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Forward: Green Travel Guide to Northern Wisconsin: Environmentally and Socially Responsible Travel

By: John Imes, WEI Executive Director

Among Wisconsin’s most popular and authentic attractions are its natural resources, including our northern forests and preserved open space, over 15,000 freshwater lakes, streams and rivers, prime agricultural lands, woodlands, wetlands and pastures – not to mention outstanding cultural diversity, hip urban environs and regional specialties.

Innovative efforts to preserve these experiences for generations to come are found throughout the comprehensive Green Travel Guide to Northern Wisconsin, a companion to authors Pat Dillon and Lynne Diebel's first book on environmentally and socially responsible travel in southern Wisconsin.

The authors take us on an incredible eco-journey where readers discover the diversity, depth and richness of green tourism in Wisconsin.
Protected landscapes, scenic river-ways, and recreational trails are described in-depth. Among my favorites are sailing or sea-kayaking around the Apostle Islands; mountain biking on Madeline Island, hiking in Door County’s Peninsula State Park, and whitewater rafting on the Peshtigo River near Crivitz.

Pat and Lynne seek out the hidden gems in Wisconsin, including the locally owned hotels, lodges, cottages, restaurants and businesses, exceptional farmer’s markets, locally crafted beers and wines, grass-fed beef, heirloom fruits and vegetables, organic dairy and artisan cheeses. They provide memorable foraging and sustainable dining options demonstrate the potential of regional, food, farm and restaurant collaboration. Local art, festivals and events showcase a community’s sense of place and people’s pride in their cultural heritage. Finally, green technologies, including solar, wind and bio-fuel sources demonstrate the potential of clean renewable energy in this state.

Green Travel Guide to Northern Wisconsin provides the very best examples of today’s “ecopreneurs” who are implementing innovative best practices, technologies and mindsets to benefit their community in many ways.

At Wisconsin Environmental Initiative (WEI), we work with forward-thinking businesses, citizens and communities to advance the concept of “doing well by doing good.” Lynn and Pat have documented businesses that integrate environmental priorities into day-today decision making, many of which are noted as Travel Green Wisconsin certified.

We have a long and proud heritage of environmental stewardship in this state, started by the Native Americans and continued by luminaries such as Aldo Leopold, John Muir and Gaylord Nelson. It’s now time to ask what the next generation of environmental leadership will look like. It could be the businesses, citizens, and communities you read about here. Those who recognize that improved environmental performance can result in a stronger tourism economy, a clean, healthy environment; and a great quality of life.