Outdoor activities can boost tourism economy, influence Great Lakes restoration, study says

By COLLEEN OTTE & ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Ecosystem assets in the Great Lakes region, such as sport fishing, boating, beach use, park visits and birding, contribute significantly to the tourism economy of shoreline communities and can help shape restoration priorities for the lakes, according to a new study that incorporates highly detailed maps. Such “cultural ecosystem services” are valuable to society and have “great potential for benefiting natural resource management and conservation,” it said. Those services or activities vary in where they take place, and so do stressors, threats, to the Great Lakes, said the lead author of the study, David Allan, a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He said, “There might be better decision-making afforded by our looking at both threats and benefits together instead of just identifying threats and trying to combat them.”
The study said the public takes advantage of recreational activities differently in each part of the region. For example, sport fishing is most popular on the U.S. side of lakes Erie and Ontario and in south-central Lake Michigan.

New grants to promote more snowmobile trails

By SIERRA RESOVSKY
Capital News Service
LANSING – Expansion of snowmobile trails could boost local economies, but may lead to conflicts about crossing private land as well, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said. In a move to head off such conflicts, a new state grant program will allow local governments and organizations to purchase permanent easements for snowmobile trails that cross private property. According to DNR recreation specialist Ron Yesney, half of Michigan’s snowmobile trails are on privately owned land. And although easements are necessary to use those trails, that use is at the discretion of the landowner. Twenty-five percent of the trail system is on state forest lands that are open to snowmobiling.

Yoor Mom Skate Shop: A Little Shack Doing Big Things

By Meghan Steingold
Living In The Ledge

Although largely unknown to the general public, the Yoor Mom Skate Shop is a unique business to the Grand Ledge community, with little recognition. Being a little shack next door to the Sun Theater, the store at 320 S. Bridge St. exhibits very unique attributes that differ from those of the surrounding businesses. With old skateboards bolted up on the sides of the entrance, and graffiti along the side of the building, the shop is clearly geared toward the youth of Grand Ledge. Jerry Norris, the owner of the skate shop, opened the business May 13, 2012 because of his son Rain Norris and his friends.