Tag Archives: Wild

Baldwin, Johnson introduce bill to lift protections for wolves

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are co-sponsors of legislation that would lift federal protections for gray wolves in the Midwest and Wyoming.

The other sponsors are John Barrasso and Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Similar legislation was introduced earlier this year in the U.S. House by Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy.

The aim of these lawmakers is to prevent courts from overruling a decision by the Interior Department to remove wolves in Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan from the endangered species list.

In a news release, Johnson said, “I strongly agree with the feedback I’ve heard from Wisconsin stakeholders such as farmers, ranchers, loggers and sportsmen that future gray wolf listing decisions should come from wildlife experts, not from courtrooms.”

Baldwin said, “The Endangered Species Act plays a critical role in saving species from the brink of extinction, and when it does, we must acknowledge we have succeeded in restoring wildlife populations by delisting them. According to both federal and state wildlife biologists, this goal has been achieved with the gray wolf.”

She said she also heard “from farmers, sportsmen and wildlife experts, and they all agree. The wolf has recovered and we must return its management back to the state of Wisconsin, both for the safety and economic well-being of Wisconsinites and the balance of our environment.”

The  news release said the senators’ measure would “allow wolf management plans that are based on federal and state wildlife expertise to move forward without any legal ambiguity.”

Those management plans allow the trapping and hunting of wolves, including using dogs in the “sport” in Wisconsin. In Wyoming, the management plan allows unlimited shoot-on-sight killing of wolves across 85 percent of the state.

“A new Congress has resurfaced an old vendetta against imperiled wolves,” said Marjorie Mulhall, senior legislative counsel at Earthjustice. “If this legislation is signed into law, wolves  in Wyoming will be subjected to unregulated killing across the vast majority of the state and even on the borders of Yellowstone National Park numerous legal loopholes will authorize widespread wolf killing.”

She continued, “We urge those who support the protection of wolves to call their senators and representatives and tell them to vote down this lethal legislation.”

On the Web

The House bill.

The Senate bill.

Wisconsin congressional delegation contacts.

32,000 oil, gas leases retired in sacred Badger-Two Medicine wilderness area

The U.S. Department of the Interior and Devon Energy on Nov. 16 announced retirement of more than 32,000 acres of oil and gas leases from the Badger-Two Medicine roadless area.

The move comes on the heels of a lease cancellation by the Department of the Interior and echoes the call by many that the Badger-Two Medicine region — a vital wildland link connecting the Bob Marshall Wilderness with Glacier National Park and an indispensable stronghold of Blackfeet culture — should not be industrialized by roads, bridges and drill rigs.

At a ceremony, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said, “The cancellation of leases that were set many years ago in an area that should never have had leases to begin with. This is the right action to take on behalf of current and future generations.”

“One of the core values that we have is to be a good neighbor. We certainly think this is a great opportunity to demonstrate the fact that we can be a good neighbor in this situation,” added Devon Energy president and CEO Dave Hager.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.,  also spoke at the ceremony. “There are special places in this world where we just shouldn’t drill, and the Badger-Two Medicine is one of those places. This region carries great cultural and historical significance to the Blackfeet Tribe and today’s announcement will ensure that the Badger-Two Medicine will remain pristine for both the Tribe and the folks who love to hunt, hike, and fish near Glacier Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness.”

Conservation groups cheered the announcement.

“It’s incredibly satisfying, after all these decades of conflict and controversy, to see the players negotiating in good faith to find a solution,” said Kendall Flint, president of the local conservation group, Glacier — Two Medicine Alliance. The alliance has long sought retirement of the leases, which were sold for just $1 per acre more than 30 years ago.

The 130,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine is part of the Lewis and Clark National Forest and is bordered by Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

The Department of the Interior under Secretary James Watt, appointed by Ronald Reagan, granted the leases in the early 1980s, sparking immediate and prolonged opposition from local residents, conservationists and the Blackfeet Nation.

Other companies also have voluntarily retired more than 110,000 acres of Badger-Two Medicine leases.

