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Outdoors Notebook: Tourism spending in the Devils Lake region hits 6-year high in 2021, tourism group says

Spending directly attributed to tourism in 2021 was $57.46 million. The next highest was the pre-COVID year of 2019, when tourism spending was $56.65 million.

Food and beverage expenditures accounted for $19 million in tourism spending in 2021 in the Devils Lake region and Ramsey County, Devils Lake Tourism said in sharing the results of a statistical analysis conducted by the Tourism Economics market research firm. Tourism spending in 2021 was higher than the previous five years, Devils Lake Tourism said.
Contributed/Devils Lake Tourism
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Lake Region tourism spending hits 6-year high

DEVILS LAKE – Tourism spending in the Devils Lake region and Ramsey County in 2021 was higher than the previous five years, Devils Lake Tourism said this week.

According to a recent statistical analysis by Tourism Economics, a global market research firm with regional offices in Philadelphia and Oxford, England, spending directly attributed to tourism in 2021 was $57.46 million.

The next highest was the pre-COVID year of 2019, when tourism spending was $56.65 million.

The Legislature is considering new laws on everything from boating, rough fish and copper mining to deer hunting and ATV trails.

By category, the 2021 expenditures were $10 million for lodging, $19 million for food and beverages, $10 million for retail, $9.5 million for transportation and $8 million for recreation, Devils Lake Tourism said in sharing highlights from the survey.


“The lake draws fishermen and waterfowl hunters,” Suzie Kenner, executive director of Devils Lake Tourism, said in a statement. “It stands to reason that they show up and require lodging, meals, do some shopping, buy boat and truck fuel and are major donors to the big picture.”

Kyle Blanchfield
Kyle Blanchfield

Kyle Blanchfield, owner of Woodland Resort on Devils Lake, said 2021 was a banner year.

“Business was up 25 percent,” Blanchfield said. “This followed a solid 2020; so far, this year is very strong.”

Blanchfield attributes the trend to Devils Lake fishing and waterfowl hunting opportunities and the fact that the area is under-commercialized.

“Being remote was a good thing,” he said. “People wanted to come here and get away from crowds. I think the pandemic reignited people’s love of the outdoors and they came.”

When COVID hit in March 2020, fishing guide-booked trips and lodging cancellations hit hard, Blanchfield said, especially in the spring.

“It caused an initial panic, but casual travelers and last-minute fishing clients filled those open gaps,” he said. “ People had money in their pockets – couldn’t spend it on normal things since so many establishments were forced to close – and showed up here.

“The past year demonstrated why visitors love Devils Lake and why they keep coming no matter what’s happening in the country.”


– Herald staff report

NDGF: Be mindful of farmers and ranchers

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is encouraging hunters to be respectful and cautious, as farmers and ranchers are busy with fieldwork this time of year.

Hunters should pull to the side of the road or find an approach when meeting combines, grain trucks or tractors pulling equipment.

In addition, hunters should avoid parking along roadways or field approaches where vehicles could block travel by farm machinery, pick up trash and empty shells, and not clean game in the road ditch or approach.

– Herald staff report

DNR seeks applicants for deer committee

ST. PAUL – Are you passionate about deer and want to get involved in public policy? The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is recruiting new members to serve on the statewide Deer Advisory Committee, a public advisory group that meets to discuss deer management issues.

The DNR is looking for applicants of all backgrounds and experience, and the deadline to apply is Monday, Sept. 19. Meetings are currently held virtually, generally quarterly, and are two hours long.

More information about the Deer Advisory Committee, including how to apply for it, can be found on the DNR deer advisory committee webpage.


– Herald staff report

NWTF highlights hunt, habitat initiative

EDGEFIELD, S.C. – The National Wild Turkey Federation recently wrapped up its 10-year “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt” initiative, meeting all of its goals ahead of schedule and continuing to positively impact wildlife and hunters, the conservation group said this week.

Launched In 2012, the national campaign had three distinct goals: Conserve or enhance 4 million acres of wildlife habitat, recruit 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres of public hunting land, all by the end of the NWTF’s 2022 fiscal year.

In 2020, the final metric of the initiative was surpassed, the NWTF said. Official totals for the initiative as of Aug. 31, the end of the NWTF’s 2022 fiscal year, are:

  • 5,216,914 acres conserved or enhanced (goal accomplished in 2020).
  • 1,534,819 hunters recruited (goal accomplished in 2019).
  • 700,041 acres opened to public hunting access (goal accomplished in 2018).

“The 10-year initiative rallied our membership, staff and partners to help deliver our mission on an unprecedented scale," NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said in a statement. “We faced many challenges over the last decade, but what we accomplished is a testament to our dedicated people who make the NWTF so special. We will look back 50 years from now and see that Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. served as a springboard for mission-focused delivery far into the future.”
– Herald staff report

Did you know?

  • Minnesota hunters this fall may only possess and use nontoxic ammunition when participating in a special hunt or disease management hunt in a state park or Scientific and Natural Area, the DNR said. Bullets, slugs, muzzleloader ammunition and other single projectiles must be made entirely of nontoxic material approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For full details about these requirements, check out page 89 of the Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations booklet.
  • Minnesota’s Walk-In Access lands are open for deer hunting. As part of the DNR program, which pays landowners to allow public hunting on their property, hunters can access nearly 29,000 acres of private land across 39 counties in western and south-central Minnesota. Hunters with a $3 Walk-In Access validation on their license can access these lands from a half-hour before sunrise until a half-hour after sunset during open hunting seasons between Sept. 1 and May 31. No additional landowner contact is necessary. Funding sources include a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a surcharge on nonresident hunting licenses, a one-time appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature in 2012 and donations from hunters.
  • The DNR has a whole new lineup of outdoor skills webinars scheduled for this fall . Several will cover deer topics: preparing for archery season on Wednesday, Sept. 21; chronic wasting disease and deer hunting on Wednesday, Oct. 19; preserving your harvest on Wednesday, Nov. 2; and the art of wildlife photography on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The noon Wednesday webinars are part of the DNR Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Series. They’re free and registration is required on the DNR website. Info: Benji Kohn, benjamin.kohn@state.mn.us or (651) 259-5178.

– compiled by Brad Dokken

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