IRONWOOD - Regional recreational leaders and business people gathered at Gogebic Community College Tuesday to discuss how to better capitalize on natural resources.
The day-long seminar in the Lindquist Center involved approaches to "building a natural resource economy," or what happens when "nature, culture and community connect."
Ironwood Community Development Director Michael Brown told the 50 participants who gathered for the seminar, "It doesn't stop today when you leave this room," referring to ideas developed and shared at the networking session.
The session was particularly important at at time when all-purpose trails are being planned in the Ironwood area and there's a renewed interest in heritage with the developments at the Depot and Miners Memorial Heritage Park.
A placemaking panel in the morning discussed the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, Pictured Rocks Cruises, the Wilds of Michigan and Creative Trail Collaborators in the western Upper Peninsula.
Morning moderator Julie Hales-Smith said placemaking is defined as creating a situation in which tourists can't wait to return to an area they visited, rather than merely passing through.
She said there are many natural attractions familiar to area residents that are unknown to tourists. A slide show featured attractions such as Bond Falls, Lake of the Clouds and the Lake Superior shoreline.
Stacy Haughey, Michigan Department of Natural Resources regional coordinator, said an important part of the session involved people making contacts they can use in the future.
"It's a wonderful turnout," she said.
Other topics were "the power of parks" and communities' heritage assets.
The afternoon session included small group discussions.