OUR VIEW: Northwestern Minnesota's new logo promises to 'brand'
the region as an attractive, outdoorsy place.
Wildlife recreationers spent $108 billion on their pastime in
2001, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve Bank's Center
for the Study of Rural America. "To put that in perspective, that
amount was more than the total cash receipts of the U.S. livestock
industry in the same year."
Furthermore, "rural places with a regional identity that embraces
both entertainment and wildlife amenities are probably in the best
position to capture wildlife recreation's dollars."
Which means the Northwest Regional Development Commission
deserves praise for recognizing exactly that.
The commission recently released a new logo for northwest
Minnesota, and it's as easy on the eye as the sight of a breeze
rippling across a field of wheat. The "Land of the Dancing Sky" logo
smartly takes advantage of the northern lights, one of the region's
finest but least-marketed natural wonders. By picturing the lights
undulating above a fertile field, the logo does just what it's
supposed to do: showcase northwest Minnesota in an intriguing and
attractive way. It's a keeper.
The commission hopes to see the logo adorn northwest Minnesota
products, ranging from snowmobiles to jellies and jams. It'll also
be used to highlight unique attractions, a commission spokesperson
That makes the Center for the Study of Rural America's new
numbers especially relevant.
The center's report, "Wildlife Recreation: Rural America's Newest
Billion Dollar Industry," notes that in smalltown America, "new
opportunities are not arising from traditional sources - commodity
industries such as agriculture or mining." But the growth potential
is there in wildlife recreation, which counted 82 million people as
participants in 2001 - two-thirds to three-quarters of whom live in
Consider a case study everyone in northwestern Minnesota knows:
Cabela's. The outdoor sporting goods company's East Grand Forks
store now is a regional landmark, and it's just one of several
Cabela's to have opened around the Midwest in recent years.
But communities as well as businesses can take advantage of these
historic growth trends. Why is Cabela's growing? Because it's a
smart, well-run company - and because it's capitalizing on the
nationwide surge in wildlife recreation.
Can northwestern Minnesota capture some of that growth, too?
Consider this: Four states have led the nation in per-capita
spending by out-of-state residents for wildlife recreation,
according to the center's report. They are Alaska, South Dakota,
Wyoming and Montana.
Plains states can compete for wildlife recreationers, in other
words. Northwestern Minnesota, the Land of the Dancing Sky, can,
Tom Dennis for the Herald