Silent sports aren’t quiet
A North Woods case study on the economic impacts of active silent sports enthusiasts shows that even fitness-minded tourists spend millions of dollars on trips here, disproving old stereotypes about skiers and cyclists being too frugal to help tourism.
Among other things, the study showed that nonresidents of Ashland, Bayfield and Sawyer counties accounted for 95% of the roughly 26,700 participants in skiing and biking events during 2012.
The study defines an active silent sports enthusiast as someone who participated in at least one cross country skiing, biking or running event during the course of one year.
With nonresidents making an average of 4.2 trips to the three counties during the year and spending an average of 2.4 nights and $468 per trip, visitors spent a total of about $26.4 million — with roughly $14.7 million of the total spent in the three counties.
According to researchers from UW-Extension and the bicycling industry, trip spending by nonresident silent sports enthusiasts supported more than 222 jobs in the three counties — about $6.4 million in labor income within the accommodations, food services and retail trade sectors of the local economy.
As for the economic ability of these tourists to purchase recreational properties here, study demographics show 88% had a bachelor’s degree or higher, 89% reported annual household incomes of at least $50,000, and 70% identified their occupation as professional and managerial trades.
We are highlighting the results this week because they are economically significant and show the enormous potential of developing more trails and events that revolve around these silent sports. Even if they don’t spend as much money per capita as snowmobilers and power boaters do while vacationing here, silent sports enthusiasts are hardly the “granola bar and water” crowd that they were once tagged with.
Snow plowers, shovelers
While many North Woods residents are tired of shoveling snow, driving on slick roads and fighting cold weather, those who make part of their living from plowing roads and driveways must be equally exhausted as severe weather lingers for a third month.
We’d like to thank the county and town plowers who keep highways safe, often doing their job in frigid early morning darkness to help working residents and school bus drivers get where they need to go. They’ve been at the beck and call of highway officials for months now, called into work on more nights and weekends than anyone wants to work.
The other heroes of winter include private snowplow operators who keep driveways and parking lots clear, the snow shovelers who clear public and private sidewalks, and lately, roof climbers who will help relieve the snow pack that has accumulated on buildings.
Most importantly, thanks to the saints who shovel and plow out elderly neighbors without being asked, and often without charge.
Behind the editorial ‘we’
Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
|Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:28 PM|