First Lady Tonette Walker

Wisconsin's First Lady takes a stroll along the Birkie Trail

By Terrell Boettcher of the Sawyer County Record
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker led about 50 people on a two-mile “Walk with Walker” on the American Birkebeiner Trail on a warm and sunny Wednesday, June 12.

For the past three years, Walker has been leading similar walks on various trails across the state to raise awareness of the state’s beauty and the health benefits of walking. The June 12 walk was the 25th such event.

The walk was preceded by snacks at the Birkie cabin on Highway 00. The group of walkers included Wisconsin Tourism Director Stephanie Klett, about a dozen of the “Birkie Girls” exercise group, former Birkie executive director Ned Zuelsdorff and Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau (HLVCB) Executive Director Sherry Beckman.

Also on hand to greet Walker were current Birkie Executive director Ben Popp, HLVCB President Jim Onarheim and Cable Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director James Bolen.

Onarheim said the Birkebeiner and Birkie Trail are “one example of how tourism is working very positively here in Wisconsin,” drawing thousands of skiers in the winter and other trail users year-around.

Onarheim added that Klett “is doing a wonderful job. You couldn’t ask for a more energetic, enthusiastic, fun person to be around.”

Klett said, “This is a magical area of the state, a great area for tourism. It’s critical for the economy up here, and the way you treat visitors is something I’m extremely proud of — especially for events like the American Birkebeiner with people coming in from all over the world.”

Darrell Thompson told Walker, “It’s good to see you in my big town of Seeley.”

Asked after the walk how it went, Walker said, “Wonderful. A lot of rolling hills, but very, very nice.”