Great Lakes Outdoor Summit expanding outdoor opportunities
According to a report from the Outdoor Industry Association, Minnesota ranks 22nd in the nation for outdoor recreation. That means roughly 54 percent of Minnesotans regularly spend time outside. Although the Great Lakes Outdoor Summit is looking for more opportunities to get people enjoying outdoor activities.
Hansi Johnson, the Director of Conservation Efforts with Minnesota Land Trust, said the Great Lakes Outdoor Summit brings more people to outdoor-based tourism destinations. Also it helps public and private organizations co-operate with having fun in nature.
“Duluth has so much access to different natural spaces within the city limits,” Johnson said. “But how do we kind of open that up to more folks and actually be more welcoming to all types of people who want to come out and utilize the trails?”
Johnson said the Great Lakes Outdoor Summit was funded through a Duluth tourism grant. Tourism and outdoor recreation go hand in hand with many cities throughout Minnesota including Duluth.
“A lot of the organizations that are here are probably like for like stewards of different types of outdoor activities,” Johnson said. “Everything from mountain biking to cross-country skiing and climbing and hiking and just being outside in nature. But then you also have all the support of organizations as well, like different businesses that support those efforts.”
Randolph Briley, with the Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Industry Partnership, said when it comes to fun in the outdoors there’s several components.
“There’s three segments in the outdoor industry, the public, the private and the nonprofit. And so our goal is to connect those segments as much as possible, to collaborate amongst each other,” Briley said. “An event like this is the perfect place to connect and discuss and talk and build new ideas and just go forward together with shared goals and to achieve those goals to build community and opportunity.”
One of the speakers at the Great Lakes Outdoor Summit was Emily Ford, who finished a solo 180-mile ski route across the BWCA.
“You don’t have to go camping. You just go for a nice hike. Jump on the trails,” Ford said. “Yes, the outdoors can be scary. Sometimes they recognize that. Sometimes they don’t feel welcome in the outdoors. I also understand that some people start really small start where you aren’t comfortable and build on top of that.”
Here are some of the fun outdoor activities the Duluth Area Outdoor Alliance are hosting this weekend. They include bike rides, full moon hiking, and climbing. Also you can look more stories about the outdoors here.