Bill Brakken is the proprietor of Cable Nature Lodge and Rookery Pub Fine Dining. He’s also a WI licensed real estate broker specializing in recreational properties (RookeryRealty.com).
Bill has deep roots in the Cable area. His great-great-great grandparents were among the area’s earliest settlers. In fact, the family home where his grandfather grew up (still standing at the end of Brakken Street) was the first in Cable to have indoor running water, thanks to its location along the former rail bed and a bargain struck allowing the railroad to erect a water tank on the property to service its steam engines while also piping water to the house.
Bill’s grandparents, teachers in the Chicago area during the school year, returned to Cable every summer, where his grandfather was a renowned local fishing guide. As a child, Bill spent summers and weekends exploring local woods and waters from the family cabin on Jackson Lake. His first real job was running the marina at a Lake Namakagon resort four summers during high school and college.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bill initially worked in the state capitol as a legislative aide and then was hired as founding executive director of the Wisconsin Conservation Corps — which put unemployed young adults to work on conservation and community service projects throughout the state. He later lived in Seattle, Eugene OR, Big Sky MT, St. Paul, and Duluth before returning to Wisconsin to open Cable Nature Lodge in 2005 and Rookery Pub Fine Dining in 2008.
Bill holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin, and a Masters degree in Commercial Recreation and Tourism Management from the University of Oregon. He earned his real estate salesperson license in 2010 and sold property for another local company before upgrading to his broker’s license and starting Rookery Realty in 2014.
*Sadly Callie died in 2013. But there’s a new black lab waiting to greet you at the lodge. We just need a photo of Bill with Arwen (named for the elf princess from Lord of the Rings).