Earth Economic and Political Module


PalisadeHead Cliffs, Silver Bay City

1.Were there any preexisting economic resources or advantages aboutyour area that caused people to settle there?

SilverBay City is located 3 miles from the Northern shore of Lake Superiorupon which the Palisade head Cliffs are found (Lake County, 2016).Since there are no human settlements at the cliffs, Silver Bay is thetown that harbors the site. The scenery at the Northern Shores ofLake Superior is a major attraction to tourists. Most of the touristswho visit the site may stop over at the City of Silver Bay for food,parking and accommodation. The site was a major contributor to thefounding of the city. The mining of taconite in Babbitt Minnesota,also contributed to the growth of the city (Lake County, 2016). Sincethe mineral could not be processed on site, manufacturers had totransport it to Silver Bay, which was sixty miles away, forprocessing.

2.In the past, what were the major economic activities of your site?

Themajor economic activities of Silver Bay revolved around taconiteprocessing and tourism (Otto et al, 2013). The processing plantemployed the highest number of people in Silver bay. The rest were inthe service industry and working for the government. The resourcesneeded for these industries were Taconite from Babbitt and touristsfrom Minnesota and other states. Silver Bay’s physicalcharacteristics and strategic location made it appropriate forservice provision and the building of a processing plant. The city’sclose proximity to the Palisade Head Cliffs enabled it to set up ahotels and motels for the visitors. The accessibility by rail fromBabbitt encouraged the building of a processing plant (Kraker, 2003).

3.Currently, what are the major economic activities of your site?

Theeconomic activity at Palisade Head cliffs is tourism. However, at thebordering community, the service industry takes the lion’s share inSilver Bay’s economy. People visit the city in order to have accessto Tettegouche National Park (Berg, 2015). The City is popular amonghikers, lovers of nature, and those who love cite seeing. Taconite isstill processed but not in high volumes as it used to in the past.The city has several physical characteristics that enable it tosupport the said industries. Among them are access roads to theremote sites that are popular to tourists, a good sewerage system,better housing plans, and hotels (Hemphill, 2003).

4.How does your site`s economic activity influence the development nearyour site?

SilverBay’s economy is responsible for the development of TettegoucheNational Park and the surrounding town of Two Harbors (TettegouchePark, 2016). The city’s local government is responsible forbuilding an access road to the tourist attraction sites within theCity. The town of Two Harbors greatly relies on Silver Bay for itssurvival. Most of the visitors to Two Harbors usually begin theirtour in Silver Bay and by extension end up in Two Harbors. A sizableproportion of Two Harbors’ population works in the industrieslocated in Silver Bay City. The economic success of Silver Bay hasbeen greatly responsible for the survival of Two Harbors (TettegouchePark, 2016).

5.Describe your landscape site`s contribution to the regional economydoes it provide a unique economic contribution or the same as thesurrounding area?

PalisadeHead Cliffs are a major contributor to the economy of Silver BayCity. Most of the visitors to the city arrive there with the goal ofhaving a glimpse of the geographical phenomenon that is Palisade headCliffs (Trip Advisor, 2016). The site’s contribution to the economyof the city is unique from that of other surrounding areas. Whilstthe surrounding towns and cities depend on mining and trading fortheir survival, The Palisade Head cliffs make the economy of SilverBay different because of the high number of tourists that theyattract Lake County, 2016). The cliffs have put the city on the mapincluding having a compelling presence in many American travelmagazines.

6.Identify any trends in economic activity for your area.

Duringits establishment in 1954, Silver Bay was supposed to be a housingbay for the Company’s taconite processing (Bray, 2016). A largerpercentage of the city worked for the taconite mining and processingcompany. However, as is common with most minerals, the taconitedeposits at Babbitt shrunk over the years therefore leading to thelaying offofmany workers. With the increased publicity of Palisadehead in most travel magazines, tourism slowly began top pick pace inthe late 80’s (Bray, 2016). The economic activity of the regionslowly transformed to make the service industry the breadbasket ofthe city.

7.What physical characteristics of the site constrained or limited yourlandscape site`s usage?

Therocky nature of the Palisade head makes it virtually impossible todevelop. The authorities cannot build any amenities on the site hencethe crucial role that Silver Bay City plays in supporting the tourismactivities at Palisade head. Save for an access road, and a celltower, Palisade Head is a largely underdeveloped area (TettegouchePark, 2016). Its close proximity to the lake also creates amicroclimate that is not conducive for human settlement. The area ofthe site is also too limited for any meaningful development. However,the major constraint to the utilization of Palisade head for moreeconomic activities is its classification as an area that requiresconservation (EPA, 2016).

8.What are the actual dollar land values within your site? Compare theland value(s) of your site with those found in the region, state,nationally, or globally.

