Boundary Waters Connect
Fostering sustainable wilderness edge communities where you can live, work, and play.
Boundary Waters Connect is committed to fostering sustainable wilderness edge communities where you can live, work and play. We seek to connect people and resources in ways that grow our local economies and make our communities more vibrant.
For several years, NMW’s economic & community development task force has been researching rural trends, as well as talking with civic leaders, legislators, and local businesses. What we learned reinforced our belief that rural communities and wilderness enjoy a unique and mutually beneficial relationship.
We found that overwhelmingly people choose to move to rural northeastern Minnesota because of the high quality of life. In fact, only about one-third of recent newcomers chose their location primarily for a job. A majority of new residents chose wilderness edge communities, in part, to live among people with similar values. These values include access to outdoor recreation and a closeness to nature.
Counties with recreational amenities do better economically than other rural counties; recreation drives varied economic benefits. Furthermore, remote access to work and education can accelerate a growing “brain gain” in the population of residents ages 30 - 49 in rural Minnesota. These newcomers have significant education, skills, connections, spending power, and children.
Thus, creating especially welcoming communities is essential for economic growth. In addition, sharing and celebrating the diversity of in-migration stories can further grow our rural economies.