Saturday, December 19, 2009

Does Michigan Have a Split Personality?

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commentary based on several sources

Michigan simply can't seem to get its head together when it comes to tourism. The "Pure Michigan" campaign, to woo visitors to the state has won national Mercury Awards from the Travel Industry Association of America for both its radio and television advertisements. This campaign has been funded at unprecedented levels by the state, to allow for national advertising, beginning with $45 million dollars in 2008

Just this week, The state House of Representatives passed a bill to continue to campaign, to the tune of $30 million. I guess the budget went down because times are tough. The bill now goes to the Senate.

So, the state wants desperately to pull people into the northland where they will spend money, creating jobs. Tourism has been credited with supporting 193,000 jobs in the state.

But I guess the state only wants tourists who like to stay and play in the places where they will spend the most money. For lack of $100,000 dollars, just 0.03% of the cost of the advertising, all but 8 DNR run state ski trails will remain un-groomed this year. Last year the state groomed 23 trails. "The trails are a non-revenue producer," explained Jim Radabaugh, the trails coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

This is simply the winter component of the same problem that closed 10 state forest campgrounds last summer. The DNR's money comes from the General Fund, and the General Fund is not doing very well.

Meanwhile, the state is going to plow the parking areas at all 23 ski trails. What? Very few people like to ski on un-groomed trails. Those of us who snowshoe might find this an appealing choice, but skiing is generally more popular. Might it have made more sense to both plow and groom maybe 12 trails?

At any rate, once again, no one seems to have applied any common sense to this issue. If only 1% of that $30 million dollars ($300,000) could have been transferred to the DNR specifically for campgrounds and trails, then there would be a guarantee of great places for the tourists who wish to get off the beaten path to visit and recreate.

See Michigan DNR for a list of the areas that will be groomed.
See Grand Rapids Press
See PR News Wire
See Pure Michigan Wins Awards
See Pure Michigan
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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1 comment:

Tina said...

One thing I've learned along the way is that common sense isn't so common. Interesting post. Maybe we'll get it together here in Michigan some day!

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