Monday, June 28, 2004

An Open Letter to the National Park Service

Dear National Park People:

My wife and I just spent a week in your Apostle Islands National
Lakeshore in Wisconsin, and it was pretty neat. The islands were nice
to look at, and Lake Superior is nut-busting cool.

Thing is, I think the island experience is good, but not great. You
float around and look at islands and, well, after a while they all
look the same. It's sort of inert. And that's too bad, because I
think that it could really be something extraordinary if you'd just
make some investments to spiff up your infrastructure. You need to
stoke up the adrenaline factor, you know what I mean? Make those
islands ROCK.

Have you, for instance, thought of introducing a sort of musical boat
cruise tour? The wife and I took a rather pedestrian sightseeing
cruise through the islands, and the entire time I kept thinking how
much better it would be if the boat had humongous speakers mounted on
the top deck blasting out some kick-ass rock and roll. Run with me on
this... the boat sits next to the dock in Bayfield and all of the
passengers have finished boarding. Suddenly, the boat rises as the
hydrofoil plane is extended (this plan works much better if you use an
all-hydrofoil fleet), everyone hears the opening guitar riff to Guns
'N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle." I don't think you need me to tell
you that when you hear that, you know something awesome is about to go
down.

The way I see it, the next hour is spent zipping around the islands at
moderate speed (say, 20 knots) to some tunes that allow for a nice
mellow roll while people dig the islands... I'm thinking Dark Side of
the Moon because it flows so well, but that's just a suggestion. You
could always spin different discs for different crowds; if they don't
look like a Floyd bunch, maybe some Steely Dan. It's up to you.

The important thing is that you end the cruise right. The skipper
should make sure that, by the end of the middle section, he's got the
boat out towards the outer edge of the islands, pointing back to the
mainland, with a pretty tight channel to travel through if he wants to
get back to Bayfield. Then he gets on the PA and tells everyone to
hang onto their hats, because he's about to pull some crazy shit.
Then he puts on Van Halen's "Dreams" and slowly but steadily opens up
the hydrofoil's throttle until the mofo's doing 50 knots as he weaves
his way in and out of the islands on the way home, kicking up a
roostertail you can see in Michigan. Hot damn! I'm psyched just
thinking about it. You could even fake hitting a sea kayak to give
the passengers some blood and guts action.

I'm confident that if you went with something like this (I think you
should call it the Xtremely Rockin Apostle Adventure, but once again,
that's up to you), you'd see revenues climb like a son of a bitch and
your funding issues would be a thing of the past. I bet you'd
out-draw Yellowstone. Who wants to see bears and geysers when you can
waste a fake kayak at 50 knots?

Hope you find this helpful,

Keith Pille

PS: You might also want to look into installing laser shows into all
of those lighthouses you've got out there. They'd work really nicely
with the music, and it's not like anyone needs a lighthouse these
days.

PPS: The wife also says that you should boat some local high school
kids out to the beaches on the islands and have them reenact pirate
scenes. I think she's on to something.