abc
QUICK LINKS:

Business was Great, but Ice Caves Closed for the Season

Updated: 03/16/2014 10:21 PM
Created: 03/16/2014 6:56 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

The Apostle Islands Ice Caves have drawn thousands of visitors a day this winter, but park officials closed the caves Sunday night. The melting ice formations may wash away an economic boom for the South Shore, but local businesses were happy while it lasted.

“Well, for the store itself it's hundreds of people a day,” Michael Upthegrove said. “Weekend days have been 12 to 13 hours of work here. Some nights it's hard to get people out.”

That is a good problem to have for the employees of Ehler's General Store in Cornucopia. The businesses is usually closed for the winter, but the ice caves crowds need lunch and maybe a few treats according to cook Janel Ryan.

“There's been a lot of fabulous people coming in through the door more than I could have anticipated,” Ryan said.

That has been good for business and workers like her.

“Yeah, it's been great because, I mean, that's very unusual for us so it's very nice to go home with a little money,” Ryan said.

Visitors drove for hours to get to the caves, but said the unique experience of walking on Lake Superior is worth it.

“Very worth it. Yeah, it's been really cool to lay under some of the ice and see it forming above you. It's really cool,” Megan McEnna said.

The caves may have been free, but guests were spending while they visited the area.

“It looks like a great small town, and I think that a lot of people will hunker down and eat and fill up their tank to get back to the Cities or where ever they are coming from,” Laura Eusterman said.

Considering 130,000 people turned out this winter it is easy to see how the boom hit the entire South Shore.

“The store owners, and the restaurant owners and the lodging owners they're just in shock and gleeful at the same time. So it's been a wonderful boost for the area,” Ryan said.

The businesses and employees hoped the unexpected tourism will roll over into summer.

“If they have a good time up here in the winter I think they're looking around and going, 'Wow, it would be really wonderful in the summer when you actually swim in the lake instead of walking on it,'” Ryan said.

The money was great, but hosting the guests was more than just business to residents of the South Shore. They were happy to share their home.

“Thank you to all the people that came here to visit us, and thank you for their kindness, and their genuine sweetness, and for coming to see what nature can be at it's best,” Ryan said.

Front Page

  • New York Officials: Doctor has Ebola, 1st in City

    A Doctors Without Borders physician who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus, according to preliminary test results, city officials said Thursday. He's the fourth confirmed case in the U.S. and the first in the nation's biggest city.

  • Minn. Officials Walk Through Mock Ebola Scenario

    More than 100 representatives from several Minnesota agencies are going through a mock exercise to review the state's preparedness in the event of a case of Ebola.

  • Lydia Marie Barney Woman Charged with Murder after Stabbing in Stoney Brook Township

    There is new development in the murder case on the Fond du Lac Reservation. The husband of the victim has been released, and he is facing no charges. Instead, the woman who police had been searching for, Lydia Marie Barney, has been charged with second degree murder.

  • No Injuries in Early Morning Esko Structure Fire

    Deputies say there were no injuries in an early morning structure fire in Esko Thursday. Crews responded to the 200 block of Nelson Road around 4:30 a.m. Deputies said the cause of the fire was not suspicious.

  • 1 Dead, 1 Arrested in Cass County Crash

    An Aitkin County man is in custody and another person is dead after a two-vehicle head-on collision in Cass County. 

 

Dense Fog Advisory

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Carlton, South St. Louis; Central St. Louis; North St. Louis; Northern Cook, Northern Lake; Pine; Southern Cook, North Shore; Southern Lake, North Shore
Expires: 10/24/2014 10:00 AM

Dense Fog Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Douglas
Expires: 10/24/2014 10:00 AM

Dense Fog Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Ashland; Bayfield; Iron
Expires: 10/24/2014 10:00 AM

Dense Fog Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Burnett; Price; Sawyer; Washburn
Expires: 10/24/2014 10:00 AM

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement