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Airport Archives: Resorts Are Big Users of Airport

Resorts are big users of airport
Staff Writer, Brainerd Daily Dispatch

“Brainerd’s business outlook and potential would certainly hurt without the airport. It makes us as attractive as a metro area, and gives us an edge as a place to go when a resort area is favored.”

The sentiment behind the words of Mike Rahn, public relations manager for Madden’s Resorts, is heartily echoed toward the Brainerd-Crow Wing Airport by other resort owners and area businesspersons.

“It’s important for convention meeting planners who schedule speakers who have to come from distant points—a lot of those meetings wouldn’t even be scheduled if they couldn’t get those dignitaries here,” commented Dutch Cragun, owner of Cragun’s Lodge and Conference Center.

“The airport is very significant to our landing certain convention business,” added Rahn.

All of the major resorts contacted—Cragun’s, Madden’s, Pleasant Acres, and Breezy Point—along with Brainerd International Raceway, another business heavily dependent on transient attendants, provide travel service to and from the airport. Cragun’s often charters buses for large groups to be transported.

“I don’t know, and I guess I never will, how many race fans use the airport,” said Dick Roe, general manager of BIR. “I only know that on all the race weekends, all the rental cars they have there are rented out.”

Cragun says his guests’ use of the airport has grown in proportion with his resort, which has doubled in size in the past year.

Rahn said “use of the airport is bound to increase, as resorts get more aggressive in scheduling convention business.”

They all agree that the rejuvenated airport facility is fine in itself, but would like to see certain modifications in service.

“More flights to more places would be helpful to us,” commented Dave Gravdahl of Breezy Point Resort.

“Some people are leery of the old props,” said Roe. “I’m anxious for the time when they will use better jets, and flights will be faster, more comfortable, and can accommodate more people.”

Cragun would like to see the addition of a flight weather service in Brainerd, whereby temperatures recorded at the airport here are transmitted directly to television stations. Alexandria has such a service.

“Every time they would say ‘Brainerd’ on the air, it’d be a good word for us,” Cragun said.

Alan Gunsbury, owner-manager of Pleasant Acres Resort and the Quarterdeck, calls the airport “the key to the future growth of this area.

“With an expanded airport, we will become a center of commerce,” he said. “That obviously will increase property values and will bring more business up. New businesses will need supplies shipped in. The whole thing ties together.

“The new airport facility signals a renewal of Brainerd.”



Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport
16384 Airport Rd, Suite 5 · Brainerd, MN 56401-5852 · 218-825-2166