MUNISING, Mich. (WJMN) – While on his trip above the bridge, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist stopped by one of the Upper Peninsulas’ hottest tourist spots, using this time to see businesses that thrive off of tourism.

“The State of Michigan has really been unique and how we have an office to support outdoor recreational activities, and this all ties in with our work with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, but also with something new that we’ve created called the Office of Rural Development,” Lt. Gov. Gilchrist said. “We really want to make sure that there are resources to support ingenuitive people and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes, who are doing amazing things in rural Michigan that really give these communities this lifeblood and identity and create jobs and opportunities for people and so we want folks to know if you have an idea in rural Michigan, the State of Michigan can be a good partner.”

One of the businesses he visited being a true U.P. staple, Iverson Outdoors. They have been lacing up snowshoes in the Upper Peninsula since the 1950s.

“The state needs a diversity of businesses here,” Jim Backer, Co-Owner of Iverson Outdoors said. “We need big businesses, small businesses and it’s nice to see that even though small businesses don’t really have as much of an impact as the major employers do that would get some attention and we’re recognized for the value that we contribute to the economy.”

Still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist wanted to see firsthand how Michigan can support small businesses across the state.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been doing our best to support small businesses with Michigan Economic Cooperation,” Gilchrist said. “We created 23 different programs to support 25,000 small businesses and protect about 200,000 jobs and we can build programs that are continuing, continuing to leverage the federal resources to support small businesses and there are more programs that we’re looking to create. We’re going to use federal resources to use those dollars and get them into the hands of people who need them so they can keep people employed, keep their doors open, that they can open safely so that people who are coming to work have the peace of mind to be safe, people who are their consumers have peace of mind to be safe, and hopefully we’re going to continue to build on the momentum for tourism that the Upper Peninsula of Northern Michigan has seen during the pandemic. Munising has had a record number of visitors coming up here 1.5 million people, for example, we hope to see that continue to grow.”

The Lieutenant Governor even strapped on a pair of snowshoes to take them for a test spin.

“He did a great job! Baker said. “He didn’t fall down. He seemed like a mantra. We got him out of parachutes. Some people seem to some people tend to be a little intimidated by walking with these big things on their feet, but he just hopped on and took off did a great job.”