For over 60 years one attraction has helped bring around 80,000 tourists to Munising each summer. The Pictured Rocks Cruises have been operating long before the Pictured Rocks ever officially became the first National Lakeshore in the U.S. Every year it never fails to impress the tourists.
"The cruise was awesome. Even without much sun, the colors, the rock formations, lovers leap was great,?? said tourist Katie Fawcett.
There are around 60 employees and five boats that help make up the exciting experience. Typically, the tours run from the time the ice allows boats out on to Lake Superior, to the middle of October. This year, Lake Superior did manage to hold up the start of the season.
"This last spring was kind of rough with the ice but it's still going to be a busy summer. Even if it doesn't warm up, we still get tons of people that will still come here because they just plan on coming here no matter what," said Jaden Niemi, one of the Captains of the Pictured Rocks Cruises.
Even more impressive is that the cruises don??t see a large turnover of employees. For instance Niemi has been an employee with the cruises for 10 years; five of them as a captain. What keeps these employees around?
"It's a view like none other in the world. The lake is clear and so large, I mean not many people get to see it every day. We're just lucky enough to get to see it every day," said Micaela Thiery of Ticket Sales for the Pictured Rocks Cruises.
Let??s not forget the community either, because they certainly haven??t. For three years now the cruises have held Pictured Rocks Day that gives free admission to those from the U.P. Since its inception, the free ride day has helped inspire a festival to take place right on the water. This year just over 2,000 Yoopers took advantage of the free ride day.
Even though the cruises only run in the summer, there is still quite an economic ripple effect that spreads out through Munising and the surrounding areas.