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New visitor fee for Apostle Islands ice caves brings in $140K over nine days this year

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BAYFIELD, Wisconsin — The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore plans to use thousands of dollars generated through a new fee for visiting the ice caves this winter to cover the cost of additional staff and equipment.

Officials are calling the fee sustainable after it brought $140,000 in revenue, a portion of which was shared with the National Park Service. But the Apostle Islands were left with $134,700 and will use the money to hire temporary employees to prepare for next season and for other visitor services.

The park instituted a $5 fee for visitors age 16 and over as a cost-recovery measure after 138,000 people visited the ice caves within a two-month period last year.

WDIO-TV (http://bit.ly/1IB3Cgy ) reports the caves attracted 37,800 visitors this year even though they were only accessible for nine days.

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