Landon the Palisade Head cliffs is not for sale. However, at the SilverBay City, an acre of land goes for an average of $10,000 (Land Watch,2016). The value of the land decreases as one moves away from thecity center. Closer to the Palisade Head Cliffs, the land is cheaperbecause the area is highly underdeveloped. The region lacks socialamenities such as public pools, membership clubs, and entertainmentspots. The value of land at Silver Bay is low when compared to otherbig cities such as Chicago and New York. For instance, the averagevalue of an acre of land on the residential areas of New York isabout $90,000 (Land Watch, 2016).

9.Identify at least one positive externality, and describe itssignificance.

Themining of taconite in Babbitt is a positive externality for SilverBay City and Palisade Head Cliffs as a whole (Berge, 2015). Themineral is responsible for the high number of people that settled inSilver Bay. The settlements in Silver Bay had a positive impact onPalisade Head because they opened up the site for all and sundry.People who previously could not access the site could now use thecity as an access point. The success of Palisade Head cliffs isgreatly attributable to Silver Bay settlement that was initiated bythe mining of taconite at Babbitt, in Minnesota (Berge, 2015).

10.Identify at least one negative externality, and describe itssignificance.

Inthe 1960’s Palisade Head was in the news after it emerged that thetaconite processing plant was dumping taconite fillings in the LakeSuperior (Schaumburg, 1976). The revelation reduced the number ofvisitors to the site because many thought that they could be infectedif they stood too close to the harmful metal. It took years oftesting for visitor to restore their confidence in the site. Althoughthe company was charged with reckless disposal of harmful waste, thedamage had already been done. A more recent negative externality onthe site is the massive lay off by the taconite processing plant(Kraker, 2016). The increased level of unemployment has reduced thenumber of locals who visit the site.

11.Have the opportunity or constraints of your site changed over time.

Theopportunities for the community at my site were majorly based on theTaconite processing plant. Of the 3,000 people that live in SilverBay, about 800 work in the processing plant (Silver Bay, 2016).However, with the decreasing volume of taconite at the mining site inBabbitt, the company has been laying off staff lately. Theopportunities of the people have shifted from the mining industry tothe tourism industry. People that were laid off by the processingcompany were absorbed by the service industry in Silver Bay (Kraker,2016).

12.Describe the political history of your city, town, or village:

Accordingto Hemphill (2003), the political history of Silver Bay revolvesaround fighting pollution by the taconite processing plant. It tookthe intervention of the local assembly to petition the courts toprosecute the company. Initially, the company argued that it hadevery right to use the Palisade head Cliffs as a disposal point fortaconite fillings. In a case between the city and the processer, thecompany was found culpable of pollution and the courts ordered thatthe company build an inland disposal point (Schaumburg, 1976).

13.Identify a local policy that has influenced how your landscape hasbeen or is being used.

Thelocal policy at Silver Bay, prohibits all the sewerage companies fromdumping waste- treated or untreated- into the Lake Superior.According to Lake County (2016), all the sewerage installation in newbuildings should be done in accordance with the provisions of thecounty government. Septic tanks are prohibited in areas that areclose to the lakeshore. The county officials also design allbuildings in the regions (silver bay, 2016). The building plan of thecity is primarily dependent on the available land portions. It is forthis reason that the city officials advice all property developers toconfirm whether the parcel of land is legible for development beforemaking any purchases.

14.Identify a state policy that has influenced how your landscape hasbeen or is being used.

State policy allows the locals to visit the Tettgouche National Park,free of charge (, 2016). The locals can also use the sitefor their own benefit. This includes fishing, harvesting woodresponsibly, and recreation. Visitors from other counties and statesare required to pay a fee before accessing the site. The state hasthis policy for all the natural sites. This policy seeks to motivatethe locals to be key players in conserving the sites, rather thanmaking them feel as though they were visitors in their own land (Ottoet al, 2013).

15.Identify a national policy that has influenced how your landscape hasbeen or is being used.

Therivers and harbors Act of 1899 prevents people from disposing harmfulwaste in water bodies (Schaumburg, 1976). The Act was invoked whenthe locals realized that the Taconite processing plant was disposingharmful waste in the river. National policy also prevents people frombuilding settlements within the site (EPA, 2016). The site is aprotectorate under the federal department of environment andconservation.

16.Describe a political process that influences how your city, town, orvillage landscape is used or managed?

Mostof the policies that govern the use of Palisade head are created atSilver Bay’s Town Hall (Tribune, 2016). The council members decideon laws that will make the site to be more helpful to the people. Thecity of Silver bay is also responsible for revenue collection at thePalisade head.


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Tribune, N., (2016). Town hall meeting planned for Silver Bay todiscuss mining downturn. Duluth News. Retrieved from &lt June 17, 2016.

Trip Advisor (2016). Palisade Head. Retrieved from&lt June 17, 2016