Talking to Dirk Wierenga and Paul Sturgul About Their New Documentary “Route 2 Elsewhere”

The Beechwood Murders (6)

In the latest episode of the Rural Insights Podcast, David Haynes sits down with Dirk Wierenga, director of Route 2 Elsewhere, a documentary which “tells the story of challenges that face rural America communities adapting to a changing economy, from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Montana” and his colleague Paul Sturgul who helped promote the film.

In this episode, David talks with Dirk and Paul about the documentary, their backgrounds, and aspects of rural culture and rural living as it pertains to the Upper Peninsula.

You can watch the video discussion here, or listen to the audio podcast here.

Remember that you can subscribe to the Rural Insights Podcast on any of the major podcast services!

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  1. Bob Miller on March 16, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    Very moving and informative interview. I have ordered the dvd.
    Sadly this is a trend that was well underway when my sister and I left Ironwood in 1970 because we knew their was no future for young college grads to make a living.
    You are right about the sense of identity that persists in small towns: after 50 years I still self-identify as a Yooper, much as locals still say they are Finnlanders even though their grandparents were born in the US.
    Interesting study if a little bleak in outlook. Thanks for sharing

  2. Robert Thompson on March 16, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    Bemidji hits it out of the park. Wonder why…? It’s in Minnesota, which still has a functioning government with generally competent politicians who care about the whole state, though one party continues to try to ruin that. Bemidji generally votes Democratic in presidential elections. You can’t have a crazy thinking fringe and have a successful state or cities.

    Now for the UP. The UP is like African countries with their boundaries set in the distant past as political compromises. The western half was to belong to WI when the WI territory became a state. The eastern half was to go to MI but the two halves were put together as a payoff to get the MI territory to capitulate to the politically powerful state of Ohio’s demand to keep Toledo and the Maumee River. This was a big deal when the Erie Canal was a big deal. Yes the UP’s mineral and timber wealth turned into a huge bonus for MI but that’s all over now.

    Organize the UP as West and East regions with regional councils planning and coordinating essential public services. Re-organize counties into a minimum of 30-40,000 people. Get emergency and police services into coordinated entities. I could go on. But we all know this will never happen.

  3. Amanda Vreeland Winnicki on April 6, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Ordered the Video – very interesting and both the problems and ideas hit home on the issues of Rural Living. Recommend.

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