ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – This weekend, Escanaba is hosting an event for outdoor enthusiasts from across the country.
The National Trappers Association (NTA) Convention and Outdoor Expo began Thursday, July 27 at the U.P. State Fairgrounds.
This is the 64th annual event. It is also the third time it has been held in Escanaba.
“This is one of our best conventions at our organization,” said Karen Stewart-Linkhart, co-director of national and international affairs for the NTA. “This site is amazing. You won’t find more supportive people of having the convention here and of trapping itself.”
This year’s convention features more than 100 vendors, like Clay Creech from Missouri.
“I started attending this convention in the early 1990s,” Creech said. “I think I’ve missed one since then.”
Creech says there’s something for every outdoor enthusiast, from furs and artwork to antique traps and modern tools.
“I think they like to be around a lot of like-minded people and the camaraderie of being with other outdoorsmen,” he said. “A lot of people come here to get their supplies for the year’s trapping, and they just enjoy going to different parts of the country.”
Each day has a full lineup of demonstrations by a variety of speakers, including the cast of Discovery’s The Last Alaskans.
“We’re going to talk about our way of life up in the Arctic and how it is, because it’s a whole different world in the Arctic,” said Heimo Korth, one of the show’s stars. “Someone talks about cold here. One winter, for 42 days in a row, it never got warmer than 56 below. That doesn’t happen in Minnesota or Michigan!”
“Up there in the summertime, the sun is always up 24 hours,” said Edna Korth, fellow The Last Alaskans cast member. “It gets hot, but it doesn’t get muggy like it does here.”
Stewart-Linkhart says trapping is an important part of American history.
“Trappers opened up this country,” she said. “Lewis and Clark and that whole expedition, they were the people who explored and opened up the avenues for the settlers to come in.”
She says trapping is also essential to wildlife population management to this day.
“That’s why trappers do what they do,” said Stewart-Linkhart. “It’s about managing the resources so that we have a healthy and abundant population of raccoon, wolves, bobcats, muskrats, even possum. Trapping is one of the most well-regulated forms of outdoor sports that there is, and it makes it safe for the animal populations and for the trappers.”
The National Trappers Convention and Outdoor Expo continues Friday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is $10 for a day pass, $20 for a three-day pass, and free for children twelve and under.
Click here for a full list of vendors and the demo schedule.