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Reader's View: Boating worth celebrating in Minnesota

With the new wave of boating enthusiasts entering the scene, recreational boating has further cemented itself as a foundational aspect of the state’s economy.

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As summer comes to a close, I have been reflecting on what a great summer it has been on the water in Minnesota. The perks of a nice boating season are not only felt by boat owners but by the communities surrounding the Northland’s extensive lakes, many of which are in our own backyards. As locals and tourists flock to the water, businesses thrive in the activity.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes has long positioned itself as an incomparable summer-vacation destination. Beyond being a beloved pastime, recreational boating is an integral part of the state’s economy. Across northern Minnesota, recreational boating has an economic impact of $336 million every year and supports 217 businesses in the 8th Congressional District alone. In 2020, the state was ranked fifth in total marine spending.

Minnesota has more than 830,000 registered boats. That number rose significantly since the start of the pandemic, serving as an economic boon amidst a nationwide dip in the economy. With the new wave of boating enthusiasts entering the scene, recreational boating has further cemented itself as a foundational aspect of the state’s economy.

With lakes like Gull Lake, Leech Lake, and Lake Superior facilitating small business in our communities, stores, marinas, and other businesses serving Minnesotans are reaping the benefits of popular watersports. There is a reason several U.S. boat manufacturers have their headquarters here. Minnesota’s economy will always be linked to the greater boating industry.

Bruce Nustad

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St. Paul

The writer is president of the Minnesota Retailers Association.

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