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      Legislators on the trails

      When you think of U.P. winters, sports may be the first thing to come to mind.

      U.P. tourism thrives during the winter months, and without the snow and winter sports, small businesses could go downhill.

      State lawmakers came to Seney to see the impact of snowmobiling...firsthand. Senator Tom Casperson was one of them.

      "We know tourism is a big part of Michigan's economy, and this is one of the critical industries, and one of the critical parts of it is snowmobiling. People spend a lot of money when they come to the U.P. to ride snowmobiles, and we encourage them to come and we welcome them. And thanks for spending your money in the U.P.," said Senator Casperson.

      The legislators rode along with the Michigan Snowmobile Association.

      According to the MSA, statewide snowmobiling is a billion dollar industry, and most of it comes from the U.P.

      "This is where they ride, the U.P. In the U.P., they can come up and are pretty sure to get a place to ride and have a good time. You've got some of the most scenic areas in the state," said MSA President Bruce Wood.

      And when the snowmobilers come into town, they need somewhere to eat and sleep.

      "I think a lot of the hotels and restaurants would have a hard time surviving the winter without the influx of the snowmobilers. It's huge," Wood added.

      The snowmobilers are headed to Grand Marais tomorrow.