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My wife and I visited Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho in August. We made the trip primarily to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, a “must do” on our bucket-list. It was an incredible experience seeing millions of acres of snow-capped mountains, western plains, Yellowstone’s ecosystem of geothermal activity, extensive wildlife, rivers, lakes and waterfalls.

Every part of our great country has something unique to offer! Travel Michigan (part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation) recently announced a $2.39 million fall advertising campaign that will highlight the beauty of Michigan’s fall colors. In addition to in-state advertising, this campaign will include ads in Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Milwaukee and Green Bay. Michigan’s efforts to motivate in-state travel as well as attract out-of-state visitors to see fall colors is, in my opinion, a worthwhile expenditure helping stimulate the economy and creates a positive return on the State’s investment. As tourists of varying interests come to Michigan, they see incredible fresh-water resources and, hopefully, will be motivated to experience boating, sailing and fishing. Once they have been here, I’m convinced they are likely to return.

Thinking about the fall reminds me how a portion of the boat public stop boating after Labor Day, missing out on some of the prettiest times of the year. Boating does not have to be a three or four-month season. Depending on weather, it can be a six-month season. About six years ago, legislation was passed to require schools to start after Labor Day. Even though it was controversial, this change provides families an opportunity to extend their summer resulting in a longer tourism season benefiting the state’s economy. Even with post-Labor Day school openings, there are additional boating opportunities available after the Labor Day holiday weekend.

In addition to boating, one of my interests is British sports cars. As a member of a regional MG owners’ club, one event I’m looking forward to is the Club’s fall color tour. Club members meet at a designated location and head out on country roads when colors are at their fullest, stopping at several cider mills along the way. Not a new idea, but one that can be duplicated on the water.

One suggestion is to plan a fall color boating tour with some of your boating friends. If your boat is at a marina, why not join up with several other boaters and plan a day route to highlight fall colors. Plan a stop along the route at a dockside restaurant for lunch. If you have a trailerable boat, your color tour could be trailing up north with several other boaters to enjoy a new area including dinner with an over-night stay. All it takes is a little planning to continue boating after Labor Day. Here’s to vibrant colors!

By Van W. Snider, Jr.
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