Businesses Brace for Ice Caves Boom |

Businesses Brace for Ice Caves Boom

February 26, 2015 07:40 PM

Officials at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore announced the ice caves will open this Saturday for the first time this season. This is causing businesses along the Bayfield Peninsula to prepare for the return of tourists this weekend.

Cheryl O'Bryan, owner of The Village Inn in Cornucopia, knows what this means to the local economy.

"It's definitely huge," O'Bryan said. "If it's even a quarter of what we had last year, it will definitely help keep all of our employees working through the winter and everybody a lot happier."

An estimated 138,000 folks visited the ice caves last winter. Officials are hoping about 5,000 people make the trek along Lake Superior this weekend alone.

O'Bryan's business is already seeing a jump in interest.

"As soon as they made the announcement [Wednesday], the phone started ringing off the hook," says O'Bryan.

Nicole Hudachek-Kavajecz, owner of Little Nikki's in Cornucopia, has seen what the influx of tourists can do for the local economy.

"Its a wonderful boost for the whole area and Bayfield County, and it spreads all the way up into Superior and Duluth," she said. "So we have family that own restaurants in this area and its crazy how much of a boost it was for everybody."

Beginning Saturday, the Bay Area Rural Transit will be running buses from The Village Inn to the entrance of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Park for $2 each way.


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