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

  • Vikings Place Adrian Peterson on Exempt List

    The move that will require Peterson to stay away from the team while he addresses child abuse charges.

  • Adrian Peterson (archive photo) Statement From Vikings Ownership Regarding Adrian Peterson

    Peterson will be placed on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that he remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved.

  • Police: Duluth Man Admitted to Killing Mother

    A 37-year-old man called police early Tuesday morning and told dispatchers to send officers to a Lincoln Park residence.  The man allegedly met officers at the door and told them they should arrest him because he just killed his mother.

  • Pine Co. Sheriff's Office Reports Children Missing

    The Pine County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's assistance in locating a man and two children who have not been seen since last week.  Authorities say 44-year-old Peter John Kunze and his two juvenile children failed to appear in court for a custody hearing on Friday and they are concerned for the children's welfare.

  • Matthew R. Reder and Jordyn A. Mazanec Runaway Teen Sought in Ironwood

    Jordyn A. Mazanec, 16, was last seen Monday in Ironwood after having a verbal disagreement during a phone call.  Mazanec's vehicle and cell phone were located near the Mt. Zion ski hill in Ironwood.

 
Advertisement