Two smaller leases remain, according to the Interior Department. Efforts continue to negotiate their retirement.

Efforts to protect the Badger-Two Medicine wildland also have involved the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, National Congress of American Indians, Glacier County Commissioners, retired Glacier National Park superintendents, retired U.S. Forest Service and BLM leadership, hunting and angling groups, local ranchers and residents, and even the rock band Pearl Jam.

“This is a landmark moment in the decades-long battle to protect the Badger-Two Medicine region, and future generations will be even more thankful for it than we are today,” said Tim Preso of Earthjustice.  “But the fight is not over.  We will continue to advocate for this wild, sacred landscape until the last threat to its integrity is removed.”

The 1980s-era leases have long stood in stark contrast to a legacy of conservation throughout Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front region. Beginning with the establishment of Glacier National Park in 1910 and bolstered by creation of the Sun River Game Preserve in 1913, conservation measures have since included: the creation of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (1932); Sun River Wildlife Management Area (1948); Bob Marshall Wilderness Area (1964); Scapegoat Wilderness Area (1972); Great Bear Wilderness Area (1978); and passage of the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act (2014).

Within the boundaries of the Badger-Two Medicine roadless area, recent conservation measures include a 2006 congressional ban on any future federal oil/gas leasing and a 2011 prohibition on motorized travel. The entire Badger-Two Medicine region has been designated a “Traditional Cultural District” under the National Historic Preservation Act, in recognition of its importance to Blackfeet tradition and culture.

TripAdvisor says it’s taking a stand on animal exploitation

TripAdvisor says it’s taking a stand against animal exploitation by no longer selling bookings to attractions where travelers can make physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.

The policy, six months in the making, was formed with input from tourism, animal welfare and conservation groups including the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, but many of the millions of travelers who post reviews to the company’s website have been concerned about animal welfare for years, company spokesman Brian Hoyt said.

The company, based in Needham, Massachusetts, also will start providing links on its site to take users to educational research on animal welfare and conservation.

“TripAdvisor’s new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections,” said Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor’s president.

But the president of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums said she was “disappointed” TripAdvisor never consulted her Virginia-based organization, whose members include branches of the SeaWorld and Six Flags theme parks and dozens of other marine life parks, aquariums and zoos internationally.

“It’s an unjust demonization of the interactive programs that are at the heart of modern zoo and aquarium programs,” president Kathleen Dezio said. “They give guests the magic, memorable experiences that make them want to care about these animals and protect them in the wild.”

The TripAdvisor policy, announced Tuesday, is in line with increasing public sentiment against the exploitation of wild animals to entertain people. SeaWorld this year announced it would stop using killer whales for theatrical performances, while Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus last year stopped using elephants.

TripAdvisor will cease booking some attractions immediately, but the policy, which may affect hundreds of businesses, takes full effect early next year.

In announcing the policy, which also applies to the affiliated Viator booking website, TripAdvisor specifically mentioned elephant rides, swim-with-the-dolphins programs and tiger petting.

Several U.S. businesses that offer such attractions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The policy does not apply to horseback rides and children’s petting areas with domesticated animals. It also exempts attractions such as aquarium touch pools where there are educational benefits and visitors are professionally supervised.

TripAdvisor won’t bar user reviews of tourist attractions, even those it stops booking. The company has long banned reviews of businesses that use animals for blood sport, including bullfights.

A San Francisco-based travel analyst, Henry Harteveldt, said because TripAdvisor is so widely used the wildlife attractions could see a noticeable hit to their business.

However, if TripAdvisor merely stops selling the tickets but continues listing the attractions, he said, the effect won’t be long-lasting. He said those attractions may just go through other booking websites to sell tickets.

TripAdvisor said if a wildlife attraction changes its business model it would consider selling tickets again.


Study: Catastrophic declines in wilderness over past 20 years

Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology show catastrophic declines in wilderness areas around the world over the past 20 years.

They demonstrate alarming losses comprising a tenth of global wilderness since the 1990s – an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon. The Amazon and Central Africa have been hardest hit.

