North-Central Section - 39th Annual Meeting (May 19–20, 2005)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 1:20 PM-5:20 PM


CORDUA, William S., Department of Plant and Earth Science, Univ of Wisconsin-River Falls, 410 S. 3rd St, River Falls, Wisconsin, WI 54022,

Tourism is increasingly providing non-traditional opportunities for significant public education. At the request of Pierce County Partners in Tourism (PCPT) the author developed a script for a geological tour of Pierce County, Wisconsin, This script was the basis for a CD released in August, 2003 by PCPT. PCPT felt they would benefit both by sales of the tour media and by increased tourism for county businesses. The author, who has lead or co-lead numerous geological field trips in the county, selected stops he felt to be of interest to the general public and arrayed them to form a loop tour. He then wrote a script and road log pro bono as a service to the county. Dr. Charles Rader of the Geography Department at U.W.R.F. produced a geological map of the county for inclusion on the flyer. Corporate sponsorship and assistance of a local media firm aided in script revisions and eventually resulted in a professional-level production. A thousand copies were made, and about 300 have been sold at this time. PCPT is encouraged by the response and looking forward to additional sales as their marketing plan develops. Pierce County is in west-central Wisconsin, an area dominated by little-deformed Cambro-Ordovician sedimentary rocks and thin Quaternary glacial and fluvial deposits. It is largely rural, but at the developing fringe of the Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area. The landscape is quite scenic, particularly along the Mississippi River and its coulee-style tributaries. Themes in the tour include bed rock formations, geological history and time, land forms, land use, and water and other resources. Stops are restricted to areas of public access such as road cuts and parks (state, county and city). The presence in the county of a commercial cave, diamonds and gold in glacial drift, and a probable Ordovician asteroid impact structure enhances the interest that the tour has to the public. The author believes that such a county-level geology tour product is unique. The county's geology is not particularly diverse, indicating that similar projects can succeed in areas where the geological exposures are not spectacular.