There are 12 seats left for a tour of frac-sand mining operations in Wisconsin.

The all-day tour will take place Tuesday, Aug. 6.

The trip, sponsored by the Allamakee County Protectors (ACP) will get participants "up close and personal in order to view extensive and closely packed mining operations and processing/transport facilities," according to Ric Zarwell of the ACP.

The trip will be guided by local farmer Ken Schmitt.

"A lot has happened to those landscapes in recent months. The individual who will be guiding us is a farmer who lives in this area; who knows the history of how mining companies got started in western Wisconsin; who has detailed knowledge of how each mining company is currently operating; and who knows what steps could have and/or should have been taken by local communities and individuals in advance of mining; etc. We could not have a more informed or even-minded escort through the maze of frac sand mining. He has led dozens of tours to the same area for investigative reporters and various organizations located from coast to coast. We will also experience massive new developments, relevant to our area, that were not in place until recently," said Zarwell.

Zarwell encourages participants to bring digital cameras, video cameras, smart phones, etc. to capture images.

"Enjoy a really good (and inexpensive) opportunity to grasp exactly what we DO NOT want to see in Northeast Iowa or anywhere else in our precious part of the ecologically, scenically, agriculturally and historically rich Driftless Area," he said.



The cost

Zarwell said the minimum cost for the tour will be $17, but could go up to $25 if the bus is not filled. Funds will be collected at the time of boarding.



Tour specifics

There will be two opportunities to board the bus: the first in the Lansing parking lot at the baseball diamond at 7 a.m. sharp; the second at the New Albin bandstand on Main St., at 7:15 a.m. sharp.

The bus will arrive back in New Albin at or before 6:45 p.m., and Lansing at or before 7 p.m.

The bus will stop for lunch where a McDonald's, a Hardees's and a Subway are side-by-side.



Reservations

Reservations will be on a "first-come, first served" basis.

To make a reservation, one must speak directly with Ric or Betty Zarwell. To register, call one of the Zarwell's phones: 563-419-4991(Ric's cell), 563-419-1939 (Betty's cell) or 563-538-4991 (Zarwell home).