Frac sand mining’s not compatible with Great River Road, he saysTO THE EDITOR: On a recent Sunday morning, my wife and I drove to Alma, along the Wisconsin side of the Great River Road.
By: Dennis Donath, Pierce County Commissioner, Wisconsin Mississippi River Parkway Commission, Prescott, Pierce County Herald
TO THE EDITOR: On a recent Sunday morning, my wife and I drove to Alma, along the Wisconsin side of the Great River Road.
According to a lady from Columbia, Miss., with whom I spoke at the GRR Visitor Center in Prescott, the Great River Road, which follows our river from Lake Itasca in Minnesota all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, is truly a national treasure. She had driven the entire route (approximately 2,100 miles), and told me there was no question but that the Wisconsin section (250 miles) was the most scenic and pleasurable to drive.
Along the road to Alma, we met with the owners or employees of seven different businesses that depend on tourist traffic. They were all busy. In fact, there was a line of customers waiting to get into the Smiling Pelican Bakery in Maiden Rock.
There are several hundred businesses along the “West Coast” of Wisconsin that depend on tourism. They provide jobs for local residents and are important to the traveling public and to their communities.
The proponents of frac sand mining, an industry undergoing explosive growth in Western Wisconsin, claim that mining activity will not have a negative impact on tourism. Unfortunately, the sand that comes from the mines will have to be transported and processed locally, resulting in a significant increase in truck traffic on the Great River River Road.
I have nothing against frac sand mining; however, this activity is not compatible with the Great River Road/National Scenic Byway. Most residents along the road have little or nothing to gain and the possibility of a lot to lose.