. Wolf River Ave., 920-982-7960 » VFW Club House (Friday Fish Fry) 305 E. Beckert Rd., 920-982-9971

Shiocton Area

» Ken’s Riverside (Friday Fish Fry) N5645 Mill St., 920-986-3316

» Mike & Sonja’s Bar

N5578 Highway 76, 920-986-3881

» Muddy Waters N5629 Highway 76, 920-986-3390

» River Rail, N5547 Highway 76, 920-986-3222 www.foodspot.com/riverrail/

» Wickies Family Diner W7711 Highway 54, 920-986-9100

» Wilson’s T & T Lanes

W7611 Highway 54, 920-986-9131

Winneconne Area » Arrowhead Restaurant

108 W. Main St., 920-582-4258

» Biggar’s Supper Club

204 W. Main St., 920-582-4422 www.winneconne.org/biggars » Butte des Morts Supper Club 5756 Main St., Butte des Morts 920-582-0665 » Century Elm Supper Club 8300 City Rd. T, Larsen, 920-836-2022 » Country Inn Supper Club & Motel 7273 Cty. Rd. II, Larsen 920-836-3153 www.countryinnontheratriver.com » Fin ‘n’ Feather, 22 W. Main St. 920-582-4305 www.fin-n-feathershowboats.com » Haase’s Supper Club 9497 County Trunk D, 920-685-2721 » Jake’s Pizza 115 W. Main St., 920-582-9222 » Kelly’s Kitchen, 5298 Cty. Rd. II, Winchester. 920-836-3341 » Other Place 21 W. Main St., 920-582-7775 » Tilly’s Too Tavern 5071 Washington St., Butte des Morts 920-582-7626 » Tiny’s Sports Bar 111W. Main St., 920-582-9962 » Viking Super Club 6661 Brecklin Loop, Larsen 920-836-3220 » Village Pub Bar & Grill 235 W. Main St., 920-582-0155 » Woodeye’s Bar & Grill 700 W. Main St., 920-582-4877 www.woodeyesbarandgrill.com » Well Drive-In 705 E. Main St., 920-582-7292 » White House Inn, 5776 Main St., Butte des Morts, 920-582-7211 S p r i n g 2010 • Wolf River country |

83


Part i n g s h ot

Pelicans on Poygan

P h o t o g r a p h b y G o r d o n Pa g e l

84 | Wol f R i v er cou n t ry • S p r i n g

2010

P e l i c a n s ? I n Wo l f R i v e r C o u n t ry ? W h e n pu b l i s h e r Gordon Pagel first spotted pelicans flying over Fremont in the early 1990s, everyone told him he was crazy. But it’s not as far fetched as it may sound. After disappearing for more then a century in Wisconsin, the white pelican re-established a breeding colony on Cat Island in Green Bay in 1994. With a wingspan exceeding nine feet, pelicans can travel long distances in the summer to feed. And birds nesting on Cat Island can easily travel the Fox River corridor up to Lake Winnebago and back in a day. So it’s no longer uncommon to find established new colonies on the upper lakes of the Winnebago system. The birds pictured here were spotted on the west end of Lake Poygan. And there seems to be no doubt these big-beaked birds are from Wolf River Country. After all, they certainly share the propensity of locals and tourists alike to get an early start to summer! – Sharon Verbeten w w w.w o l f r i v e r c o u n t r y.c o m


FREMONT CHAMBER

920.446.3838 visit www.travelfremont.com


GOLDEN COUNTRY

Something Fishy…? E

ver camp out overnight to be first in line for a newly anticipated film? Or stake out a place all day for the greatest fireworks display on July 4? What about jockeying for position to snag the mighty walleye? What? The latter may sound, well, fishy, but it’s true, as this vintage 1940s-era cartoon by Tom Rost can attest. According to the Wisconsin DNR, for some years throughout the 1930s through 1950s, there were some “pretty strange regulations” regarding fishing on the Wolf River. Many years had closed seasons, with strict dates and times on when fishing could occur. And when the season did open, it did so at midnight—often on April 1 (probably no coincidence it happened on April Fool’s Day!). So, as Rost’s cartoon depicts, anglers from far and wide would scurry up and down the river from Winneconne to Shiocton. Rost’s cartoon depicts the huddled masses—some on foot, some by boat—on the Winneconne Bridge, famous for being the only Wisconsin bridge on a state highway that fishermen can legally fish from anymore. With rods and reels at the ready, excitement ran high, and there was great temptation to start early. Lore even has it that a cannon shot fired at midnight tolled the start of the mighty walleye season. Rost—who died in 2004 at age 95—was no stranger to the great outdoors. And his work as a commercial artist and illustrator relayed that passion. For many years, Rost gained national attention for his illustrations of fish, fowl and fauna—many of which appeared in Field & Stream and other national publications. And the former staff illustrator for the Milwaukee Journal also designed and illustrated the first and third Wisconsin State Trout Stamps in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Rost’s cartoon was playful, if exaggerated. The fishermen—some clad in waders, some in caps and wool coats—were filled with anticipation. Even the word balloons illustrate their love of fishing—one noted, “Maybe he’ll grow to thirteen inches if I take him home and feed him.” Another quipped, “I saw you start at five to twelve!” But perhaps one balloon—at the far lower right of the cartoon—says it all, echoing the thoughts and dreams of Wolf River fishermen both then and now—“Nothing like fishing to take one away from it all.”

1700 GC

CENTRAL WISCONSIN’S FACTORY AUTHORIZED TUFFY DEALER! - 2010 INVENTORY IN STOCK -

ESOX MAGNUM

Sportsman X2

Rost’s cartoon is reprinted with permission of his son, Jonathan. For more details on ordering a poster of the cartoon—with proceeds going to Shadows on the Wolf—contact Gordon Pagel at (920) 841-2118 or gpagel@wolfrivercountry.com. Read more about the historic Wolf River fishing regulations online at www.wolfrivercountry.com. – Sharon Verbeten

www.fortfremontmarine.com | 920.446.3220 2 miles south of Fremont on County. Rd. II, right on the Wolf River


SPRING 2010

Going Green

PLUS

When New London becomes New Dublin Local bird watching hot spots Guide to restaurants and lodging

The

LURE of Wolf River Fishing Any season, any reason

Navarino, others embrace sustainability

Resorting to Tradition

Many generations continue annual treks to region

Going Green

Navarino, others embrace sustainability

Resorting to Tradition

Many generations continue annual treks to region

Two seasoned anglers display their catch of white bass on a dock in the village of Fremont.


wrc_spring_2010