Outdoor Wisconsin | Program | #3320

– I’m here at the Rotary
Arboretum right next to the Urban Ecology Center
in Milwaukee’s Riverside Park where city residents can
connect with the natural world. In just a few minutes, Jeff Keln talks with stock
car racer Linda Morgan affectionately known as
the Ice Racing Granny. Then Amy Fink tours
Canoecopia in Madison. But first, I’ll take you
camping in Germantown in the middle of winter. I’m Dan Small and
it’s time, once again, for outdoor Wisconsin. ♪ Summer to fall,
winter to spring. ♪ From Green Bay to where
the Saint Croix sings. ♪ From Kettle Moraine
to Superior Shore ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin,
outdoor Wisconsin. – Well it’s about ten degrees
here in Germantown, Wisconsin. There’s a 15 to 20 mile
an hour northwest wind but I’m out with Dan Quesnell
and a group of happy campers. You can tell by their smiles that they’re having a good time. Dan some people would
day this is crazy. – A lot of people
would say this is crazy but for us this is going
to be a lot of fun. (harmonica song) We’re in Germantown, Wisconsin. The land is owned
by my uncle Joe and we’ve been camping
out here for 20 years. It’s 30 acres of land. It’s been in our
family since the 1960s so I grew up hunting
out here with my dad. So we still deer
hunt in the fall and in the winter
we play out here. We camp and enjoy the outdoors. – [Man] Very nice. – [Dan] How did
this get started? – Curiosity. Twenty years ago, my
best friend Jason and I it was something we always
wanted to do growing up was to camp in the winter and
so we decided to do it. We came out here, had a
blast just the two of us and we’ve been doing it
every year in January for a night every since. – [Dan] Now tell us who
comes to this event? – Now there’s 40 guys this year so it’s grown from those
early days of the two of us. – [Dan] Talk about
what it takes to sleep in this cold weather. – Yeah, so our
trip we bring hay. We put hay down, it
acts as an insulator. It’s also comfortable. It keeps you off the
hard frozen grown. People hand it differently. There’s the ice shanty
out here, there’s tents. I’m going to sleep
under the stars tonight. I have a sleeping bag rated
at negative 20 with a BV sack and that’s the way we’ve done
it the last several years. It’s a comfortable night’s sleep when you have the
right equipment. So last year the night we
had picked was the night of the Packer playoff party and I knew we’d lose everybody
if we didn’t have the game on so we brought two
projectors and two big TVs and we had so much
fun watching football that even though the Packers
aren’t playing tonight we’re going to watch football. – [Dan] What do you tell
people who think you’re crazy? – I don’t know. I’ve been doing it now so long
that for me it’s not crazy. I’ve tried to convince
people over the years that you can do it and I
would say by the 40 guys that are out here tonight, at
one hand I’ve been successful and it’s just not
everybody’s cup of tea so I’ve also learned to let
go when I need to do that too. – What’s not to like
about winter camping? We got a warm fire, we got
the game on TV, hot toddy, bring on the night. We’re talking with
Jason Johnston who’s one of the
founders of this event. Tell me why you do this. – Well one, we’re outside. I mean being in nature in
and of itself is phenomenal. Getting out this time of year when most people don’t spend
that much time out is fun. It’s obviously gone from
just winter camping, basic stuff like MREs,
to a little bit more now where we have food and
TVs but the comradery, getting outside,
spending time outside, it’s fun too because
we hunt here. So we see the land in the fall,
we come out in the spring, and we get to come
out in the winter and spend time out here as
well, so all the seasons. – [Dan] What do you like
about winter camping? – Well one it’s different. I mean obviously everybody
goes in the summer so you’re out here
kind of on your own. The freshness of the air,
the crispness of the air, the trees pop more in the
wind, there’s no bugs. I mean that’s a quick easy
one right there, no bugs. It just- it’s a
different experience. Obviously, like I said earlier, people get out in the
springtime, in the
summer, in the fall but here you get to see
it in a different venue, a lot of changes,
the seasons change, the landscape looks much
different so it’s a lot of fun. – What’s your message to people who have never tried
anything like this? – Do it. I mean it’s
intimidating at first. Most people think
that’s too much for me. I have to buy all this stuff but there’s no such
thing as bad weather only bad clothes and
bad preparation honestly and we’ve pushed it. The last few years are probably
the coldest we’ve seen. Minus six last year, this year
minus three maybe at night but it’s fine, it’s awesome. – Well Joe it’s really
