Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in the Chequamegon Bay Area Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Sectors

Authors: Hunter Goldman*, Northland College, Meghan Salmon-Tumas, Northland College, Natalie Chin, Wisconsin Sea Grant (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
Topics: Tourism Geography, Regional Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: Chequamegon Bay, Wisconsin, Midwest, tourism, outdoor recreation, stakeholders, climate change adaptation, planning, local government
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 6
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the Chequamegon Bay region of Wisconsin, tourism and outdoor recreation represent a large portion of local economies; The Apostle islands alone bring in over $35 million annually, and Bayfield county is the fifth-highest Wisconsin county in visitor spending. Additionally, business and job development are a top priority for 56% of Chequamegon Bay residents, pointing to the importance of further developing the tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.
Recently, anecdotes and news media have indicated that climate change is impacting these sectors. The relevant effects of climate change include precipitation fluctuations, reductions in ice cover, and lake level changes. Given the importance of recreation and tourism to the Chequamegon Bay area, these effects could have serious impacts on the quality of life and the economic development of the area. However, well-planned adaptation measures could reduce impacts and build the resilience of these sectors. This study assesses the needs of area stakeholders in tourism and outdoor recreation in order to inform local and statewide policies.
Here we present the results of a comprehensive survey and select in-depth interviews with stakeholders in the Chequamegon Bay Area in the tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. These findings show the importance of providing area businesses and non-profits with state-of-the-science information on expected changes in climate as well as resources for developing adaptation plans. These results extend the findings of the upcoming WICCI (Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts) tourism and outdoor recreation working group.

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