Camping and Pottery


(February 2019) If you plan to camp in Bayfield County this summer, now is the time to start your research. On this episode of Bayfield County Wild, Director of Bayfield County Tourism, Mary Motiff, gives listeners all the tools to start researching Bayfield County’s 30-plus campgrounds. Co-host Nancy Christopher talks with Dede Eckels about her family’s legacy in the Bayfield Peninsula Arts movement and Mary ends the episode with a round-up of great events in February and a preview of what to expect in March.


Start planning now. Mary says the tourism department has three great tools to help visitors research their favorite campgrounds. First, the website has a graphic link to an interactive map on the home page that can help you locate campgrounds and visualize where they are in relation to the communities throughout Bayfield County. If you know what campground you are looking for, the website also has a business directory that is searchable by name, by area, or by topic. The listings have descriptions and contact information for each campground including links to their websites. Plus, Mary’s office has just updated its camping brochure which lists all of the campgrounds in the area by type (County, Municipal, Private, National Park Service, US Forest Service). You can choose from very rustic, wilderness-type camps that you’ll find on the Apostle Islands or full-service campgrounds with all the amenities like at Legendary Waters Resort & Casino. If you are interested in reserving campsites with the national park system, reservations can be made now at or wait until April to reserve sites at County campgrounds. Call 715-373-6125 to have a brochure mailed to you today.


DedeDede Eckels Eckels and Pete Skora are the owners of Eckels Pottery and Fine Craft Gallery. The family business was started by Dede’s dad, Bob Eckels, and Glenn Nelson in 1960. Then called Eckels Pottery, the studio was affectionately nicknamed “the Pot Shop.” The building was moved to Bayfield in 1962, where it remains today. Bob Eckels was hired by Northland College to start an arts department. A potter, sculptor and jeweler, Eckels was a key player in the growth of the arts movement on the Bayfield Peninsula. He was deeply involved with the Bayfield Chamber, started the Tri-State Art Fair (now the Bayfield Festival of Arts) and helped start the Bayfield Artist Guild. He also established an arts apprenticeship program which drew students from all over the country. He ran the shop until his death in 2004.

Dede followed in her father’s steps, becoming a talented potter and owner of the gallery. For more than 40 years, she has made functional, one-of-a-kind pieces and is most known for her signature wildlife and Northwoods imagery. Dede is always experimenting with new glazes and techniques while working with porcelain clay and she describes the process for us in enough detail to give us a true sense of how much work goes into each piece. Dede loves to create very involved surfaces that actually become small paintings on functional pottery. After an initial firing in the kiln and further artistry, the piece undergoes a second firing before it is finally finished.

When Dede married her husband, Pete, the gallery underwent a major change - the couple started to invite other artists to showcase their work in the gallery. No longer just pottery, the gallery now includes jewelry, garden sculptures, wood carvings and hand-blown glass, so the name was changed to Eckels Pottery and Fine Craft Gallery.

Every summer, Dede and Pete open their studio during Arts Week in Bayfield (the week prior to the Festival of Arts in July) to teach the public the Raku technique of how to decorate, glaze and fire pottery that they can actually take with them when they leave that day. Raku was a process originated by Korean potters. It was later adopted by the Japanese to make Raku cups for their tea ceremonies. In the 1950s and 60s, Raku was “Americanized.” Dede loves the Raku process because its results are immediate, turning clay into a beautiful piece of pottery in just two hours.

Eckels Pottery and Fine Craft Gallery is located on the south end of the Bayfield city limits. You can’t miss it because there is a giant stoneware jug, weighing two tons, out front. For more information about the gallery, you can visit the new website at 


Although not considered an event, a new “Discover Wisconsin” show featuring Bayfield County’s silent sports trails debuts the weekend of Feb. 2. Watch for your local TV listings or watch on the Discover WI Roku channel, Apple TV, or on         

Feb. 1 - 2:       Red Wine Weekend at the Old Rittenhouse Inn

Feb. 2:             Retreat Yourself Women’s Wellness Day at the Harbor View Event Center in Washburn

Feb. 2:             All-Sports Party at the Mt. Valhalla Recreation Area

Feb. 2:             Mt. Ashwabay Summit Ski Race

Feb. 2:             American Legion Post 516 Ice Fishing Contest at Chopper’s Bar & Grille

Feb. 2 - 3:       Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race

Feb. 10:           North End Classic Ski Race in Cable, WI

Feb. 10:           Birch Grove Kids Classic Ski Race

Feb. 16:           New Northern Pines Sled Dog Race at Northern Pines Golf Course

Feb. 16:           Book Across the Bay

Feb. 17:           Bike Across the Bay

Feb. 17:           Drummond Sno-Jack’s Bar Stool Races

Feb. 21 – 24:  American Birkebeiner

View the full schedule of events on our website and Facebook page. 


We’ll be chatting with naturalist Emily Stone with the Cable Natural History Museum.



Legendary Waters Resort & Casino

On the shores of Lake Superior in Red Cliff, the hotel offers 47 deluxe rooms and premier suites, each with a Lake Superior and Apostle Islands view. The Casino has 24/7 entertainment, featuring all your favorite slot machines and table games.

Lakewoods Resort

Lakewoods Resort in Cable, Wis., is next to more than 600 miles of super-groomed trails in Bayfield County. You can ride for a week and never cross your tracks.

Mogasheen Resort

Located among Cable’s scenic, nationally-known trails, the Mogasheen Resort’s traditional environment features comfortable cottages and cabins with breathtaking sunsets on Lake Namekagon. Boat rentals are available right on site for fishing, kayaking and more.

Ashland Quality Inn

Located in Bayfield County on the shore of Lake Superior near the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, the Apostle Islands and Big Top Chautauqua, the Quality Inn gives you plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities and adventures.