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      Mild winter good for Munising businesses

      Tourism in Upper Michigan has been down for some this winter season, but that's not the case in Alger County. Businesses that cater mostly to tourists have been thriving, and it looks to stay that way for the remainder of the season.

      It's been a rough year for snow lovers. According to National Weather Service climate records, the U.P. has seen below average snowfall all season, but the U.P. has more snow than neighboring winter hot spots.

      Tourists have been flocking to Upper Michigan to enjoy what little snow the United States has to offer this season. Munising has especially been reaping the benefits of increased tourism. "Even though there has been less snow, it still has been very busy here, especially on weekends, and we attribute that to no one else having any snow," says Kathy Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alger County Chamber of Commerce.

      Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has seen a drastic increase of tourists this year. Munising benefits most from snowmobilers, but other visitors have been coming as well.

      "There's a lot of people that are getting into the silent sports, so our cross country ski trails and our snowshoeing trails have done very well," Reynolds adds.

      The hospitality industry across Alger County has particularly felt the benefits. The Terrace Motel in Munising is only one of many that are thriving thanks to the recent boost in tourism.

      "I saw, in January, a 22 percent gross increase in my business, and February has just finished, and I had a 16 percent gross increase in February," says Larry Baur, owner of Terrace Motel.

      Even with the March 3 winter storm, we're more than a foot below average, but that doesn't seem to be slowing down tourists.

      "In the midst of the up and down weather, I'm very grateful things have gone as they have," Baur adds.