HOUGHTON AND KEWEENAW COUNTIES, Mich. (WJMN) – The Upper Peninsula is an all-year round playground, and Visit Keweenaw wants to continue to make the U.P. and the Copper Country an outdoor enthusiasts’ destination.

Visit Keweenaw is currently seeking applicants for its 2023 Destination Development Program. Destination development is the process of making investments in community infrastructure in order to improve a destination’s ability to attract visitors and enhance their experiences.

“It’s actually a perfect way for Visit Keweenaw to give back because our purpose is to promote destination development and tourism management,” said Jesse Wiederhold, public relations and events coordinator for Visit Keweenaw. “So, we want to bring people into the area. Another great way to do that is, you know, people are people so whether you’re visiting or living here you’re still a person. You still like to go out and do things. So, examples of that [are] adding signage, that’s going to benefit the community and people who are new to the community. It’s just little things like that that make this place a little more special for people like you and me and visitors.”

Local units of government and nonprofit organizations in Houghton and Keweenaw Counties are eligible to apply. Last year, the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club received $10,000 from the program for construction of a snowmobile trail groomer barn.

“By developing these kinds of things that help to support our economic side of all our tourism base, whether it be any of our mines, the cultural events and locations you can go to, it’s tourism for ATV/snowmobile,” said Keweenaw Snowmobile Club President Ryan LaPorte. “It’s critical in our economy and our businesses to be up here. So, really great to see Visit Keweenaw supporting that with the dollars that come in through their revenue streams to be reinvesting in the community that let us to provide these experiences for not only us who live here full time but also for people who are here visiting any time of the year.”

Visit Keweenaw is accepting applications online. Applicants have until March 3 to submit an application. Projects are encouraged to be completed by September 30 the same year funds are awarded, but it is not required. All projects are required to include at minimum a 50 percent cost-share in cash or in-kind match from other sources than Visit Keweenaw. The award comes in the form of cost reimbursement. Once the project is completed and documented, the applicant is reimbursed up to the total award amount. The maximum award amount is $20,000.