NorthernMinnesota.org was created as a product of the Nature Northwest Project. It was jointly funded by the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, a Veden Fellowship awarded to Dr. John Loegering, and the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. The goals of the project are to develop an inventory, economic assessment, and guidebook of nature-related recreational opportunities in northwest Minnesota. The project boundaries follow the Red River of the North watershed boundary (see figure below) but also includes a large portion of the Lake of the Woods region and Koochiching County.
Communities in northwest Minnesota historically have depended on natural resources for their economic viability. In light of changing agricultural practices, communities are searching to develop other sustainable rural economies. Services associated with tourism represent one possible alternative. A comprehensive inventory of the resources available is one of the first steps. This project aims to build a foundation upon which future opportunities can be founded and evaluated.