something of you to invite all these people to enjoy your wonderful
property out here. – Yeah, we have a lot of fun. My nephew Dan is
the great organizer. In fact he started
this many years ago and bugged me for years to
come out and I refused to but then about ten years
ago I started coming out and it started
growing since then. I mean I think it was
three of us and now here I think we have close to
50 guys this year out here which is really, really nice. – You think you got enough
wood for the fire tonight? – I think so. We had a lot of help
and if it doesn’t burn it will sit here for next year so it’s really nice to have a
nice big fire as you can see. But as a kid about 12,
13 years old I used to come out here with my
cousins about my same age. My uncle would drop us off
and let us walk out here and we’d squirrel
and rabbit hunt. We haven’t seen a lot
of rabbits out here in the last few years. I think it’s because
of the coyotes so literally I’ve
been hunting out here since early seventies. – [Dan] Looks like
a great property. – Yeah, we have a
lot of fun out here. We really enjoy it. And then to get guys to join
us in January is even better. – [Dan] Tell me
what you’ve learned in the 20 years of doing this. – I’ve learned you can enjoy
nature any time of the year. It’s beautiful out here in
the winter despite the cold. We’re going to have a beautiful
night of stars tonight. The woods are quiet. Just that peace and
quiet in the woods is what keeps me coming out. At some level even I
think it’s a little- it’s interesting to have a
group of this size want to share in the company and the nature
and to keep coming back. – If you think winter
camping is a crazy idea wait till you see
this next segment. Ever since cars were invented,
people have been racing them. On the road, on dirt
tracks and even on ice. Call of the Wild campground
in Montello is the home of the Buffalo Lake Ice Racers. Every Sunday in winter, you’ve
find folks pitting their cars and skills against each
other on the frozen oval. Among those drivers is 76 year old racing
granny Linda Morgan. I’m ice racing granny.
I’m 76 years old. I’m getting up there. – [Ken] If you mention racing
granny somebody will know who you’re talking about,
you know, around this area. – [Linda] I have grandchildren,
great grandchildren and all the little kids
that come and watch us, the spectator kids, they
all call me granny too and I love it. (engine revs) – [Ken] She’s running
a Ford Escort. – [Linda] They all like
to see the old lady really get out there because we have people
that don’t believe it. – [Ken] As long as I’ve been
running here she’s been around. – I’ve talked to people
and they’ve said, “Really, are you sure?” I say come on out and watch. – [Jeff] Why ice racing? – [Linda] Because
that’s the winter sport. There isn’t much else
to do in the winter time in northern Wisconsin. – [Ken] So as long
as it gets cold in the winter here in Wisconsin we’ll be here at Call
of the Wild Campground. We’re on from the first
Sunday of the year until the first car falls in. Literally until the
first car falls in. We drive around on a third mild
track every Sunday at noon. We run three classes. Front wheel drive, rear
wheel drive, and wild. – [Linda] We are the wild
division, women on wheels. – [Ken] It’s getting
bigger every year. – [Linda] This is
my 14th season. – She’s a very
respectful driver. She’s one of those
drivers who will- she’ll give you the right of way but she’s also out there
to that if she needs to she’ll give you a little
rubber, a little nudge and she’ll get around you. – [Linda] I think I get more
relaxed once I get out there because it’s the anticipation
of getting nervous and oh what’s going to happen? And once I get out
there I just let it go. I kind of free flow out there. I try to do my best each week. Had some pretty fast
cars coming up around us and you know what? I just try to keep up with them. – [Ken] There’s not much
coaching that goes on. Everybody they learn the
first time out, you know, the best way to do it and the
ice changes so much every week that it’s really hard
to give anybody an idea of how to run out here. – [Linda] I’ve learned
that you got to know when to break going into the
curbs and when to hit the gas and that’s a big thing out here. – [Ken] The difference between
racing on dirt or asphalt compared to ice, you don’t
have the traction out here. You don’t have the forward bite and once you do get the
forward bite and the traction you don’t have the ability
to stop like you used to. Dirt track and asphalt use a
lot of breaking in the corners. Here you don’t have that. You have to really
run the throttle and know how to handle
your car into the corner because there’s not a
lot of breaking ability with ice conditions. The best thing you
