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Mining and tourism can fortify each other

A mining protest at the St. Louis County courthouse in 2015. (Duluth News Tribune file photo)

A recent study clearly illustrates how our Arrowhead Community’s mining and tourism industries need not be adversaries. Tourism aids in increasing the appeal of Duluth and the Iron Range. Additionally, it helps promote our beloved region as a place where people choose to work, recreate and live.

Concurrently, the mining industry in our Arrowhead Region employs 5,140 high paying jobs. These jobs generate $419 million in annual earnings for workers and their families. Knowing this, we can understand why mining proponents believe that mining is the cornerstone of our region’s economy.

Promoting the expansion of mining, in addition to advocating for an increase in tourism, will enhance the prosperity of the entire region. These two industries can, together, generate economic growth while improving the quality of life for those of us who choose to live, recreate and live in our beautiful Arrowhead Region.

Additionally, mining-related activity generates nearly $200 million in federal, state and local tax revenues. This tax revenue helps fund our public schools, employs police officers and firefighters, and fuels our city and county services. Tourism alone does not generate enough wealth to sustain our region. Likewise, mining does not stir the soul of most folks who wish to visit our region and recreate within our attractive natural landscape. Yet, mining and tourism combine to provide the financial wherewithal along with the inspiration to live, work and recreate in the lovely Arrowhead.

These industries should not be portrayed as competing with each other. They should be presented as augmenting and fortifying each other. Our region must have both if we intend to generate the jobs, the population, and the appeal necessary to prosper.

The leadership of the Duluth Area Chamber understands the necessity of both a vibrant mining industry and an expanding tourism industry. Our leadership believes that mining and tourism can wonderfully coexist in our region. Consequently, we are an unwavering advocate for both industries. Our dual advocacy is not conflicting. It is energizing.  

David Ross

David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751.

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