Resort Areas in Wisconsin - Geographical Review

Posted by GIS talk On Monday, February 28, 2011
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Note: A research on the popular resort areas in Wisconsin and the three independent sets of data that verify the importance of each resort.

John Fraser Hart, he seems to me, is one of the movers of the Geography profession having published refereed articles, book reviews, and other publications, and more than a dozen books, including the award-winning, The Land That Feeds Us (1992) and his most recent The Changing Scale of American Agriculture (2003 ). Reading Resort Areas in Wisconsin simply proves his love for Geography by studying various relationships of independent geographic data to come up with conclusive judgments about how each of the dataset could verify the importance of well-known resort areas in Wisconsin. This article looks into these three: seasonally vacant housing units, numbers of persons per housing unit, and sales taxes paid by hotels, motels, and resorts – traits common to resorts, which if studied further, could differentiate one resort from the other. Readers of this article should have at an idea (though not necessary) of the locations of the resorts mentioned in the texts for a clearer picture of the descriptive approach the author used to characterize each.

Hart brings clarity to the substantial increase of summer cottages in the more remote rural areas of the northern part while there is a declining rage on the metropolitan outskirts, as he contrasts. This is true as summer cottages have been converted to retirement homes or even residences for commuters.

Hart makes a strong case for the contention that the major clusters of resort counties in Wisconsin vary differently, and in two ways: they differ from non-resort and from one another. This is really true as each resort has its own character and thus attracts different personalities. One appeals to those who prefer nature, and another one that caters to people who go for speed and excitement, and another one to the entire families. Others may even have the mixture of all personalities.

The strong point in this article may come from the final selection of the three major resort areas out of the many that thrive in the county. This, I think, is crucial to giving clarity to the state and development of what he called at the beginning of his article as “second homes”. Investigating each resort via historical facts and figures unfolds interesting gospel of the summer cottages – even to a point of analyzing in-migration and retention of people.

In finality, his conclusion is simple, as he says, that resort areas are not all alike. Each resort area must identify, establish, polish and publicize a particular image in order to attract visitors and to avoid attracting people who will be disappointed. Further, the article is able to cover the demographic and social aspects of Wisconsin and relate it to the growth of the counties due to the presence of the resorts.


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