The findings underscore an immediate need for international policies to recognize the value of wilderness areas and to address the unprecedented threats they face, the researchers say.

“Globally important wilderness areas — despite being strongholds for endangered biodiversity, for buffering and regulating local climates, and for supporting many of the world’s most politically and economically marginalized communities — are completely ignored in environmental policy,” says Dr. James Watson of the University of Queensland in Australia and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. “Without any policies to protect these areas, they are falling victim to widespread development. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around. International policy mechanisms must recognize the actions needed to maintain wilderness areas before it is too late. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around.”

Watson says much policy attention has been paid to the loss of species, but comparatively little was known about larger-scale losses of entire ecosystems, especially wilderness areas which tend to be relatively understudied.

To fill that gap, the researchers mapped wilderness areas around the globe, with “wilderness” being defined as biologically and ecologically intact landscapes free of any significant human disturbance. The researchers then compared their current map of wilderness to one produced by the same methods in the early 1990s.

This comparison showed that a total of 30.1 million km — around 20 percent of the world’s land area — now remains as wilderness, with the majority being located in North America, North Asia, North Africa, and the Australian continent. However, comparisons between the two maps show that an estimated 3.3 million km — almost 10 percent — of wilderness area has been lost in the intervening years. Those losses have occurred primarily in South America, which has experienced a 30 percent decline in wilderness, and Africa, which has experienced a 14 percent loss.

“The amount of wilderness loss in just two decades is staggering,” according to Dr. Oscar Venter of the University of Northern British Colombia. “We need to recognize that wilderness areas, which we’ve foolishly considered to be de-facto protected due to their remoteness, is actually being dramatically lost around the world. Without proactive global interventions we could lose the last jewels in nature’s crown. You cannot restore wilderness, once it is gone, and the ecological process that underpin these ecosystems are gone, and it never comes back to the state it was. The only option is to proactively protect what is left.”

Watson says the United Nations and others have ignored globally significant wilderness areas in key multilateral environmental agreements and this must change.

“If we don’t act soon, there will only be tiny remnants of wilderness around the planet, and this is a disaster for conservation, for climate change, and for some of the most vulnerable human communities on the planet,” Watson says. “We have a duty to act for our children and their children.”

Leopards have lost 75 percent of historic range

Leopards have lost 75 percent of their historic range across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with three Asian subspecies in danger of eradication, a new study says.

A three-year review of data published in the scientific journal PeerJ this week challenges the conventional assumption that the iconic and famously elusive spotted cats are thriving in the wild.

It finds leopards have almost disappeared from vast ranges in China, Southeast Asia and the Arabian peninsula while African leopards confront mounting challenges in the north and west.

The big cats are threatened by spreading farmlands, declining prey, conflict with livestock owners, trophy hunting and illegal trade in their skins and teeth. Their skins are sometimes worn as a symbol of power by African chiefs, including South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma.

Their rangelands have shrunk from 35 million square kilometers (13.5 million square miles) in 1750 — before the colonization of Africa and the spread of firearms — to about 8.5 million square kilometers (3.3 million square miles) now, the study estimates.

It will be used to update the endangered species list curated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, among several groups that conducted the study. Others include the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative, the wild cat conservation organization Panthera and the Zoological Society of London.

It is “the single most authoritative and exhaustive review of this kind,” said Guillaume Chapron, associate professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. Its findings are “a shock as leopards were often believed to be more adaptable to human impacts … than other species such as tigers and lions.”

Conserving wildlife and preventing conflict with livestock holders is complex and countries take different approaches, said Stuart Pimm, chair of conservation at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He pointed to Kenya, which bans all hunting, and neighboring Tanzania, which devotes more land to hunting than preservation. “The challenge is if you protect your national parks better, will it bring in an income stream of the kind that so clearly economically benefits southern Africa and east Africa?”

Captive and wild chimps listed as endangered under Endangered Species Act

Captive and wild chimpanzees are now listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The increased federal protection of captive chimpanzees is expected to curb the use of the animals in invasive biomedical research, interstate trade as pets and use by the entertainment industry.

