On June 7, a Category 4 tornado ripped nearly a half-mile-wide and 40-mile-long path of devastation through northeast Wisconsin. In its path was the 25-acre paddlesports and adventure resort, Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Resort in Langlade. Established eight years ago by partners Jamee Peters and Shirlee Roche, the 10-building resort is a total loss. Kayaks were tossed into trees, across the road and impaled with debris. Damages are estimated at $1 million. Fortunately, minor injuries were the most damage any human being sustained.
To watch a video of the volunteer effort cleaning up shortly after the tornado hit, click here.
A message posted on the Bear Paw website, www.bearpawoutdoors.com, reads:
On June 7, 2007 Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Resort was hit by a strong tornado that devastated our resort. We are unable to continue operations at this time. We wish to thank all the many friends, customers, and just plain kind folks who helped us start the massive clean-up. We are regrouping and making plans for the futures.
First we will pay back all deposits for lodging and programs in a timely manner. Our reservation data was saved. These payments will be made by check to the address listed on the account.
Second, we will pay our vendors in a timely manner and to help with that, we will be offering a sale of any salvaged merchandise from the shop and the rooms. Much of this merchandise does have some storm damage, similar to 1 day on the Wolf in low water. This sale will begin July 16 and run through August 6. We will also be selling our fleet at that time too. More info to come on that sale.
Third, we are unable to continue our kayak school this year. We are referring all of our guests and customers to Wolf River Guides, another renowned school on the Wolf River. Some of our fine instructors will be working with them. We encourage you to visit their website or call them at 715-882-3002 or www.wolfriverguides.com.
For lodging or camping, please visit www.wolfriverterritory.com. We want to thank our staff and all of our fine friends and customers, and even complete strangers so much for your help and support. It is truly incredible what you all have contributed. We are taking a step away from it all for the next week, then look to our website for future plans. We are aching with sadness and also we are overwhelmed by the love and support of all our wonderful friends and guests. Stay tuned.
Jamee and Shirlee
For Roche, this tornado is a like a recurring nightmare. Nearly two years ago, according to news reports, her parents lost their home to a tornado.
Laacke & Joys and the surrounding paddlesports community has started a disaster relief fund to assist with cleanup and rebuilding efforts. Donations may be sent to:
Attn: Dana Winfield
P.O. Box 170708
Milwaukee, WI 53217
Checks should be made payable to: TCF Bank / Bear Paw Relief Fund
Our prayers go out to both Jamee and Shirley. The SNEWS® team looks forward to the day when you are, as it should be, once again open and welcoming friends, mountain bikers, campers and fellow paddlers back.