Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Visitors to Lake Superior's North Shore are leaving a mess behind during pandemic

Jul 11, 2020 09:24AM ● By Editor
From the Morning News with Dave Lee on WCCO Radio - July 8, 2020

Those planning a trip to Minnesota’s North Shore are being told to rethink their visit. Nina Simonowicz owns a tourism marketing company in Grand Marais and says tourists won’t be able to do everything they want to do.

Simonowicz says closures caused by COVID-19 are limiting resources. Locals have complained this summer about visitors leaving trash throughout the area and non compliance of stringent COVID-19 guidelines in effect.  North Shore locals are asking visitors get their acts together, or go somewhere else.

There is also an issue of visitors leaving trash behind.  Simonowicz told the Morning News with Dave Lee that tourists are trashing public places, and one group even emptied an RV septic system on the side of the road.

"My husband came back early one morning from walking the dog and some some camper emptied their septic off the sides of the road," Simonowicz says.  "And we're 2.5 miles from the Grand Marais Municipal park where you can dump your vehicle for $5."

COVID-19 restrictions could be catching first time visitors off guard and causing the issues. Simonowicz says anyone planning to visit the North Shore needs to plan ahead and be prepared for changes to their plans.

Simonowicz tells WCCO, "If you are a person who struggled with being flexible and not being able to do everything you wanted on your list, I think you're gonna be disappointed. Because you know what, worst case scenario, I'm gonna sit on a beach and look at that lake. And I might not get to the state parks.  Bring a cooler, have a backup food plan, bring some bug spray.  It's just different."

Local business are also struggling to get patrons to follow facemask guidelines according to Simonowicz. 

She tells Dave Lee, "Facemasks are required at a lot of places, and there's a lot of rudeness associated with that. When someone says either a facemask is required or you have to pull that mask over your nose, you know, a lot of the businesses are reporting that that people react really negatively. They feel like they're being told what to do, and they don't like it."

She adds, "The farther up the North Shore you get, the more stringent the protocals are.  We have an older population.  We don't have an ICU, we don't have a ventilator.  There's summer traffic, there's road construction.  We're over two hours to the nearest hospital. So we follow Minnesota health, CDC about what to do."

To hear the radio interview and read related stories, follow this link to the WCCO Radio website.