can hope for is that you can get the car turned before there’s another
car in front of you. – I don’t know if you
can build strengths because the tracks are
different all the time. I mean like today it started out we thought we’d be
glare ice out here and it ended up with a
little bit of coating and the track was
really fast today. – [Ken] Yeah, we try to prep
the ice as much as we can. If there’s a hard snow pack
we try to leave it alone where it’s frozen down. We got a real good bite with
the soft rubber compound tires that we use. A day like today where we
got a little more water on the track, we try to
get the slosh off the track and prepare for the next event. So the biggest thing
we tell everybody is to make sure they know
the track conditions and make sure they know
their car can handle it. – [Linda] So you have to
adjust almost every week. – [Ken] Buffalo Lake’s
been- they started racing back in the sixties. They ran actually from
Packwaukee to Montello and back one lap a distance
of about eight miles. Mid seventies they started
to runt the old track here on Buffalo Lake, on
this end of Buffalo Lake. Still running the third mile. – [Linda] We have
great spectators. I have a whole
second family here and the guys take
care of my car. It’s just the comradery
down here is terrific. You won’t find it very many
places but we’ve got it. – [Ken] She fits in
really well with everybody no matter if she’s
out in the front door, in the back of the pack, she’s always racing
well with everybody. – [Linda] Through the
years I got a little better and a little better and I
actually have five championships that I’ve won and one
year I was very fortunate. I was here every week
and I finished on top and I event outpoints the men. – [Ken] Ice racing granny, her co-pilot Sue passed
away not too long ago, a few months ago. It’s really hard on days
like today doing a memorial, remembering old people and
wishing they were here. – [Linda] I almost gave up in
July or first part of August. I was ready to quit. I lost my co-pilot and I just thought maybe I
couldn’t come back after that but everybody encouraged me and said she wouldn’t
have wanted it and so today we are honoring
her with our memorial and this just means
the world to me to be able to drive
in her memorial. – [Ken] That’s
really why we do it. Every year we pick
what we think is going to be the best
weekend of the year to honor people we’ve had
whether it be co-pilots or drivers that have come
out and helped us out over the years and race with us. – [Jeff] Tell me a little
bit about your car. – Well as you can see
it’s Dollar General and that is because
that is Matt Kenseth. I am a huge Matt Kenseth fan. I just adore him and I’ve gone to a
lot of his parties. I’ve always wanted
to see a NASCAR race but haven’t got that yet. – [Jeff] How long do
you think you’re going to be doing this yet? – [Linda] Oh my goodness. Ask the Lord because it’s up
to him how long I can hold up. – [Ken] She just loves
being out here, you know? No matter what
position that she’s in she loves being here,
she loves what she does. – [Linda] You got
to have ambitions and you got to have goals. I don’t care win, lose, or
draw, I’m here to have fun and I do have fun. – [Jeff] How did you do? – Fourth. – [Jeff] Fourth? – At least I wasn’t dead last. – [Jeff] Then that’s great. – Go granny, go. Well now that the ice
has left Buffalo Lake paddlers and pleasure
boaters are out in force. Let’s join Amy Fink at
Canoecopia in Madison as she checks out what’s
new for the paddle sports. – Oh boy he’s hydrating already. Mr. Darren Bush is in the house. This is Canoecopia,
he’s Mr. Canoecopia. – I’m just Darren. – I mean you’re like
Mr. January or mister- I’m Darren, Darren works. (upbeat music) – All right 20,000
people are going to come through these
doors this weekend. This is a huge deal. Tell us a little bit about
Canoecopia for somebody who’s never been. – So Canoecopia is the- it’s
the mecca of paddle sports. We’ve been doing this
for close to 40 years and it’s just- it’s
the home for my tribe. I’m a paddler, these
are all my people. So it’s basically a
big educational event. We’ve got speakers and seminars
and everything like that and then we’ve got
all this stuff. So once they learn
how to use it, they can come over and get it. – And there’s everything. I mean there’s hats,
there’s kayaks, there’s racks to put all this
stuff on your car, everything. – If you want to go paddling, you can walk in here
with a credit card and leave with
everything you need with a slightly higher
balance on your credit card. – Yeah but a lot of fun that
you’ll have this summer. – Well the cool part about
is once you buy a boat and everything, no lift
tickets, no green fees, nothing. You’re done right? – You’re a salesman. – You buy a thousand
