First Lady Tonette Walker

Walker enjoys fall color tour at Timm’s Hill

Seth Carlson, Price County Review
Friday, October 3, 2014

First lady Tonette Walker visited Timm’s Hill County Park on Wednesday, Sept. 24 as part of her Walk With Walker hiking series. The visit marked Walker’s 37th walking event in three years, all of which have taken taking place at scenic locations around the state.

As Mrs. Walker explained to a crowed of nearly 20 participants at the hill last Wednesday, the walks originally started when Governor Scott Walker would invite people for lunchtime fitness walks during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive. Since that time, the first lady has drawn a link between health and tourism with the walks.

Since 2011 the hiking events have been organized between the first lady’s office and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (WDT), with a focus on visiting state, county, and national parks across the state.

“We’ve had a couple of walks where we walked around some downtown, urban areas, so it’s nice to get out like this,” commented Walker during a brief speech before the hike up Wisconsin’s highest point.

Walker said when they first started the walks they were “more of a fitness hike,” and that they quickly realized the people turning out were of all ages - from mothers with children to senior citizens. Since then the walking program has reached out to local tourism departments for guidance on making the walks more inclusive to all ages.

The hike up Timm’s Hill was guided by Price County Forester Eric Holm and organized in large part by Kathy Reinhard, tourism director for the county. Reinhard said the first lady’s visit was two years in the making. She explained the process is extensive just to be selected, and that back and forth communications and pre-walks by other officials were part of the operation.

“I think the walk went fabulous and we’re happy with the turnout,” Reinhard commented. “Being that it was a little more intimate of a walk, there was an opportunity for everyone that was walking to talk to the first lady and other state departments.”

Reinhard said that since the event was announced, there has been a noticeable influx in information requested on Timm’s Hill and additional traffic on the tourism website.

“You know with any PR event like this, you never know for sure what may be the outcome,” Reinhard stated. “It might be something where people are planning for a future or return visit.”

WDT Regional Tourism Specialist Andrew Nussbaum was one of a handful of state tourism personnel on hand. Nussbaum commented on how the department and the first lady are always looking for the right place to visit at the right time of year, as schedule permits.

“We’d love to take her out every weekend, if time permitted, to show her these wonderful attractions” commented Nussbaum. “Here, obviously, this is the perfect time. The colors are beautiful and it’s a perfect time for a fall walk.”

Walker thanked participants who came out for the walk, as well as the county for being a host and the Hill of Beans Restaurant at High Point Village Resort for holding a reception afterwards.

According to the itinerary on walkwithwalkerwi.org the group had its 38th walk the following day at locations near Wausau.

The Timm’s Hill Walk with Walker was the first in Price County. Other nearby walks include Copper Falls State Park in Mellen, Forest Lodge Trail in Cable, Three Eagle Trail in Eagle River, Birkie Trail in Hayward, and Bradley Park in Tomahawk.