Tourism in the United States generates approximately 1.5 trillion dollars annually and over 14.8 million jobs are directly or indirectly connected to tourism. Every State wants a piece of that action and Minnesota is one of them. In February of 2014 the Geotourism Heart of the Continent project was launched.
Heart of the Continent is the second transborder geotourism project in the US and the partners include entities from Minnesota and Ontario as well as National Geographic who creates the regional geotourism mapguide and website. (See partner list below)
What is geotourism?
Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. It conserves resources; respects local culture and tradition and it combines all the elements of geographical character work together to create a tourist experience that is richer than the sum of its parts, appealing to visitors with diverse interests. Visitors bring home new knowledge. Their stories encourage friends and relatives to experience the same thing, which brings continuing business.
The Heart of the Continent comprises Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Ontario. Over 400 points of interest have been identified by local residents of both areas.
The map guide is pretty amazing and you can select where to go, where to stay, where to eat plus more. Click on the icon and you will get a brief description of the site or event, the address of the restaurant, etc. Here is what you will find on the map guide:
Accommodation, Action Opportunities, Community, Festival or Event, Food or Drink. Historic or Prehistoric Place, Local Points of Interest, Museum, Theatre, Interpretive Centre, Natural Area, Outdoor Adventures, Packaged Experiences
MAP GUIDE: http://www.traveltheheart.org/map.php
Here are just a few places and events you won’t want to miss.
PULLING FOR PEACE
The annual International Tug of War is scheduled to take place on July 2, 2015 at Pat Roche Landing in International Falls and Sorting Gap Marina in Fort Frances. Canada and the United States share the longest undefended border in the world and International Peaceful Borders Day is held to promote peace throughout the world by celebrating the peaceful border our countries enjoy. Canada and the United States are each other’s largest trading partners. Muhtar Kent, Coca-cola CEO said, “When trade crosses borders, armies typically don’t.”
What better way to celebrate than with an annual “Pulling for Peace” tug of war?
A 1500 foot rope stretches across the Rainy River and the friendly game of tug of war begins between the United States and Canada
While you’re in the International Falls area you will want to stop and see Smokey the Bear
And up the road you can see Vic the Voyageur. This statute is Vic Davis’ revenge and it stands on 133 acres that he refused to sell to the US Government for inclusion in Voyageur National Park. It’s a long story and you can read all about it here: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/08/27/us/taste-of-revenge-tree-stumps-face-park-visitors.html
Vic is a 30 foot tall Voyageur that has greeted visitors to Ranier for decades. Vic has a twin brother in the little burg of Barnum just off I-35 south of Cloquet.
Tourists and residents never tire of a visit to Duluth. The most popular landmark in Duluth, if not the State, is the Aerial Lift Bridge. When it was built in 1905 it transported people from the mainland in what is now called Canal Park to Minnesota Point. In 1929 it was converted to lift bridge to make it easier for boats to pass through the canal. Today thousands of cars cross the bridge a day and it averages 26 lifts a day to allow passage to the huge freighters as they enter or leave the harbor. A great place to watch the bridge is from the patios at Grandma’s Restaurant which is located in Canal Park.
Great place to stop for ice cream in Duluth!!!
Heading North on the North Shore Drive…
When completed, the Gitchi-Gami State Trail (GGST) will be an 88-mile non-motorized, paved recreational trail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, Minnesota, along Lake Superior
Follow progress here: http://www.ggta.org/
Gooseberry Falls State Park – the gateway to the North Shore. The five spectacular waterfalls, the rocky river gorge, and trees growing out of rocks are awesome. The Civilian Conservation Corps log and stone structures are amazing.
A trip up the North Shore in Minnesota would be incomplete without a stop at Split Rock Light House.
For more information on Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Light House go to https://littleusatrips.org/2013/10/21/two-days-up-north-in-minnesota-day-two/
Ely, Minnesota’s Blueberry Festival has something of interest to all ages. Don’t miss this one.
Northeast Minnesota has a lot to offer and through the Geotourism Heart of the Continent Project your trip planning is made much easier through the Mapguide.
Kudos to Heart of the Continent partners for preserving our environment, our culture and our heritage.
“HEART OF THE CONTINENT” PARTNERS
- Hearth of the Continent Partnership (HOCP)
- University of Minnesota – Northeast Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnership
- National Geographic Society Maps Division
- University of Minnesota – Duluth
- University of Minnesota Tourism Center
- Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board
- Superior National Forest
- National Park Service: Grand Portage National Monument, Voyageurs National Park, Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Parks and Trails
- Ontario Ministry of Tourism
- Ontario Provincial Parks
- Thunder Bay Tourism
- Fort William Historical Park
- Grand Portage Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa
- Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa
- Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
- Minnesota Arrowhead Association
- Destination Voyageurs National Park
- North Shore Scenic Drive Council
- Arrowhead Regional Development Commission
- Lakehead University
- Club Mesabi
- Local, County Governments
- Nonprofits: Friends of the Boundary Waters, Voyageurs National Park Association, and others