dollar set of golf clubs which I hear is cheap now,
you got to pay a hundred bucks every time you use them. Not with boats. – That’s very true. Okay so you know he’s been
doing this for so long so he packs the water
because all he’ll do for the next three
days is stand around, he doesn’t really work,
and just hug people. – That’s what I do. – You are you. – I am me. – Being you. You look fabulous. – Oh thanks. – This is cute on you. How important is a hat when
you’re outside in the elements? – Oh extremely
important because I mean for the skin especially I’m
a little bit older woman. It saves your skin
not to have that sun and skin cancer. My father has that so I
think it’s real important to make sure that you cover
the sun and not have burns So with SPF 50 it’s fantastic. – You got it and this
matches your eyes beautifully so you need to get this okay? – All right sounds
good. It’s a sale. – Happy shopping. – Thank you. (soft music) – All right now these
things are awesome Darren. Tell us about them. – It’s a SUP board, it’s
a stand up paddle board that are made to be
as environmentally
friendly as possible so the wood is a tropical wood that’s been sustainably
grown and harvested so it’s a fast growing wood
and instead of using Kevlar or materials they use flax so the rails here are actually
flax material that they use and they use the most
environmentally friendly epoxies or resins they can use and
even the top of it is a cork. – Yeah, so this has got
to be nice for balance. – It feels really good on your
feet when you’re doing this. – Yeah, for sure. – All right moving on, let’s
go see what else they have. (soft music) – Well Steve Arreno
here is going to show me these real cool- what are they bikes? Are they kayaks? – This is actually
a pedal drop kayak. It’s got similar to a
little trolling motor. It’s got a prop system but
you’ve go to pedal drop system that propels you forward. You’ve got forward and
you’ve also got reverse. You can even paddle the
boat if you want to. You can take this
unit completely out and paddle it just
like a regular kayak. – Wow. – But this has become
very popular with fishing. It’s more hands-free motion
while you’re fishing. – Oh sure. – This boat you can stand
up in to cast and fish and the petal drop system
is called our propel system drops into the boat, you
cover it up, you lock it in, and then you can go
forward and go reverse. – So you guys have
thought of everything. I mean this is a true hybrid, – We have, it is. – All right well
Steve you sold me. I’ll take two. – All right let’s
do it. What color? – Blue and orange please. (soft music) – These are beautiful. – Thank you. Why are they so good? Why is Badger Paddle the best? – Well they’re all hand made. They’re not mass produced. My paddles are all made
of one piece of hardwood so this is cherry which
is, you know, my main wood that I use. I do probably 80 percent
of my paddles in cherry. Cherry’s not too heavy
but really hardy. it holds in oil really well. It has a nice flex to
it when you flex it and they’re just hardy, they’re
easy to maintain as well. Because these are oil paddles, they’ve got a really
soft feel in your hand. They don’t give you
a lot of blisters. – They feel great. – Yeah and they’re
easy to maintain. Its like a five minute
job to re-oil this paddle if it’s in need of
a little bit of oil. – Well it’s a great name. Hopefully you sell a lot
here being in Wisconsin. – I generally do. – Go Badgers. Okay we have definitely
found the cutest and I think the youngest
paddler here at the expo. What is your name sweety? – Can you say Mariah? – Are you Mariah? And this is your
first Canoecopia? – Say yeah. – Oh my gosh. Where
did you travel from? – We’re from Waterloo Island. – And what brought you here? – I’m getting into
canoeing very seriously and kayaking very seriously for the past couple
of years now. – You had to come to
the mega sale right? – Absolutely. – And you came
here just for this. – Just for this, all three days. – She’s pretty excited. Do you take her with? – Yep. – She’s an adventure baby. – She is an adventure baby. – All right. Can
you give high five? First time
Canoecopia, high five? – Can you give high fives? – High fives. – High five? Knuckles? Nothing. Oh she’s mad. She hasn’t
gotten a canoe or kayak yet. (upbeat music) Another Canoecopia
is in the books and I must leave now
because I am out of money but it’s okay because I’m
going to have a ton of fun on the water. Until next year. – You don’t need to
own a canoe or kayak to enjoy the paddle sports. Urban Ecology Center
members can borrow one at any of the center’s
three locations. Menomonie Valley,
Washington Park, or here at Riverside Park. We’re here at Susie’s Bridge
in Milwaukee’s Riverside Park and I’m talking with Urban
