Tourism Numbers in the UP, NMU Olympic Training Center Sends Athletes to Olympic Games, Annual UP Truck Show, and Short-Term Rental Regulations

191029 Fall Facilities Stock-21

This Week in Rural Insights

Don’t forget to take a look at our new posts this week. On Wednesday we will be featuring a new podcast with Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development Gary McDowell. Gary also served three, two-year terms in the Michigan House of Representatives. He grew up in Rudyard, MI where he still resides, and is a farmer by trade.

While you are enjoying this summer, take some time to listen to some of our podcast and video features!

Tourism Numbers in the Upper Peninsula

Upper Peninsula Travel recently announced that a record number of tourists have visited the Upper Peninsula’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The visitor numbers are impressive and have increased over the past few years:

2014 — 527,897

2016 — 777,428

2019 —  858,715

2020 —  1,200,000

Big tourist numbers are being recorded all across the UP, and these numbers are an example of the increase in visits to the beautiful Upper Peninsula. It often seems that we see more non-Michigan license plates on cars than Michigan plates these days.

In a few weeks, students return to college campuses in Houghton/Hancock, Sault Ste. Marie, Escanaba, Iron Mountain, Ironwood and Marquette. If we think traffic is busy now, wait until thousands of students return to the UP. All over the UP we will have more than “rush minutes.”  

NMU Olympic Training Center Sends Athletes to Olympic Games in Tokyo

For decades, the NMU Center has been training young athletes to compete in the Olympics and they are still doing it.

This year, the list of athletes includes two freestyle wrestlers, one Greco-roman athlete, one Greco Roman coach and one weightlifter. Congrats to NMU, the athletes and the coaches. Thanks for representing America and the Upper Peninsula.  

History is that in the early 80s, then-Michigan Governor Blanchard, his UP Director Tom Baldini, NMU Administrator Tom Peters, State Representative Dominic Jacobetti pulled together a powerhouse of supporters from the Upper Peninsula, Michigan and Washington DC to advocate at the US Olympic Committee for a training site at NMU.

It was quite a battle but was eventually successful. The Center has gone on to produce Olympic athletes for decades.  

Annual UP Truck Show Returns to St. Ignace

Big, unique and amazing trucks  from all across the midwest and Canada will be in St. Ignace once again this year on September 17-19.

One highlight is the parade of trucks that goes across the Mighty Mac and through St. Ignace. The organizers of the truck show said that “this year we plan to show off some of the finest new and used commercial truck and trailer products on the market.”

Don’t miss it. 

Legislative & Public Policy News

LOCAL CONTROL OF SHORT-TERM RENTALS VERSUS STATE CONTROL AND REGULATION: HB 4722 is still working its way through the legislative process. Lots of debate and input from special interest groups. The bill is online and you can read it for the details.

Overall, the bill would prohibit local governments from regulating short term rentals. Control would be shifted to the state government. Complicated issue with a lot more details than here, so take a look if you are interested.

We have received notes from Whisperers questioning why this should not continue to be a local control issue–as it has been for a long time, they say. The Upper Peninsula’s State Representative Sara Cambensy is one of the co-sponsors, and we are sure that her office would be happy to help with any questions you may have about this issue/bill.

IN LIGHTER NEWS: From the Detroit News, reporters Beth La Blanc and Craig Mauger report that according to recently-filed state campaign reports that are required by law, “a Michigan lawmaker reported spending $221 of his campaign money at a strip club in Dearborn for a constituent meeting to discuss ‘potential economic projects.’”  

The legislator said “we have to meet people where they are sometimes” in a text message to the Detroit News after the interview. The State Representative Jewell Jones added in the text that the club had “great lamb chops.”  

CAMPAIGN RUMORS: We are hearing rumors that there are two Marquette City Commission members actively considering running for the 109th House District.  Anyone else?

Facts to Make Us Think

There are fewer veterans serving in Congress than in the past. In the 1970s, for instance, nearly three-quarters of lawmakers were veterans. Now, it’s fewer than one in five.

“Male trees are wreaking havoc in a prolonged, crippling allergy season. Pollen counts are spiked by ‘botanical sexism’ in cities, where male trees are preferred,” horticulturist Tom Ogren tells Axios.

Hmmm. Posted without comment. Thoughts? Are male trees preferred in the Upper Peninsula? Smiles all around.

Any UP botanists who could help us out here? What are the real facts–inquiring minds want to know.

Books Recommended By Our Readers

Wild Blueberries: Tales of Nuns, Rabbits and Discovery in Rural Michigan. Peter Damm. 2019. “Nostalgia is a tricky thing. It lures you into its comforting thrall with a scent, a sone, a vision. You smell Coppertone and you’re a blissful 11 year old at Lake Michigan. You hear Dionne Warwich and you’re bouncing along in a 1972 station wagon with no seat belt. You see a hand painted sign that reads “Cold Pop” and you are home.”  

Quotes That Make Us Go Hmmm

“The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” Willy Nelson.

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them.” William Shakesphere.




bold fix

David Haynes

David Haynes has served as a professor of public administration and public policy. He previously has served as President of Northern Michigan University. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.


  1. WRich on August 2, 2021 at 7:10 am

    Excuse me? Tourism went UP between nonCOViD 19 and COVID 20? Is that correct?

    • E Gort on August 2, 2021 at 8:36 am

      Yes. Especially during COVID since it was a form of tourism that typically didn’t involve getting on a plane. Outdoor activities (and related sales) like camping, biking, etc skyrocketed around the country last year.

  2. Andrew Pilkington on August 2, 2021 at 7:35 am

    I would be thrilled to know why Sara Cambensy supports state control rather than local…
    Why have you forsaken us, Sara???

    • Beth Casady on August 2, 2021 at 6:01 pm

      I would also like to know this. Marquette City Commission spent much time on short term rental rules for its citizens with input from residents and the business community. Why would anyone be in favor of state control of a local issue that affects housing, neighborhoods and local business?

  3. Susan on August 2, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    How would the state control impact? More rentals? Less rentals? Read it and haven’t a clue.

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