Small steps in Marathon County good enough for now

(Author’s note: Continuing my attempts to archive my past Portage County Gazette columns. This one is from May 24, 2017.)

 

Bridge on Plover River IAT segment, Marathon County

When it comes to protecting our public lands, it’s easy to see recent developments as one step forward and three or four steps back.

Efforts to strip protected status from national monuments and sell off or otherwise allow desecration of Wisconsin public lands by greedy businesses seem to fill the news recently.  These aren’t the best ways to start the summer outdoor season, but it doesn’t hurt to keep them in the back of our minds while we’re out having fun.

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Big Eau Pleine County Park a fully satisfying experience

We Portage County residents are blessed with supreme hiking opportunities all around us, but we’re not too proud to take advantage of the greatness of other nearby counties in a pinch.

My friend Andy Felt and I had been looking for a time when we could get out on a trail somewhere. After too many false starts, we recently found a Saturday afternoon when we could do so.

Such a limited time frame is when Marathon County’s Big Eau Pleine County Park comes in handy.

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Spring arrives in all its noisy glory

 

This week’s Portage County Gazette column, with notes on a rude gal, a playground, a dead fish, and how to describe the beautiful noise of sandhill cranes.

Here’s how it sounded.  The cranes come in around the 30-second mark:

And, of course, a few extra pictures.

1,631 words of outdoor thankfulness … and counting

Many faithful Gazette readers know the TV listings are now gone.  When Gazette managing editor Nate Enwald and I first talked about this column, he mentioned that at least for a few weeks, I could write up to 1,500 words if I wanted.  It would help fill the void when those listings faded to black.

Footbridge over the Eau Claire River, Marathon County

Footbridge over the Eau Claire River, Marathon County

I keep waiting for Nate to tell me to tap the brakes, but the last time I checked he said I should keep the pedal down.  That means, because it’s that time of year, I’m writing 1,500 words of thanks.

First things first: I’m thankful for the opportunity to do this column, meaning much appreciation goes to the people at the Gazette, a locally owned publication that covers real local news with local folks.

I’m writing for two reasons.  I love to write, and I love to get outside.  I don’t do either one enough, but the Gazette encourages me to do both.

And here’s a point of gratitude that needs to be right out front.  I’m thankful for the life and work of Gazette co-founder George Rogers, who I never met and who passed away in 2013, but whose influence on the community and on people’s love for the outdoors was clearly enormous.

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