Local units of government, business owners, and stakeholders in the Lake Mille Lacs area are exploring strategies to improve the economy in light of the recent downturn resulting from the low Walleye population. While the Minnesota DNR and others work toward restoring the Walleye population of Lake Mille Lacs, there is also a need to diversify the region’s economy by promoting other cultural, historic, recreational, and scenic qualities of the area.
To assist with this, ECRDC along with the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) and the Region 5 Development Commission (R5DC) initiated a process with the State of Minnesota to conduct a feasibility study for establishing a Scenic Byway route around the lake. The hope is that a Scenic Byway designation might tie many of these components together into a tourism destination with broader appeal. MnDOT has approved funding for an initial designation study that is set to be completed over the next year.