Weather conditions in the Western Upper Peninsula have had a devastating impact on area small businesses this winter season. Warmer than usual temperatures and a shortage of snow are putting a damper on outdoor recreation activities such as snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing, activities which bring tourists to the area. Tourism and recreation comprise 85 percent of the small businesses’ annual revenue in the Western U.P.  

Just in the month of December, 43 Gogebic and Ontonagon businesses reported combined revenue losses of over $3.1 million, with January losses projected in excess of $3.8 million, according to the Lake Gogebic Area Chamber of Commerce. 

The Western U.P. Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the chamber reached out to Michigan State Representatives and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to request support. 

A press release issued by the Lake Gogebic Area Chamber of Commerce reads: “This crisis situation is comparable to a hurricane or any other natural disaster, minus the devastation or loss of life, and should be given the same attention as any other relief effort. These businesses need help and support immediately and do not have the luxury of waiting another two to three weeks in the hopes that conditions change.”