Ecology Center branch manager Jamie Ferschinger and
forester Caitlin Reinartz. Now Jamie there’s a lot
going on here at the center but you’ve got three
branches don’t you? – Yeah we have three branches. Riverside Park was the
first branch that we’ve had that we started and we
have two other branches one in Menomonie Valley
and one in Washington Park. – What are some of the
things people do here? – Well in all three branches
we manage green space. We manage three parks
and then we provide a lot of opportunities to get
people out into that park either through recreation
or land stewardship or education. – And I understand volunteers
are an important part of your workforce here Caitlin. – They’re all of it, yup. There are few people lucky
enough to be on staff that manage the parks but
the lion’s share of work that gets done around
here is all volunteers. – What are some of
the things they do? – So we do a lot of
trail maintenance, erosion control, a lot of
invasive species removal, planting, watering, weeding,
just caring for our parks and it’s all under the
umbrella of habitat management and ecological restoration. – Is that kind of work
different in a city environment than it might be out in
a more rural setting? – It’s a little bit
more challenging in
a city environment. You need to navigate
not closing trails so that people can use them. You need to navigate sort of
everybody’s wants and needs with the park and
sort of balance that with wildlife needs as well but it’s not too
terribly different. – Well you got a
wonderful setting here, a wonderful location, and lots
of people enjoying it today and we certainly
appreciate you taking time to share it with us. – Yeah, thanks Dan. – Thanks for coming. – And if you want to
get out of this city you can also paddle
one of Wisconsin’s many rivers and lakes. The Cherish Wisconsin
outdoors fund helps protect our wild places. Here’s natural resources
foundation board
member Bill Smith to tell us about
the Cherish Fund and the many field trips
the foundation offers. – The Cherish
Wisconsin Outdoors Fund was set up specifically to
provide opportunities for people to contribute to the management
of Wisconsin’s lands. Not just natural areas
but the whole range of Wisconsin’s conservation
lands or natural resource lands so wildlife areas,
fisheries, parks, forests, the whole range of
activities are supported by the Cherish fund and what Cherish
intends to do is to ask for voluntary
contributions from people so when you go and buy a
license or get a permit the department can now ask
if you would be willing to contribute to Cherish. And if you say yes your
money goes into a fund that sets up a long-term
endowment and then that endowment generates
revenue through investments and the revenue
is used every year to help fund and fill
some of those gaps in managing Wisconsin’s lands. The field trips are a
wonderful opportunity. They’re a vital
part of our mission of connecting people
to natural resources. We started out with a few
field trips several years ago and because of the demand
and they’ve been so popular we’ve increased that. The foundation organizes
the trips but DNR staff, some of our conservation
organization partners, and individuals work together
to provide these field trips. We now offer about
150 field trips a year for people to go out and
view the natural resources and the great part of it
on those field trips is when you go you’re out
there with an expert that really knows
the subject matter and will take the time to
explain things in detail, answer your questions, show
you the really neat things about the property, the unique aspects of
a particular animal
or plant species, might be a geologic
formation, archeological site, they’re just a great
opportunity to be out there in a small group
environment in the resource with an expert and they’re
just fabulous opportunities for individuals, families,
groups, and I encourage people to take a look at that. – This year the
foundation is offering more than 200 field trips. For more information
on those trips and this week’s other features,
log on to and click on Outdoor Wisconsin or visit the Outdoor
Wisconsin Facebook page. Well next time Amy Fink
visits Eugster’s farm in Dane county during spring
lambing and kitting days. Deb Wolniak hikes
the ice age trail in the southern Kettle Moraine and I’ll visit Robert’s
Defense in Oshkosh to learn how custom
1911 handguns are made. Saying goodbye from
the Rotary Arboretum here in Riverside
Park in Milwaukee, I’m Dan small. Join us again next time
for Outdoor Wisconsin. ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin, hike,
fish, hunt, camp, sail, canoe. ♪ Ski, photograph, laugh,
do what you want to. ♪ Stick your nose where
the wild rose grows. ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin,
Outdoor Wisconsin.