Michigan’s Copper Country has earned a reputation from all corners of the globe as a destination for tourists – both those seeking experiential tourism, and those who want to delve into the region’s vast and varied cultural and economic history.
And if the efforts of the Finnish American Folk School this month come to fruition, the largest and boldest expression of cultural and experiential tourism will be on the horizon.
Organizers of the Folk School have planned a forum for January 28. Operating under the title “Reindeer Herding in the Copper Country – A Quest for Viability,” the forum begins at 12 p.m. at the Finnish American Heritage Center.
Participants will explore whether beginning an active reindeer herd – or possibly several herds – can become a reality in the Western Upper Peninsula.
Headlining this event is Finland-based reindeer herder Antti Pätsi, who’ll offer insights and perspectives about managing a herd in the northern Finland village of Posio. He also has in his background something that’s rather practical to would-be herders in Upper Michigan.
“Pätsi is an advanced student of agrology at the University of Lapland and traditional reindeer herder, who also has extensive experience in reindeer safari tourism,” Kurtti explained. “His course of studies examines the environment’s abilities to support reindeer herds and other livelihoods.”
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will be represented on this panel, as will the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance.
Along with the practicality of owning a herd in the Copper Country, it’s expected that panelists will delve into the topics of using reindeer byproducts, such as meat, hide and antlers, for economic gain.
Registration for the forum is $30 per person, and includes a lunch. Advanced registration is appreciated.
For more information about this forum, call the Finnish American Heritage Center at (906) 487-7549.