Written by Gaylene Rhoden
How much do YOU know about the town of Rib Mountain?
Below I’ve put together 5 quirky facts that may surprise you about our town…
1. According to legend, RIB MOUNTAIN IS THE BURIAL SITE OF PAUL BUNYAN, with Babe the Blue Ox buried at nearby Mosinee Hill.
There’s even a proposed House and Senate resolution to have Rib Mountain named to the National Register of Historical Places in honor of Paul Bunyan!
2. A NEW DOG PARK IS COMING to the town of Rib Mountain!
Rib Mountain is working on a proposed dog park located south of CoVantage Credit Union on Oriole Lane, just off the CTY HWY R trail.
The dog park — expected to open September 2018 — will be free for dog owners. Pups will be able to run, play, and socialize on approximately 4 acres of land, including walking paths, a fenced-in area, and newly planted trees.
The Rib Mountain Community Improvement Foundation will be holding a 5K Fundraising Event on Saturday, September 9, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. at the future dog park site. The event will be a non-competitive 5K walk (with or without a dog). All proceeds will be used toward the development of the dog park.
If you’re interested in learning more or donating to the park, please visit the town of Rib Mountain’s dedicated Dog Park webpage for details or download a 5K registration form here.
3. The town of Rib Mountain was actually once PART OF THE TOWN OF WESTON.
In 1905, the town of “Erickson” (named after Weston Chairman George Erickson) was created from the town of Weston and later named the town of “Fleith.” The name “Rib Mountain” didn’t come till later, in 1930.
4. Approximately 60,000 VEHICLES PASS THROUGH OUR COMMUNITY DAILY VIA U.S. HWY 51 / STATE HWY 29
That’s the Average Daily Traffic (ADT) count northbound between State HWY 29 and the Rib Mountain Drive exit, according to the WI Department of Transportation.
Past Rib Mountain Drive toward County HWY NN, there are 49,400 daily vehicles going northbound.
As the old adage says, “Location, Location, Location…”
Our placement is one of Rib Mountain’s main advantages for economic development, with two highway exits along the corridor serving both north/south and east/west traffic.
5. Rib Mountain is home to ONE OF THE OLDEST SKI RESORTS IN THE NATION.
Opening in 1937, Rib Mountain is considered one of the first ski areas in the United States (Stowe opened in Vermont in 1934, and Sun Valley opened in Idaho in 1936).
The first ski event held at Rib Mountain was in February of 1938. It featured slalom, cross-country, and jumping. There were more than 465 participants and 3,000 spectators.
Today, the ski hill located at Rib Mountain State Park is known as Granite Peak and has thousands of skiers who return to its slopes year after year. It has the highest vertical in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and 75 runs for beginner, intermediate, and expert skiers and boarders.
According to Park Ranger William H. Bursaw, Rib Mountain State Park is a huge draw for our area, with over 410,000 visitors in 2016 reported to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
In addition to the State Park, the town of Rib Mountain is home to several other parks as well, including Nine Mile Recreation Area, Bluegill Bay, Rookery View, Liberty, Doepke, Chellis, and Flax Lane. Together, our parks allow area residents and visitors to ice-fish, cross-country ski, snowshoe, downhill ski, ice-skate, and sled during the winter, and enjoy miles of paved and nonpaved trails for hiking, biking, rollerblading, running, and walking during the warmer months. Other outdoor activities include fishing, hunting, and kayaking.
The town also hosts an annual Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge — a 3- or 8-hour team race in which participants run, bike, and paddle their way to the finish line using only a map and compass.
I invite you to view the video of Rib Mountain’s year-round activities below. It highlights just a few of the ways nature, family, and sport come together in Rib Mountain.
Town Administrator, ICMA-CM | Town of Rib Mountain
Gaylene Rhoden has been the Town Administrator for Rib Mountain since 2002. Gaylene is a credentialed manager through the International City/County Management Association. She serves as the Ethics Chair for the Wisconsin City/County Management Association. She is an active member of the Wausau Noon Rotary and Rasmussen College Evening Toastmasters Club. In her spare time, she volunteers for Junior Achievement and her church. She has been a runner most of her life and enjoys competing in races, especially half marathons. Her husband and two children live in Rib Mountain. Email Gylene Rhoden
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Skiing photo from Granite Peak