tourism

Bronte Cook / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, the U.S. Forest Service tried to ban alcohol on three popular northern Michigan rivers, but they backed off after public outcry. Now they say they will ramp up enforcement and education to curb drunken behavior.

Plus, how the Nordhouse Dunes in the Huron-Manistee National Forests is dealing with summer tourism.

Wikimedia Commons

 

Northern Michigan University is holding workshops for Upper Peninsula communities on how to practice sustainable tourism.

Outdoor destination travel is growing in northern Michigan, with Marquette County bringing in about $75 million each year.

But NMU Assistant Professor Scott Jordan says some rural communities feel exploited.

"One way to address that is to involve community members in making decisions about the tourism economy. That gives them a sense of power," he says.

With the weather warming up and the sun chasing away memories of the long stretch of cold, icy weather that lasted well into April, many Michigan communities are ramping up for tourist season.

That season is the economic lifeblood of many areas in Michigan, like Ludington, for instance.

Michigan earned a lot more in taxes from Airbnb rentals this summer than was initially projected. 

"In just three months, it’s meant nearly $1 million to the state Department of Revenue," says Ben Breit, the Midwest press secretary for Airbnb, "which obviously benefits the entire state and hopefully all the municipalities."

Max Johnston

Many people consider carp to be a ‘trash fish,’ but fly fishing for carp is very popular in northern Michigan. This year though, guides have cancelled trips and lost thousands of dollars because they can’t find the fish.

 

Some blame another growing sport: bowfishing.

 

 

When carp spawn in Grand Traverse Bay, their backs actually protrude from the water like a shark because there are so many packed in shallow waters.

 

Acme Township to reconsider ban on short-term rentals

Jan 16, 2017
VRBO

For decades, short-term vacation rentals in Acme Township have operated largely under the radar, but with a recent surge in the number of complaints, the issue has become more contentious.

Airbnb.com

All over the world, vacation rental websites like Airbnnb, VRBO and homeaway.com are changing the way people travel. The websites promise you’ll get a more “authentic” travel experience when you stay in someone’s home instead of a hotel.

City of Traverse City

Traverse City planners say the city's laws on short-term vacation rentals are outdated.

The current rules outlaw renting your home for less than 30 days, unless you're an approved "tourist home." A tourist home is like a traditional bed and breakfast. The law says you can rent a room in your house for up to a week, but you must be present in the home and you must get a license first.

But City Planner Missy Luick says the popularity of websites like Airbnb has led many people to rent rooms illegally.

 

For many visitors, Traverse City is the heart of Up North.

The natural beauty is complemented by the town’s vibrant culture of fine foods, craft beer and endless festivals.

But for locals, all that popularity comes at a cost.

The Next Idea

Would you be willing to take a vacation that's centered around helping others?

Perhaps through a church or school group. Maybe it's teaching English. Maybe it's building a school in a struggling country like, say, Haiti. 

It's called "voluntourism."

The intentions are good, but the results might not be as helpful as the voluntourists are hoping for.

Aaron Selbig

An extortion case against a Traverse City resort owner may not go to trial. Yesterday, Judge Thomas Phillips said he’s not convinced that accusations against the owner of Park Shore Resort amount to extortion.

Prosecutors say Bryan Punturo threatened a competing parasailing business,  saying he would put them out of business if he wasn’t paid $19,000 a year. They say Punturo made statements that he would “crush” or “bury” the victim’s business.

State’s attorney Matthew Payok said Punturo’s threatening statements were caught on email and voicemail.

Calling all outdoor adventurers: come to the Midwest

Jul 27, 2016
Travel Marquette

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.

A proposal to reduce salmon stocking in Lake Michigan has upset some sport fishermen. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is polling members of an advisory committee to see how strong opposition is to the plan.


How many times have you said this while you’ve been on vacation?

“I wish we could just live here all the time.”

As it turns out, among the thousands who have visited Traverse City over the last couple decades, many of them have said that. And followed through and made that wish come true. It’s becoming more than the National Cherry Festival and a fun place to spend a long weekend in the summer.

