Calling all outdoor adventurers: come to the Midwest

Jul 27, 2016

Hunting and fishing have been on a slow decline in Michigan for years. They’re being replaced by other outdoor activities, like paddle-boarding and mountain biking.

Some states, like Colorado and Utah, are actively marketing outdoor adventure to younger people, hoping to lure them to visit – or even possibly stay.

But in Michigan, it’s a mixed bag. A few cities, like Marquette, are trying to aggressively boost their reputation as a destination for outdoor adventure.

Journalist Ted Roelofs wrote about this phenomenon recently in Bridge Magazine. He points to Duluth, Minn. as a good example of a Midwestern city dealing with the loss of industry by reinventing itself as a destination for mountain biking.

“They always had the resources … terrific terrain for bike trails and hiking trails,” says Roelofs. “They’ve got some pretty good trout streams and some pretty good whitewater rapids for kayaking.”

Roelofs says Duluth voters raised taxes on property, hotels and restaurants to develop trails and recreation.

“They decided, in a serious way, to develop the assets they had,” he says.

Roelofs says a few Michigan cities are attempting something like what Duluth has done, but what Michigan is lacking is a statewide effort.