Scenic Riverway and Birding

Episode 8 Show notes

(April 2018) On this episode of Bayfield County Wild Co-hosts Nancy Christopher and Mary Motiff, director of Bayfield County Tourism, speak with Neil Howk, a park ranger and interpreter for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and president of the Chequamegon Audubon Society. They discuss the upcoming 12th Annual Birding and Nature Festival, and other upcoming area events.

Scenic Riverway

Namekagon River and Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

As the National Park Service doesn’t have a marketing budget, Mary Motiff has recently been working with several nearby counties to spread the word about the Namekagon River that is part of the beautiful Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway. An underrated gem, the Namekagon River has very little development along its banks, so those on the river feel like they are truly out in the wilderness. Kayakers, canoers and tubers are welcome at different access points, as well as those who wish to hike or picnic. If you planning to experience the river, visit Namekagon River website for a full list of outfitters, guides and ideas on how to have fun!

12th Annual Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival

Neil HowkNeil Howk shares his involvement with the upcoming annual festival for bird and nature enthusiasts, running May 17-19. Neil serves on the planning committee that assembles the yearly schedule, and he’s also the leader of several tours during the festival. Over 100 different programs are available over the three-day event. From mammal tracking to wildflower walks to old-fashioned bird watching, you have the opportunity to see more than 180 species of birds alone this year.

New this year, the festival has added activities that include a nighttime owl prowl and a trip out to Madeline Island to visit Big Bay State Park. To register for the festival or for more information, visit Note that “early birds” will receive a special rate prior to May 1.

Fishing Report

Aside from the big lake, did you know Bayfield County has over 900 inland lakes? That means there’s lots of fish to catch all year long! Avid fishing fans can now benefit from our new Fishing Report, linked here. Use it to learn about area hot spots, what bait to use and more from knowledgeable guide Josh Teigen.

April Events

As the weather turns warmer, Bayfield County has a variety of events to choose from!

April 4: Attendees of the Birding and Nature Festival should enjoy the Chequamegon Audubon Society’s presentation on terns within Chequamegon Bay. This will take place at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center.

April 6-7: The Rittenhouse Inn hosts Red Wine Weekend, celebrating the marriage of fine red wine and gourmet food! Experience various wine tasting sessions and a six-course dinner at Rittenhouse Inn’s Landmark Restaurant.

April 11: The official launch of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Quarter at Legendary Waters Resort will bring in representatives of the U.S. Mint and National Parks Service. There will also be traditional Native American drummers and dancers, and over 250 school children in attendance as part of the celebration. Coins will be available for purchase, and anyone under 18 will receive a coin at no charge. There will also be a forum for coin collectors at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center the night before on April 10.

April 13-14: The inaugural Washburn Brokedown Blues Festival, at the Harbor View Event Center, features a variety of food trucks, as well as foot-stomping performances from area blues bands.

April 14: Chopper’s Smelt Tossing Contest in Grand View offers cash prizes for those with the best aim, and awards extra points to those brave enough to bite the head off of their smelt, prior to tossing! Music and food will follow, and a participatory t-shirt and lunch are included in your registration fee.

April 20-22: Lost Creek Adventures will host an entire weekend skills gathering centered around Earth Day. Workshops will help attendees gain knowledge of their surroundings, whether building a house or using survival tactics.

April 28: Celebrate the newly-opened playground and park in Iron River, during the Lions Club Spring Swing Fling! It will be fun for all-ages, with 50’s music and dancing, costume contests and a playground swing dedication.

April 28: Haven’t had enough smelt? Then, the Herbster Annual Smelt Fry is for you! Try your luck at winning one or more of the many raffle prizes, and enjoy Captain Ken’s Fire House Beans and homemade desserts along with your main course.

May Preview

We’ll talk with Phil Annich, operations manager of Big Top Chautauqua. This world-renowned venue attracts some of the biggest names in music annually for their summer line-up. This year’s star-studded schedule includes Buddy Guy, Jackson Browne, Kenny G, The Temptations and Mary Chapin Carpenter! Listen in to find out what else will be going on this summer.

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Affiliate Notes

Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center — The NGLVC connects you with the historic, cultural and natural resources of the Northern Great Lakes region. Interact with exhibits, hike trails year-round, take in the view from the observation tower, or attend one of their weekly events.

Delta Diner — A frame-up restoration of a 1940’s Silk City diner, you’ll always find an eclectic menu with a twist on authentic favorites. Come taste why they’ve been featured by the New York Times, the Food Network and Midwest Living.

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.

Bear Paw Restaurant — Enjoy delicious food in a cozy, cabin-like atmosphere. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Bear Paw’s specials include chicken wings, seafood and BBQ ribs. Don’t leave without trying a trademark, delicious caramel roll or their unique, homemade potato chips.