March 25, 2021
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led many of us to discover (or re-discover!) our love of the outdoors. According to the Wisconsin Policy Forum report Take It Outside: Pandemic Spurs Outdoor Pursuits, sales of state park vehicle stickers rose by more than 42% last year. The number of fishing licenses sold increased, and Wisconsin residents bought more sporting goods and outdoor gear. Personally, my family spent time visiting state parks that we hadn't been to before, hiking portions of the Ice Age Trail, and I even went backpacking for the first time!
I am eager to continue exploring as the weather gets nicer and I am always looking for new places in Wisconsin to visit.Here are some great reads to get you excited about exploring the outdoors and discovering all that Wisconsin has to offer.
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the country. It is a 1,000 mile footpath that crosses the state of Wisconsin, highlighting landscapes and geology created by the glaciers. I have fallen in love with the IAT and encourage everyone to check it out. Trails vary in length and difficulty, but there is truly something for everyone. This guidebook is a great resource for planning your hike. It features more than 100 detailed segment-by-segment descriptions and maps to plan your time on the IAT. In Marathon County, you can start by exploring the beautiful Ringle Segment or the Dells of the Eau Claire Segment.
This travel guidebook, updated in 2020, features some of the most scenic drives Wisconsin has to offer including “Cheese Country,” “The Lake Michigan Shoreline,” and “The Waterfalls of Marionette County.” The author includes lots of great travel tips and suggestions for restaurants, shopping, and breweries. If you are eager to travel, but are looking to stay closer to home this year, I would highly recommend this title. I definitely added some spots to my travel bucket list!
If biking is more your speed, this book, updated in 2020, is the perfect place to start when planning your next adventure. It includes information about more than 70 rail trails, including trail descriptions, lengths, and surface types. It also notes which rail trails are best for your interests, making it easy to find the best trail. In addition to biking, the book also acts as a guide for walking, jogging, and cross country skiing.
I have always enjoyed camping with my family, but I often stick to campgrounds I am familiar with. This book helped me find some new campsites to try. I appreciated that it was broken down by region and that it gives each location a score for “beauty,” “privacy,” “spaciousness,” “quiet,” “security,” and “cleanliness.”
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