The new listing from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in response to a 2010 legal petition by the Humane Society of the United States and other groups.

Under the Endangered Species Act, a permit for any activity that would involve harming, harassing, killing or the use of chimpanzees in interstate commerce is required.

Habitat loss and poaching, driven in part by the exploitation of captive chimpanzees, has led to a drop of more than 65 percent in populations of wild chimpanzees.

Fish and Wildlife previously recognized wild chimpanzees as endangered, yet captive chimpanzees did not have the protection. This “split-listing,” enacted in 1990, facilitated the exploitation of captive chimpanzees in the United States, according to the Humane Society. The new listing effectively ends the split-listing. 

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS said on June 12, “Combined with NIH’s decision two years ago to phase out the use of the vast majority of chimps in invasive experiments, today’s action signals a rather extraordinary commitment by this Administration to protect chimpanzees at home and abroad. These intelligent, beleaguered animals deserve these concerted, multi-pronged efforts to protect them.”

Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and U.N. Messenger of Peace, issued a statement. She said,  “This change shows that many people are finally beginning to understand that it is not appropriate to subject our closest relatives to disrespectful, stressful or harmful procedures, whether as pets, in advertising or other forms of entertainment, or medical research.  That we are beginning to realize our responsibilities towards these sentient, sapient beings, and that the government is listening.”

The HSUS petition, which contained scientific evidence in support of upgrading the status of captive chimpanzees, spurred an official FWS status review of chimpanzees under the Endangered Species Act. The review led to the 2013 proposed rule to protect all chimpanzees, which has now been finalized.

As a result of the final listing, FWS will evaluate each permit application to determine whether the proposed action would promote conservation of the species, as required by the ESA.

The petition was filed by a coalition of organizations, including the HSUS, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, the Wildlife Conservation Society, The Fund for Animals and Humane Society International. The project involved the generous support of the Arcus Foundation.

The petition was prepared by lawyers with the HSUS’s animal protection litigation section in consultation with the Washington public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal.

Season’s 1st whooping crane chick hatches in Baraboo

The spring’s first hatch of a whooping crane chick at the International Crane Foundation’s headquarters in Baraboo was reported on May 27.

The whooping crane is a federally endangered species and the hatch of a whooping crane is a significant event. This chick hatched in a captive breeding program for release into the wild.

“I can’t deny it, the chick is pretty darn cute,” said Bryant Tarr, curator of birds for the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin. “But it has a much bigger job to do than being cute. It must shoulder the responsibility of helping to walk its species back from the brink of extinction.”

In the 1940s, there were fewer than 20 whooping cranes left in the wild. Their numbers have climbed to about 600, largely because of the efforts of public-private partnerships that include the International Crane Foundation.

The ICF said the population increase is encouraging, but not enough to guarantee the long-term survival of a species threatened by habitat destruction, water shortages, power line collisions, predation and hunters.

“The long-term survival of the whooping cranes won’t just happen,” said Tarr. “Behind each successful wild bird are countless individuals who’ve helped implement our strategy that combines science-based mentoring, public education, partner collaboration and threat mitigation.”

To date, there have been 27 whooping crane eggs laid this year at ICF’s headquarters. 

On the Web …

For the latest egg statistics and more information from the International Crane Foundation, go to www.savingcranes.org.

Environmental groups petition president for new rules to protect honey bees

Environmental groups representing millions of Americans this week urged President Barack Obama to take action against neonicotinoid insecticides that are devastating honey bee and wild bee populations.

In a letter to the White House, the 11 groups called on the president to immediately suspend neonicotinoid use, take steps to curb the insecticides’ adverse impacts and to instruct his administration to close a legal loophole that allows insecticides sales before the chemicals are adequately assessed for safety.

The letter was sent three weeks after more than 100 businesses, many of them members of the American Sustainable Business Council and the Green America Business Network, sent a similar plea to the White House.

“We hope that you will prioritize action on this issue of vital importance to our food system, economy and environment and make saving bees a key piece of your legacy as president,” the letter stated.

Signers include Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice; Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth U.S., and nine other green CEOs.

