Inaugural Pure Award Winner announced

Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism held in Lansing, Michigan in 2016.

This year’s theme, “Think. Act. Thrive”, for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism accurately describes the sustainability innovation individuals, communities and organizations around Michigan are exhibiting. Michigan is on the rebound, and almost on a daily basis we hear of another success story for Michiganders to be proud of.

The inaugural Pure Award was presented to the organizers of the Grand Haven Salmon Festival at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Lansing on April 19. The Pure Award recognizes innovative tourism industry efforts to keep Michigan’s resources and environment in pristine condition. The award is an initiative of the Resources and Environment implementation committee of the 2012-2017 Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan, whose goal is for Michigan to “Be internationally recognized for our stewardship of – and rich opportunities to experience – our natural, cultural, and heritage resources.” The Grand Haven Salmon Festival was selected as this year’s winner based on its strong commitment to minimizing impact on the environment. It is the only zero-waste-to-landfill event in the state. In 2015, 96 percent of the festival's waste was composted or recycled, and the remaining 40 pounds of trash were processed in a waste-to-energy incinerator. The Grand Haven Salmon Festival has documented their Journey towards Sustainability since 2011.

Four other sites were also recognized for their sustainability efforts: Chateau Chantal, for their installation of a 148.5 kW solar array; the City of Frankenmuth, for its construction of a fish passage at the Cass River Dam; Great Lakes Endurance, for its organization of minimal-impact silent sports events; and, the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, for its efforts to restore the quality of White and Muskegon Lakes.

The 2012-2017 Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan (MTSP) was developed by MSU Department of Community Sustainability faculty member Sarah Nicholls. A downloadable version of MTSP is available online. Nicholls is leading efforts to implement the plan on behalf of the Michigan Travel Commission and tourism industry members across the state. For information about the MTSP, or how to apply for the 2017 Pure Award, please email Sarah or check the MTSP website in the fall.

For more information about the 2012-2017 Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan, please contact Michigan State University faculty member Sarah Nicholls at Additionally, Michigan State University Extension has experts in tourism working throughout Michigan that can assist communities and counties with tourism development.

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