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Michigan Experiences Boom in Winter Outdoor Recreation Interest

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Businesses offering winter outdoor recreation in Michigan are reporting an increase in customer interest compared to last season.

However, this year’s weather has not been as ideal as last year’s, a report said.

A report mentioned Randy Cornell, who operates C.A.R.M.A Sport Fishing Charter Service. He also conducts guided ice fishing trips on Lake Mitchell, Lake Missaukee, and Houghton Lake.

Because of the slow accumulation of ice in local lakes, Cornell stated that he’s two to three weeks behind on embarking on his first outing of the season.

“It’s because of the lack of winter,” Cornell said. He waits until there’s at least 8-10 inches of ice before he books a trip. Considering all the equipment to carry, he said that it’s not safe to go out on the ice when it’s not at least the same thickness.

Although the season is getting off to a slow start, Cornell said there is no doubt that if he’d advertised his company early in the season, clients would be calling his phone non-stop.

This winter, the businessman claimed he’s booked more outings until February than he did during last year’s entirety.

Cornell has experienced the same level of interest in his other venture, K and R Outfitters, which provides an organized snowmobile tour. The tourism business primarily caters to customers from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,  and the southern part of Michigan.

Bookings have been fantastic,” Cornell said. However, he had to cancel some bookings due to the lack of snow.

Cornell said there needs to be at least one foot of snow for good snowmobiling, something he’s hoping to see this weekend.

“Snowmobiling has exploded,” he said.

Cornell earned a lot last February that he decided to purchase some new sleds to add to his offerings. He has already booked 23 trips in February alone.

The report also mentioned Caberfae Peaks whose manager, Pete Meyer, added that they’re also experiencing the same levels of patrons as last season. With lift occupancy restrictions being removed, they’re in a better position to accommodate the demand.

“It’s been nice to see that demand carry over (from last year),” Meyer said. “We’re seeing a tremendous demand for outdoor recreation. I would say it’s stronger now than pre-pandemic.”

Meyer acknowledged that, while the snowfall hasn’t been as great this year, the weather has always been cold, which allows them to use their snow-making facilities.

Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau Executive Director Kathy Morin confirmed that the region has already witnessed a significant amount of tourism related to ice fishing, snowboarding, skiing, and fat biking. Other activities that have drawn visitors to the region include winter raft paddling and carriage rides.

Morin explained that although the pandemic has heightened the number of people who want to get outdoors, it’s also decreased the amount of corporate trips to this area of Northern Michigan, as many companies now organize events virtually.

“Recovery of those visitors has been a bit slower,” Morin said. “It’s been a challenge.”

While it is yet unclear how the region will fare this winter, Morin said the area had its highest occupancy levels of all time from May through September last year due to people who took on tasks they might have put off in the past, such as attending weddings and taking excursions.

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Modern Campground

Modern Campground

Modern Campground is the most innovative news source in the Outdoor Hospitality industry. We provide global news coverage for RV Park and Campground owners, operators, managers, and their team members.
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