Sauk Prairie area seeing tourism increase

SAUK CITY, Wis. (WMTV) --- With the opening of the Great Sauk State Trail and a new riverfront restaurant, the Sauk Prairie area is preparing for a busy summer tourism season.

"Every day there are more and more visitors coming, groups of people, cars coming in with bikes hitched to the back wanting to know where's the best place to ride," Executive Director of the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce Tywana German said.

She said since the first phase of the trail was completed in October, the biking community has taken notice and visited the area.

She said the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce works with the UW- Extension "First Impression" program. She said their advice was to take advantage of the river as much as possible.

"We took that to heart and developed a five year plan that's over a million and a half dollars in investments and it's paid off already," German said.

One of those investments was landing a major brewery and restaurant destination. The Vintage Brewing Company opened up a location in downtown Sauk Prairie in January. This summer will be their first patio season.

"Part of the reason we're here is to be a destination spot and to hopefully bring tourism to all of the business around us as well" regional manager Rory Nienajadlo said.

He said they've already seen traffic from the bike trail and is hoping their popularity rubs off on the rest of the community.

"We've kind of seen a resurgence of the downtown along the river front," German said.

Construction on the second phase of the Great Sauk State Trail will begin this summer. It will connect Devil's Lake State Park to Sauk City.