Iron Range finds tourism boost from Giants Ridge

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It’s easy to see when you drive in to Giants Ridge that they are making themselves a destination. Billboards along northbound I-35 also remind people about tourism on the Mesabi Range.

The Iron Range Tourism Bureau says visitors spend around $66 million in the area. Executive Director Beth Pierce said it is a year-round business.

“Giants Ridge is really a gem for our whole area,” she said. “In addition to the two fabulous golf courses and all the skiing, the Mesabi Trail is there, there’s mountain biking, there’s a climbing wall. There’s just so much to do.”

Events also help drive tourism. Pierce hopes people who come in one season, like the winter for ski championships, consider coming back another time.

She reports 35 percent of overnight visits happen in the summer and 28 percent in the winter. And Pierce said fall tourism is growing too.

“People get to see working mines, active mining, and then kind of hopefully learn a little bit about how this area has reclaimed those mine lands and turned them into recreation because nobody does reclamation better than we do, I think,” Pierce said. “It’s just so much a part of our lives, and I hope that when people visit here, they really get to feel kind of the past, the present, and the future of this area.”

They’re expecting a big summer with events like Hibbing’s Jubilee and the Olcott Park Brewfest.