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Langlade County News

Plans Unveiled For 'Michelle's Lodge'

June 1, 2016

A fund drive is kicking off today for a project designed to increase year-round recreational opportunities in northern Langlade County while honoring one of the area’s true athletes and health advocate.

Michelle’s Lodge at the Moccasin Trail is named in honor of Michelle Koss, who was killed in a traffic mishap while bicycling near her Bryant-area home in March. It is being constructed at the Moccasin recreational area west of Elcho. The land is located in the Langlade County Forest with the trail system maintained by the Elcho Cross-Country Ski Club for four-season use by skiers, hikers, snowshoers, horseback riders and others.

We’re impressed and humbled by the ski club’s interest in naming this facility after Michelle, Tom Koss, Michelle’s husband, said. At Elcho, this will be a wonderful addition.

Michelle graduated from Elcho High School in 1980 and went on to become a nurse and health educator.

A passionate competitor, she was involved in the Birkebeiner cross-country ski race, The Wolfman Triathlon along the Wolf River at Langlade, created the Splash-N-Dash aquathon at Veterans Memorial Park and the women’s Monday night summer bike rides among a myriad of other activities.

Michelle was a true pioneer who inspired our community to be more active and enjoy the natural beauty of northern Wisconsin, Maggie Turnbull, who has established a GoFundMe page in connection with the fund drive, said. Her winter-time passion was cross country skiing, and with her encouragement and support many of us now consider winter to be the most wonderful season of the year.

Plans call for construction of a year-round facility similar to the new Spychalla chalet at the Jack Lake ski trail dedicated early this year, a ceremony Koss attended.

The structure will be largely constructed by students from Elcho High School’s technology education class, with hopes that the lodge will help create an outdoor classroom for use by the school students, especially since it is only a short drive from the school.

Along with the educational component for students, Dr. Charles Wetzel, president of the ski club, said the new facility will promote physical fitness and outdoor opportunities for all ages and abilities.

Moccasin is well-known for the quality of its trails, he said, with unmatched terrain in a beautiful natural setting, and encouraging all-season use through improved facilities will just enhance those choices.

The project has already won the endorsement and the support of officials from the Elcho school district, Langlade County, the town of Elcho, city of Antigo and the Langlade County Economic Development Corporation.

An opportunity such as this would certainly benefit the students of our school district, District Administrator Bill Fisher said. The possibilities are endless.

Angie Close, executive director of the Langlade County Economic Development Corporation, said the lodge and trail improvements will create another marketable asset for Langlade County.

Any enhancements to our trail and park systems strengthen the perception to our visitors, people who live here, and people who we are trying to attract here that Langlade County clubs and organizations like the Elcho ski club support and encourage life-long, healthy habits. Close said. ‘Tourism generates a positive impression of Langlade County’s image, which is critical for economic development.

Project cost is figured at $41,450 for materials, including extension of electrical lines into the site. Other enhancements, including landscaping, furnishings, and trail maintenance equipment may be added as dollars allow.

Organizers have set up a Facebook page at Michelle's Lodge at the Moccasin Trail. The GoFundMe site is reachable through that page or by going to www.gofundme.com/MichellesLodge.

Donations may also be mailed to Michelle’s Lodge, c/o Elcho X-C Ski Club, Inc., P.O. Box 291, Elcho, WI 54428.

The Moccasin Ski Trail system offers everyone in our community a beautiful setting for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking, camping and horseback riding, Turnbull said. The shelter will be free for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy a warm fire, play games and fuel up for an outdoor adventure.



From left, Tom Koss, his son Brady, and Dr. Charles Wetzel of the
Elcho Cross-Country Ski Cub with the artist drawings of the planned
Michelle’s Lodge at the Moccasin Trail.
The fund-raising campaign kicks off today.


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