Citing “a significant loss” of bees and other pollinators last summer, Obama created an interagency Pollinator Health Task Force to be co-chaired by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department. The president gave the task force 180 days to develop a national strategy.

The task force missed its December deadline and is expected to release a strategy paper in the coming weeks.

The letter charges that the EPA is unable “to properly regulate insecticides impacting bees” and notes the “EPA announced it will not release a regulatory decision on neonicotinoids before 2016.”

The letter urges the president to speed up the review of neonicotinoids and hasten the development of better tests for the insecticides’ effect on bees.

“If current rates of bee die-offs continue,” the letter stated, “it is unlikely that the beekeeping industry will survive EPA’s delayed timeline, putting our agricultural industry and our food supply at serious risk.”

Also, according to the letter, “EPA has allowed millions of acres of crop seeds treated with neonicotinoids to be planted annually with no registration of the pesticide-treated seeds and no enforcement against them in cases of misuse.”  Bees are critical for pollinating dozens of important American food crops and contribute nearly $20 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

Neonicotinoids, often applied to seeds before planting, are particularly dangerous for bees because they poison the whole plant, including the nectar and pollen which bees eat. At very high doses, they can kill bees directly; but they more commonly affect and impair bees’ ability to breed, forage, fight disease and survive the winter, scientists say. Yet a recent EPA analysis found that neonicotinoid treatment on soybean seeds offers little or no economic benefit to soy producers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will phase out use of neonics in wildlife refuges by 2016. Meanwhile, the European Union has a two-year ban on the most widely used neonics.

Activist group says it broke into Iowa fox farm

An animal rights activist group admitted to breaking into an eastern Iowa fox fur farm and trying to free about 30 foxes.

The group, Animal Liberation Front, said in a written release sent to news organizations that it had released 30 foxes from an Anamosa, Iowa, farm that raises foxes for fur.

But the owner of the farm said over the weekend that the group had only managed to destroy property, including stripping away much of the farm’s fencing. Most of the foxes stayed in their enclosures, Rob Roman said. Two that did leave were quickly returned.

Had the foxes escaped, it’s unlikely they would have survived in the wild, Roman said. The animals are domesticated and have been raised since birth on the farm.

“They would have been hit by a car or killed by dogs,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even know how to eat in the wild.”

But Animal Liberation Front said in its release that farm-raised foxes can survive in the wild.

“Foxes are genetically wild,” the group’s release said. “There is a large and thriving wild fox population in Iowa.”

Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver said the break-in occurred early Sept. 26. Graver says while he’s sure the activist group is responsible, officials don’t have individual suspects.

“It’s extremely difficult to find these folks,” Graver said. “It’s pretty common for them to have someone from out-of-state come in and do these things.”

FBI investigators went to the farm following the vandalism, Roman said.

The FBI website says that it considers the Animal Liberation Front a domestic terrorist organization and describes it as a loosely-organized movement engaged in crimes such as vandalism and arson to damage businesses and intimidate their opponents.

The same group claimed responsibility for a 2004 break-in at a University of Iowa lab. Activists released hundreds of animals and destroyed years of research.

10 must-do Wisconsin summer activities

Summer is here, and except for heat, humidity, mosquitoes, wood ticks and road construction, this is Wisconsin’s best time of year. What would make it better still are these 10 essential Badger State activities:

Kayak the Apostle Islands 

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a part of the U.S. National Park System, is just north of charming Bayfield on Lake Superior’s southern shore. It is a 21-island chain featuring rocky outcroppings that have been carved by water over thousands of years into ridges, terraces and sea caves. The ideal way to explore this otherworldly setting is by kayak. Rent one or bring your own and create your own tour.

When you’re done kayaking, take the Bayfield ferry to Madeleine Island, the only permanently occupied Apostle island. Rent a bicycle once you land in LaPointe and spend an afternoon exploring the back roads, forests and beaches in one of the state’s most unique destinations.

