Local Features

Snow Snakes: A Lesson in Survival

Mar 18, 2014
Matthew Rethaber

A group of middle school students gathered last month in Lac du Flambeau to learn outdoor winter skills.  Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission organized the weekend camp.  As WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski reports, it’s as much about cultural preservation as it is getting outdoors. 

At Deep Snow Camp, most of the activities are focused on survival skills like building a snow shelter or ice fishing with simple materials.  But a lot of the sessions focus on another type of survival: the cultural kind. 

The Answer Is to Just Keep Pedaling

Mar 8, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

With winter still holding the Northwoods in its icy grip, most of us try to avoid going out in the cold for longer than we have to.  So you might be surprised to find that one commuter relies on his bicycle to get to work all winter long, even refusing offers of car rides and choosing instead to brave the icy streets of Stevens Point.

It’s 7 a.m. on a clear morning in March, and 20 degrees below zero outside.  Rich Sweet is in his kitchen, in the process of what he calls “gearing up.”

Nancy and Quincy: A Therapy Dog Story

Feb 18, 2014
Emily Bright / WXPR News

For many people, dogs are a source of comfort and friendship.  Nancy Diepenbrock believed so strongly in the power of a dog’s presence, she helped start a therapy dog program here in the Northwoods.  

"Everybody knows Quincy," said Diepenbrock. "They can’t remember my name. As a matter of fact last week one of the kids called me Mrs. Quincy."

Wendy Robinson

The resort industry in Northern Wisconsin goes back over 100 years to when tourists were first lured to the lake country on the heels of the lumberjacks.  Small family owned resorts with cottages lining lake shores catered to fisherman in the early days. 

 In the midst of Mom and Pop operations one man had a vision to build a Northwoods resort like no other.  In today’s History Afield Bob Willging tells the story of the rise and fall of the Northernaire, the Waldorf of the Wilderness.

Winter Farmers' Market Opens in Eagle River

Jan 28, 2014
Emily Bright / WXPR News

Eagle River is on the front end of a trend that’s becoming more popular across Wisconsin: winter farmers markets.  The new effort could make local food available all year round, even in a cold Northwoods climate.

When Al Pittelko, executive director of the Eagle River Revitalization Program, was approached about holding a winter farmers’ market, he hesitated.

“I said how can we when we don’t have any farmers’ stuff," he said, "but they do.”

Hunters and trappers spend a great deal of time alone in the woods, and outdoor activities in remote areas have their share of inherent dangers.  

Those dangers were even more apparent in the 1930s, a time of limited communication, large tracts of remote country, few heavily traveled roads, and the occasional gangster, moonshiner or poacher.

In today’s History Afield, Bob Willging tells the story of one man’s mysterious death in the woods in 1931.

Rhinelander Daily News, November 19, 1942

Wisconsin’s gun deer season is approaching.  It’s a time when many hunters across the state look forward to getting away from the pressures of work, spending time in the woods.  

But as WXPR’s Bob Willging relates in today’s History Afield essay, the 1942 murder of a conservation warden in Florence County had deer hunters in northeast Wisconsin anything but relaxed.

In the autumn of 1942, America was becoming deeply involved in World War II.

We’re heading into November, and that means deer hunting will soon be in full swing. 

It’s a cultural phenomenon in the state, with deeply rooted traditions that go back 100 years or more. While there has been much change in Wisconsin deer hunting over time, controversy and disagreement have never been far away.

In the first of a series we’re calling History Afield, WXPR Contributor Bob Willging has the story of one of the oddest deer hunting political battles of the last century.

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