Mild winter affects long-established businesses

MILD WEATHER ABOUND–A lot in front of the L’Anse Motel & Suites that is typically full of snowmobiles has none. With one of the warmest winters on record, we go another year without ice on the bay, without snowmobilers on the trails. Businesses that rely on winter for a great deal of commerce are hurting more than ever this year. From restaurants to motels to logging, the mild temperatures are worse than you might think.

by Porter Davis
As most Yoopers could tell you, winter is never consistent in northern Michigan, but rarely is it so tame as it has been this year. Most people would consider a mild winter to be a blessing, and perhaps in most places that is true, but here where we’re so accustomed to cold winters, most businesses plan their best times around the darker months. When faced with a winter that hardly leaves snow on the ground, decades old establishments are  struggling to find ways to operate. Beyond ice fishing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing,  there exists the restaurants that feed us, the hotels that provide a warm bed, and the shops with fishing supplies. The bay is devoid of the dozens of ice shacks that typically dot it in the heart of February. Snowmobile trails are practically nonexistent and thus tourism is taking a huge hit. With March right around the corner, we may yet get a big storm or two, but the likelihood that our winter is already over is all too apparent. Beyond commercial industries that everyone is familiar with, the warm weather brings an even greater threat to the state economy. Logging has been a part of life in the UP since the land was first  settled. Logging with modern machinery and vehicles typically requires the logging  companies to adhere to strict rules and regulations to preserve the land for further use and relogging over time. When the ground freezes, heavy equipment doesn’t damage the  ground and loggers are able to do some of their most profitable work in the winter. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.