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News From 91.3 KUWS
Ice caves makes it the 4th of July in winter for businesses
Instead of a gold rush, there’s an ice rush in the otherwise hibernating villages of Cornucopia and Bayfield. Mike Simonson reports.
Four thousand sight-seers trek to the Apostle Islands mainland ice caves each weekend are shaking things up a bit.
Usually Ehler’s General Store in Cornucopia is closed until April. But Mike Upthegrove says they’re opening up tomorrow because the ice-cavers need hot drinks and brats.
"It’s more than phenomenal. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Just down the road is the Village Inn. Cheryl O’Bryon says the inn is full and the restaurant is super busy during a time when the sidewalks are usually rolled up for winter.
“Huge difference, it’s amazing. The last three weekends have been like nothing we’ve seen before. It is definitely an economic miracle, there’s no doubt about that. I’m staffed right now like I would be on the 4th of July weekend. It’s incredible. It’s got to be social media, all those beautiful pictures on Facebook I think (laughs).”
She says they’ve had customers from as far away as Japan, China and Australia.
But the crush of visitors to the Apostle Islands sea caves has turned Highway 13 into a parking lot for as far as three miles in either direction of the sea caves entrance at Meyer’s Beach. That’s made things potentially dangerous for hikers.
So Bay Area Transit Authority General Manager Tom Waby says they’ll be running a 27 passenger shuttle bus continuously from Ehler’s Store and a plowed farm field-turned parking lot at Happy Hollow Road and Highway 13 to Meyer’s Beach Road.
“Of course the scary part for us is what do you do when you have a 27 passenger bus and you have 120 people standing there? Like ugh! Oh, oh.”
The shuttle will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and charge two dollars each way.
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