Florence County Receives $5,600 Grant to Promote Waterfalls

July 5, 2016

Kristina LeVan

Wisconsin Department of Tourism

Florence County is encouraging visitors to experience Northern Wisconsin’s fall color on the Wild Rivers Waterfall Tour with help from a $5,600 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The tour builds on research conducted from a Year-1 JEM grant awarded to the county. This year’s marketing efforts will run from July through October, 2016 and aim to promote hiking along the area’s seven waterfalls during the fall season.

“Research has shown that travelers give Wisconsin high marks for our outdoor recreation. The Pine and Popple Rivers offer outstanding opportunities for hiking, fishing, birding and other popular outdoor activities,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “We are thrilled to support the second year of this marketing campaign that promotes Florence County and its natural beauty, all while creating a positive economic impact in the area.”

In fiscal 2016, the Department funded 57 JEM projects, awarding a total of more than $1.1 million. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $31 million. In 2015, the tourism economy in Wisconsin totaled $19.3 billion, a more than four percent increase from 2014. Total business sales in Florence County topped $7.5 million in 2015, supporting 91 jobs and nearly $1 million in state and local taxes.

The Wild Rivers Waterfall Tour highlights sights along the Pine and Popple Rivers, designated as “Wild Rivers” in 1965. The rivers run freely with seven waterfalls, six rapids, plentiful wildlife viewing, and pristine forests. The tour begins at the Wild Rivers Visitor Center and takes visitors on a self-guided tour of the waterfalls and rapids along the Pine and Popple Rivers. Starting Aug. 1, travelers can request a copy of the new Waterfalls Guide online at ExploreFlorenceCounty.com or by calling the visitor center at 888-889-0049. The project estimates a $41,500 economic impact from traveler spending at area hotels, restaurants and stores. Grant funds will go toward billboard, direct mail, internet, radio and print advertising.

“We are very thankful for this Year 2 JEM grant from the Department of Tourism,” said Wendy Gehlhoff, Florence County Economic Development Director. “Our Waterfalls are majestic, rugged places where visitors can reconnect with nature and serenity while enjoying the beautiful fall colors. Some require short easy hikes while others offer a longer hike through a variety of habitats and terrain.”

JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project's first-year advertising and marketing costs, and provide support for second- and third-year projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at www.travelwisconsin.com.

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