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University of Minnesota Extension

Economic contribution of the Long Lake Conservation Center

Key findings

People learning through nature-related activities about conservation
  • In 2019, the Long Lake Conservation Center (LLCC) contributed an estimated $1.1 million in economic activity to Aitkin County’s economy.
  • Directly, the LLCC spent $759,734 to operate. These operations led to $389,000 of economic activity at other businesses in the county.
  • Businesses that benefited most directly from the LLCC include real estate, hospitals, and restaurants and bars.
  • As part of its impact, the LLCC provided an estimated $605,548 in labor income to residents of Aitkin County. The facility also supported 25 jobs.

About this study

The Long Lake Conservation Center (LLCC) is located in the heart of Aitkin County. Its mission is to encourage the exploration, conservation, education and appreciation of nature. An Aitkin County park, the LLCC offers a variety of nature-related educational activities. A cornerstone is Long Lake Field Study, an overnight immersion experience for school students. Other offerings include week-long summer programs, adult programs, facility rentals, and community workshops. Visitors and program participants learn about the unique nature and geography of Aitkin County – helping youth and adults understand the role of nature in the county.

COVID-19, which challenged many components of our educational, social, and economic structures, also challenged the Long Lake Conservation Center, essentially shuttering it since the beginning of the pandemic. As LLCC and Aitkin County leaders envision the future of the Center, understanding its economic impact can help in discussions.

Communities often face a sudden and unanticipated change in their local economy. In these situations, community leaders often need to make quick but important decisions about how to react. University of Minnesota Extension’s economic emergency program provides community leaders with information to assist in making decisions regarding the community’s future.

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Authors: Brigid Tuck, senior economic impact analyst

University of Minnesota Extension prepared this report in partnership with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Center at the University of Minnesota. The EDA Center at University of Minnesota is part of the University Center network. University Centers have the mission of connecting University resources with the economic development community. The U.S. Economic Development Administration, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, funds the centers.

Reviewed in 2021

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