Column: Tourists welcome at Pictured Rocks
I was disheartened but not surprised by the deliberately negative tone of the Detroit News story on the impact that the increase in visitors to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has had on my community. That story might have been true three years ago but much has changed since then.
I do accept and respect the opinions of those few residents who are unhappy with the large number of tourists we see every summer, though I will note that most of them are transplants to the U.P. who came up here determined to “save us” from destroying the tremendous natural beauty that makes our peninsula the envy of the rest of the state.
My issue, however, is with the outdated, inaccurate and utterly false information that your reporter used as the basis of the story. When interviewed, I was asked what Munising has done in response to the large increase in visitors to Pictured Rocks and I gave him a detailed and enthusiastic response. Others did too.
That information somehow got missed in the reporter's zeal to paint a stereotypical picture of a backwater U.P. town exploited by greedy vendors and trampled by masses of ungrateful tourists who are resented by locals and hell-bent on destroying our natural resources and our very way of life.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Munising today is a vibrant gateway community to a tremendous national park whose business and government leaders, along with most of its citizens, have embraced our newfound popularity while learning to maximize the economic benefits of this growth. Yet we still respect the land and water that sustains us and we work hard to maintain the rural way of life that makes us unique. We are Yoopers and proud of it.
Come see Munising first hand and you will find a room at the inn, a seat at the table and a chair around the campfire in time for another perfect U.P. sunset.
You will find a thriving economy and a well-run municipality that’s coping quite nicely with the large number of visitors who come up north for the remarkable beauty of our land and who leave with memories of the most friendly and hospitable community they have ever visited.
Mayor Rod DesJardins