Surveying the Effect of Climate Change on North Shore Tourism

— Written By and last updated by Kristen Rice-Gira
MN Summer Survey

Survey in progress at Cut Face Creek Wayside on Highway 61, south of Grand Marais, MN (credit: E. Seekamp).

Dr. Erin Seekamp, Associate Professor and Tourism Extension Specialist, launched a summer survey of visitors to Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior with colleagues and students from NC State University (Dr. Jordan Smith, Allie McCreary and Karly Bitsura-Meszaros), University of Minnesota (Dr. Mae Davenport, Karen Katz, Bree Duever and Jenn Shepard), and Carleton College (Dr. Mark Kanazawa, Emily Starr, and Branden McGarrity).

The North Shore is a nature-based recreation destination, attracting nearly 6 million visitors annually. The survey assesses how climate change will alter tourism demand on the North Shore. Hydro-climatologists from the University of Minnesota (Dr. Bruce Wilson, Dr. John Nieber and Dr. Kerry Holmberg) projected localized changes in temperature, heat indexes, precipitation, fire risk and fish abundance for the survey. The results will be used in climate ready engagement workshops to help North Shore communities, business and recreation managers develop adaptation strategies. The students from each participating university will be administering the survey on iPads to tourists at state parks, waysides, and local businesses between July 15 and August 3, 2015.