Indulge your ‘up north’ spirit in Minocqua 

Wisconsinites love to spend part of their summers “up north,” and few places have the plethora of supper clubs, pine forests and picturesque lakes as the Minocqua area. The region, which includes Arbor Vitae, Woodruff, Lake Tomahawk and Manitowish Waters, is flush with small lakes, coves, inlets and beaches perfect for boating, swimming, fishing, drowsing in the sun and all those other “up north” activities that remove the day-to-day stress and put your soul at ease.

Drive the Great River Road 

History and nature blend against the backdrop of the Mississippi River along Highway 35, also known as Wisconsin’s Great River Road, which flanks the muddy river 250 miles from Prescott in the north to Kieler in the south. The 33 communities along the way exude small-town charm and feature interesting attractions. Many stop by La Crosse Queen Cruises and board modern-day replicas of old-fashioned paddlewheel boats that ply the Mississippi. Visit the Dickeyville Grotto, a kitschy Catholic shrine made of junk glass and concrete, and Villa Louis, the museum and national historical landmark in Prairie du Chien. You never know what you’ll find around the next turn.

Explore the Driftless Area

The Great River Road forms the western edge of the Driftless Area, a region in southwestern Wisconsin that wasn’t scoured flat by retreating glaciers millenia ago. The landscape is noted for its deep valleys, rocky outcroppings and steep, heavily forested hillsides. Residents from organic farmers to Amish artisans to architect Frank Lloyd Wright have called the region home, and history and culture coalesce in one of Wisconsin’s least familiar, yet most photographic regions.

Canoe the lower Wisconsin River

The Wisconsin River, the state’s longest, stretches 430 miles south from the pine forests at the Upper Michigan border diagonally across the state. But the southernmost 93 miles, stretching from Prairie du Sac to the Mississippi, is rife with sand bars, making it largely un-navigable — except for canoes and flat-bottomed crafts. Start south of the Prairie du Sac dam and paddle past the nude beach at Mazomanie, under the bridges at Spring Green and all the way to the Mississippi if you like. On the way, camp out on a sand bar, picnic and go for a swim. 

Visit Madison’s Capitol Square

In addition to being Wisconsin’s most emblematic building, the State Capitol and its surrounding square are home to a variety of summer activities. The square hosts the state’s largest farmers market every Saturday morning until October. Wednesday nights through early August, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concerts on the Square series entertains 30,000 picnickers with light classics. And there’s also Art Fair on the Square in July, Taste of Madison in August, and other festivities taking place in the shadow of the state’s most historic structure, which offers tours daily.

Take in a festival or six in Milwaukee

From ethnic and music festivals to weekly concerts and street fairs, the Cream City explodes each summer with color, music, food, laughter and scores of people celebrating almost every weekend of the season. Almost 40 years ago, the late Mayor Henry Maier declared Milwaukee the “City of Festivals” and the population has done its best to live up to that boast. Few cities its size are as festive and vibrant as Milwaukee in the summer.

Swing an ax with the lumberjacks in Hayward

Logging was one of the industries that helped establish Wisconsin, and starting in 1960, it’s been celebrated at the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward. Scheduled this year for July 24–26, the Sawyer County event is one of those rare state folk festivals that has gained a national reputation and attracted international participation. Hayward is also home to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and its giant muskie — have your picture taken standing in its mouth.

Tour lighthouses and pick cherries in Door County

Other than the kitschy Wisconsin Dells, Door County is Wisconsin’s best-known tourist mecca. All summer, the narrow peninsula that separates Lake Michigan from Green Bay bustles with visitors. Pick the region’s tart Montmorency cherries, browse shops and galleries, enjoy the beaches and visit the 12 lighthouses that dot the county. 

Make your own Wisconsin memory

Wisconsin is one of America’s best-kept secrets. Whether your tastes run toward rural bike trails and small town cafes, beautifully restored opera houses and breathtaking natural scenes, metropolitan areas bustling with people or pristine wildernesses rustling with wildlife, Wisconsin offers you memorable moments at every turn in the road or bend in the river. The best Wisconsin vacation memory is the one you make for yourself, and it’s time to get started.