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Experience Breathtaking Views from the Top of Mt. Telemark

The Kawabaming Observation Tower in Mt. Telemark Village opened to the public in July 2023 and was made possible by the generosity of the Quinn family. A dedicated hiking path meanders from the base of the mountain to the observation tower. Hiking to the top at a leisurely pace takes around 20 minutes, depending on capabilities.

The lookout tower shall be named to honor the Ojibwe tribe who called Telemark Mountain, “KAWABAMING”, meaning “a place to look out from”. The Ojibwe tribe is native to this land and therefore shall be recognized as an important part of the history.

Accessing the Observation Tower


Parking for the trail that leads to the Observation Tower can be found adjacent to the old Telemark Lodge property – see this pin on Google maps for reference:

Trail Access

Currently, the Tony Wise Tower Trail is marked with temporary signage that is blue in color and reads “Observation Tower.”

The Tony Wise Tower Trail

Two Men and a Birch Tree: The story of how Tony Wise purchased the Mt. Telemark Village Property

Tony Wise had a vision for the property of what we call today, Mt. Telemark Village. One day Tony met at the base of Mt. Telemark with the previous owner of the land, a farmer, Walter Kliszcz. Tony and Walter took the long journey to the top of the Mountain. After serving in the US Army as a Tank Commander in the mountains of Italy during WWII Tony felt a calling to bring the sport of Nordic and Alpine Skiing to the Midwest. At the time, very few Americans had been exposed to the Nordic sport. Tony was on a search for the perfect location. They looked out over the top of the mountain, and they could see a long way. There before them lay a beautiful natural landscape with rolling hills and beautiful trees. A true opportunist and visionary, Tony felt that the beautiful terrain of Northern Wisconsin, along with the climate would prove the right spot for the sport to be introduced.

Eager to make his vision a reality Tony asked how much it would cost to purchase the property from Walt. Walt quickly replied, “write how much you think it is worth on the side of this birch tree and I will write what I am willing to sell it for on the other side of the tree.” The story goes, the two men put the figures onto the tree and met somewhere in the middle. The property was purchased by Tony for $750, which was about a dollar an acre.

To honor the history and beginnings of Mount Telemark Village, the long trail to the top of the mountain where you can find the lookout tower is named, “The Tony Wise Tower Trail”.

Make a Contribution

Ways to Give

  • Make a donation online.
  • Mail a check using these Offline Payment Instructions.
  • Use a donor advised fund. Make your contribution payable to:
    The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation/Telemark
    Our EIN is: 39-1503175
    Our mailing address is:
    ABSF/Telemark, PO Box 911, Hayward,
    Wisconsin 54843.

Do you want to transfer stock, contribute an IRA distribution, learn about naming rights for a larger donation, or ask questions? Contact Louise Droessler or Ben Popp via the phone numbers or email addresses listed below.

Your support is truly appreciated. Please contact us with questions or comments.

Louise Droessler
Development Director

Ben Popp
Executive Director