Business owners in Tomahawk are trying to adapt to climate change as another warm winter without snow has hurt the local tourism economy.
It's been snowing in Tomahawk the past few days, and the snowmobile trails are finally open. That's good news for Tim Calhoun, one of the managers of the Tomahawk Sports Center. "The weather has been lousy. We finally got snow now. It's great now but we missed two months."
For Calhoun, it's too little, too late. Another season of no snow and warm weather has put a big hit on snowmobile sales, and left him with a stockpile of unsold machines. "It's affected [us] greatly. We're sitting here with fifty crates from this year that ain't gonna sell. It's too late now. It's too late to sell 'em. (Fifty crates, each one with a snowmobile in it?) Yeah."
It's not just snowmobile sales. The warm weather also delayed the ice fishing season this year, and the loss of tourists has impacted local restaurants. It's bad enough that Chamber of Commerce executive director Tamra Anderson held a strategy session for business owners last week. "With the trend, the weather it's been the last couple of years, we just wanted to bring all of our businesses together and kind of talk to them and have them brainstorm things that we could do that wouldn't be weather dependent. This isn't the first year that this has come up, so you know, it's the trend."
One idea is to open up more all-terrain vehicle, or ATV trails. It's a strategy that makes sense to Tim Calhoun, whose Tomahawk Sports Center needs to adapt. "We have to try and evolve with it because I think it's a trend. We want to try and evolve with it, and most likely with the ATV's."
Tomahawk business owners are hoping that the new snow stays on the ground long enough to salvage a few weeks of the winter season.