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Fresh start made to tout Pierce tourism

Pierce County Partners in Tourism is being revived. (Submitted artwork)

Efforts to promote the county as a destination for tourists are being renewed with the return of Pierce County Partners in Tourism (PCPT).

One of the original organizers, Wilson Mills of Circle K Orchard in Beldenville, is back to direct the new PCPT’s activities. Mills said Wednesday he’s seeking additional advisors for input into how the organization should proceed. He encourages anyone interested to call him at (715) 821-7799 or contact him at

“We’re trying to complement what others are doing on their own,” he said.

This includes various chambers of commerce and similar groups throughout the county, the Mississippi Valley Partners and Great River Road interests along the borders, plus subgroups like the Ellsworth Co-op Creamery, Flat Pennies Ice Cream in Bay City, Crystal Cave in Spring Valley, Sailer’s Market in Elmwood and Vino in the Valley in Maiden Rock, billing themselves as Western Wisconsin tour stops. Mills said there’s been no overall tourism coordination here since 2011, however.

He’s concerned because the potential for attracting more visitors is high, yet the county presently isn’t capitalizing on it. He’s also hopeful, based on a recent meeting of leaders from around the county, both in the private and public sectors, who identified tourism as fourth highest on their list of priorities.

“Pierce is second from the bottom as far as sales tax per capita,” he said, referring to a comparison of rates in the 72 counties statewide.

That indicator is important because it can mean a reduction in everyone’s property taxes, Mills said. One reason he cited for Pierce’s low ranking is people tend to shop where they work and this county has a lot of job commuters. Additionally, Pierce hasn’t been attracting industry lately, has no interstate highway and its terrain isn’t conducive to building big box enterprises.

For more please read the Sept. 4 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

(715) 273-4334