Making Tracks: Boom Lake Log Jam lives up to expectations
Last month, from June 20 to 22, Rhinelander was once again the center of the lumberjack world. The inaugural Boom Lake Log Jam brought thousands of people out to Hodag Park to celebrate both the bygone and modern logging industries and their undeniable impact on our city and economy.
From Friday night through Sunday morning, Hodag Park was the epicenter of activity with live music, lumberjack shows, hands-on competitions, state-of-the-art timber harvesters, kids activities, and even the revealing of a “live” Hodag. Crowds of young children, families, teens and young adults meandered through Rhinelander’s signature park, finding something new and interesting at each tent, display and activity.
First-year events always come with feelings of anxiousness for the unknown-will people come? Will everyone enjoy it? Were the right bands and vendors invited? Did we order enough porta-potties? These questions and others were answered throughout the weekend and thankfully most were answered with a resounding “Yes.” The Rhinelander community deserves a big pat on the back for turning out and making the first Boom Lake Log Jam a definite success.
Community events like this one are put on to build a sense of unity and pride in our city. They provide a fun preoccupation that give people the opportunity to discover new things about the area and the people living in it. At the Log Jam, many people learned how the city of Rhinelander wouldn’t even exist without the work of the lumberjack and how the timber industry still drives the heart of our economy today. Event sponsors like Expera Specialty Solutions, Ponsse, Pioneer Forestry Equipment, Great Lakes Timber Professionals, and Prentiss and Carlisle are at the forefront of the industry that provides stable and profitable opportunities for current and future generations.
The Log Jam also hoped to draw people from out of our area into Rhinelander to discover the many offerings we have for lodging, recreation, retail, dining, employment, and more. With support from the WI Department of Tourism, we promoted the event in regional markets like the Fox Valley, Madison, Milwaukee and Wausau. This drew people into our area who may not make it here on a monthly or seasonal basis. The economic impact of this type of activity is a great one-an estimated $300,000 of economic activity was generated by the more than 2,000 people that turned out for the event over the weekend.
The Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce looks forward to continuing to improve and grow the event over the coming years, making it a favored part of everyone’s summer plans. We owe a great deal of thanks to everyone who attended the event, our many hard-working volunteers, and the sponsors whose support made the Log Jam possible. As you conduct your daily business, I hope you make it a point to work with the following businesses who have shown strong support for our community: Star Journal/Buyers Guide, WJFW Channel 12, Ponsse, Pioneer Forestry Equipment, Park City Credit Union, Great Lakes Timber Professionals, Expera Specialty Solutions-Rhinelander Mill, WI Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, Cellcom, Rhinelander GM, Prentiss and Carlisle, AmericInn, L-Sells, Gaber Electric, Covantage Credit Union, Dean Distributing, Miller Beer of the Northwoods, Quality Inn, and Stifel Financial.
I look forward to seeing everyone once again at next year’s Boom Lake Log Jam.
Dana DeMet is available at 715-365-7464.