The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wisconsinites enjoy state-sponsored 'Free Fun Weekend'


June 8, 2021


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With temperatures hovering around 90 degrees across the reagion on Saturday, it was not uncommon to see motorbikes, convertibles and kids running through sprinklers.

Adding to the activity was what the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources called a “Free Fun Weekend” in relation to trails, parks and waterways.

On both Saturday and Sunday, park admission fees, fishing licenses and trail fees were not required in any of the state’s 49 state parks, 15 state forests, numerous waterways or 44 state trails.

The weekend waiver applied to both residents and visitors, who each were present in several Iron County locations visited by the Daily Globe.

Parks of any sort were busy, even those not state-affiliated, providing a place for kids to romp and parents to rest as they watched over them.

At Schomberg County Park in Hurley, picnickers were setting up their gear by mid-day within the large pavilion centered there.

Weber Lake in Upson featured boats, canoes and paddlers.

At J.S. Carow Park in Mercer, kids from several households filled the beach, dashing in and out of the water to splash around and carry back pails of water for little ditches dug in the sand.

Dan Hanrahan of Mercer had several family members visiting from Mustang, Oklahoma — “just for this beach.”

Other families from Mercer and from Marenisco, Michigan, also were present.

The boat ramp at the Gile Flowage in Gile had traffic coming and going, along with a full pavilion of picnickers.

Joe Stieber and Emily Braker, along with Debbie and Dave Tarasewicz — all of Gile — were leaving in separate boats as Jesse Piontek of Elk Mound, Wisconsin, was returning with his own.

As for why he traveled three hours to visit Iron County, Piontek said only, and happily, “Small-mouth bass!”

He said he’d caught two on that day’s run, which represented his first visit to the region.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Gile Flowage — which is 3,138 acres — also has northern pike, walleye, musky and panfish.

Finally, more out-of-towners were using the trail link heading from Hurley to Ironwood’s Trail 2 via their side-by-side ORVs. They were Isaac Lepinski of Iola and Josh Karpinski and Trevor Diestler, both of Waupaca.

Michigan has its own no-fee weekend coming up on June 12-13.


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