Tourism Helps Promote Fun on the Wild Rivers with Grant

August 21, 2019

FLORENCE, Wis. (Aug. 21, 2019) – Florence County Economic Development is inviting visitors to experience Northern Wisconsin’s Wild Rivers – the Pine and Popple Rivers – thanks to a $3,800 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The grant helps fund the creation and promotion of easy-to-follow itineraries for travelers to the Wild Rivers. The campaign is set to run through October.

“The FUN on the Wild Rivers campaign is a good example of how JEM Grant funds offer multi-year support to a destination looking to research, brand and market their product to travelers,” said Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney. “Northern Wisconsin offers endless outdoor recreation opportunities. We’re excited to support Florence County as they spread the word about the many ways visitors can engage with the area’s natural resources.”

The itineraries and corresponding campaign build on past research and marketing efforts from Year-1 and Year-2 JEM grants awarded to the county. This year, grant funds will go towards print, radio, online and outdoor advertising to promote half-day, full-day and weekend itineraries to attendees from throughout Wisconsin. The campaign is expected to attract 700 visitors to the area, generating an estimated $58,400 in visitor spending.

“We are grateful for the support of this Wisconsin Department of Tourism JEM Grant program. This 3-year program has helped us brand and market our unique state-designated, undeveloped and pristine Wild Rivers: the Pine and the Popple,” said Florence County Economic Development Director, Wendy Gehlhoff. “These rivers offer FUN opportunities not just for paddling and tubing on the rivers, but also for hiking, fall-color photography, fishing, berry picking and getting away from the crowds. Visit in September and October for new itineraries to help you have FUN on the Wild Rivers.”

In 2018, the tourism economy in Wisconsin totaled $21.6 billion, supporting 199,073 jobs. Visitors generated $1.6 billion in state and local revenue. Business sales in Florence County totaled $8.3 million in 2018, supporting 95 jobs and more than $0.6 million in state and local taxes.

In fiscal year 2019, the Department funded 62 JEM projects, awarding a total of more than $1.1 million. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $61 million. 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

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market Wisconsin as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun 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:
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