U.S. Forest Service

The Pine River is one of the fastest flowing rivers in Lower Michigan and one of the most popular. Heavy traffic in the summer has created a problem the U.S. Forest Service wants to fix.

The project would mean the end of a sandy bank, about 160 feet high, that attracts crowds of paddlers. It’s an issue that pits peoples’ enjoyment of the river against the river’s health and even public safety.
 

The bank is just above Low Bridge, about 20 miles east of Manistee. It’s almost almost pure sand from top to bottom.

Taylor Ogilvie would really like to make some more snow. He’s the general manager at the Mt. Brighton ski area. So far, conditions haven't been quite right very often.

Standing at the bottom of one of the hills, Ogilvie gestures to the mostly green slopes. "We’re looking at a bunch of water," he says. "Kind of icy, snowy stuff that we put out of our snow guns last night.”

He says they’ve had a few good days, but for the most part, it’s been too warm and too humid for snow-making to work well. So they’ve just been waiting.


Your dollar is worth more.

At least, it is in Canada.

Just four years ago the exchange rate meant it took more than one U.S. dollar to get a Canadian one, but now you can get a Canadian dollar for only 77 cents American.

Northern Michigan’s tourism industry is huge. Likely this summer alone you or someone you know has headed up that way at least once.

At first blush, that sounds as though all that tourism is nothing but great for the economy. It creates a lot of jobs at businesses like restaurants and hotels.

Peter Payette

For many families in Michigan, high summer means a trip to the Upper Peninsula. But the number of people who cross the Mackinac Bridge has been declining steadily for almost twenty years.

It looks like that trend could turn around this year. But it also appears that many longstanding ties between visitors and the U.P. have been lost along the way.

Taleen and Marshall Jackson live in Mt. Pleasant but their hearts are in the U.P.

“We try to get up here as much as we possibly can,” says Taleen at the end of a June weekend in St. Ignace.

William L. Clements Library

Fort Michilimackinac opens today in Mackinac City. The original fort was built 300 years ago by the French during their war with the Meskwaki Indians.

Only a few pieces of the original Michilimackinac remain, but a reconstructed fort is open to visitors. Brian Dunnigan is a historian at the William L. Clements Library in Ann Arbor and says there is a fair amount of documentation detailing what the fort looked like in the latter part of the 18th century.

Cuban journalist lectures in Traverse City

Feb 19, 2015
International Affairs Forum

Cuban journalist, blogger and professor Elaine Díaz says Cuba is poised for big change as our two countries begin talks about ending a 50-year embargo and normalizing relations. But she also says the country is hardly frozen in time.

“It could feel really, really old,” she says of the old American cars in the street and the old buildings. “But actually it’s a really modern culture.”


Jacob Wheeler

Sugar Loaf resort is scheduled for a sheriff’s auction Friday. The ski resort in Leelanau County is once again owned by Remo Polselli, who was the owner back in 2004.

Jacob Wheeler publishes the Glen Arbor Sun and says nobody expects the auction to take place. Polselli's intentions are unknown.

Wheeler says a few months ago someone paid off the back taxes on the property, suggesting the resort might sell on the real estate market.

Mason County Barn Quilt Trail

Mason County dedicates northern Michigan's latest heritage tourism trail today. It's the latest in a series of so-called "barn quilt trails" that have popped up around the region. As you can see from the images in our slideshow (above), the quilts center on a variety of themes important to the family who builds them, anything from national pride and cultural heritage, to something reminiscent of the region. 

Aaron Selbig

At the very northern tip of the Lower Peninsula is Michigan’s only “dark sky park,” a place almost free of light pollution – reserved just for the enjoyment of the stargazing public.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/History-Prize/146759932084035

Ludington and Traverse City are on a short list for a new 19-day festival being planned for 2016.

History Prize would be modeled after ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. Organizers of the new event hope to offer cash prizes in the tens-of-thousands of dollars for the best exhibitors.

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