Ely’s city fathers and mothers are probably outside right now happily talking about their town’s designation by Outside Magazine as one of the nation’s Best Small Towns.
Calling the northern Minnesota gateway to the Boundary Waters one of “Our 10 Favorite Adventure Burgs,” the magazine says in its August issue:
There’s a reason iconic outdoorsmen like polar adventurer Will Steger and nature photographer Jim Brandenburg call Ely (pop. 3,700) home: It’s the main gateway for the 1.3-million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As such, main street is lined with outfitters and outdoor-equipment stores, and even the local radio station, WELY—a quirky polka-and-rock channel—incorporates a North Woods twist: They broadcast daily “wilderness shout-outs” to people camped out in the backcountry.
The Mesabi Daily News gets a comment:
“We are very appreciative of the recognition,” said Linda Fryer, administrative director of the Ely Chamber of Commerce. “Over the years Ely has prided itself in the fact that is has gained national recognition as a vacation destination.”