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What makes a Bear Rock experience memorable? Is it the sights of the Great North Woods, Bear Rock Lodging and Camping, or the ATV rock adventures, or is it the incredible people behind the scenes at Bear Rock? When it comes to tremendous customer service and providing the best experience for our guests, Bear Rock is thankful for Mike Muhlhauser, wearer of many hats from checking in our guests to retail sales and bookings, here’s his story:

How long have you lived in the area?

I’ve been here for 22 years after moving to the area in 2001. My wife’s from here so this is where we settled.

How long have you worked at Bear Rock?

I’ve been here for three years.

What inspired you to join the outdoor adventure industry?

I was working in the Bear Rock building for 16 years when it was a lumber yard. The lumber yard sold the building to Corrine, Steve, and Tanner and arranged for me to meet them. With that transition of ownership, I was in the market for a new job. It was my goal to stay close to home and I was looking for a different adventure, so I took the job with Bear Rock. The joke is that they didn’t read the fine print that said, “Mike comes with the building.” The rest is history.

What do you love about the Great North Woods?

I love the area’s beauty and watching wildlife from a distance like moose and deer. ATVing is my favorite form of adventure and I like hiking around looking for antlers.

What’s something about the Great North Woods that would surprise people who’ve never been?

When people come into Bear Rock, I generally say take your time. Don’t worry about putting on the miles on your Polaris RZR — stop and look at the views and enjoy watching the wildlife. There’s so much to see out here.

What’s your favorite aspect of working at Bear Rock?

The people I work with are the greatest! Everyone is so helpful with one another and makes work easy. It feels like a family and it’s a great working environment. Tanner also makes it fun. I like to bet against him on Boston sports teams and generally get lots of free lunches out of it. Also, I like to make customers feel good while they’re here. I greet them at the door and ask them if they need help. I thank them for coming into the store whether they buy anything or not. I have a great time making the videos for the store too. They’ve become really popular and we’re getting incredible feedback. Check out the videos on Facebook.

What’s your most rewarding memory of working at Bear Rock?

I love seeing guests come back again and again. They tell us, “I had such a great experience, I can’t wait to come back,” and then they do! I find that so rewarding.

What does Bear Rock do better than anyone else?

The team here at Bear Rock orients guests to the safety and use of the machines better than anyone I’ve ever seen. We make sure every guest is prepared to go out on the trails. I’ve not seen anyone, anywhere, do this better than the Bear Rock team.

Tell us your favorite Bear Rock Camping site and why?

The Secluded Paradise campsite is my favorite. Its privacy, sunsets, and views are like nothing else.

What’s one item that you really want to own from the Outdoor Adventure Store?

A Bear Rock sweatshirt. They are made from a reverse weave and are of such high quality that I want to buy one in every color. I also appreciate my Klim Torque jacket — it’s the best jacket I’ve ever owned.

What advice would you give to someone visiting the area for the first time?

Plan for the weather, dress in layers including gloves, a jacket, and base layers — basically everything you need to stay warm. In the summertime remember fluids and dress for the occasion, sometimes it gets cooler in the evenings and can be wet or rainy. When you dress properly, you’ll have the best time.

What’s your favorite type of guest?

Anyone who comes in here with Boston team apparel, better get ready because I’m sure to give them a hard time. If they are a customer shopping in our store sometimes I’ll tease them and tell them they need to stand outside and I’ll bring the item to them. Or if they are here for an RZR adventure, I’ll say, “You have to get out of the vehicle and walk behind the group since you’re wearing that shirt.” The mockery always gets some good laughs and I’ve even gone so far as to tell people I’ll put my Seahawks flag on the back of the vehicle. You’ve been warned Boston fans. 

What’s one great tip for adventuring responsibly?

Sit back and watch wildlife, giving them plenty of space. Let them know that you’re there, but don’t approach them or harass them. They will move off the trail so you can pass safely for both them and you.

What’s your favorite: Snowmobile season or ATV/OHRV season and why?

ATV is my favorite season. It’s so family-oriented and great for mom, dad, and the kids. By far it’s the best!