Article on how mountain biking has brought business/helped the economy of Pocatello, ID. With all the resources surrounding it - outside of the BWCA - I wonder why Ely hasn't planned out/capitalized on something like this. Seems it could be a mecca for the various, thriving outdoor fitness - type people. Carefully plan out a system of bike trails, keeping in mind erosion & all that stuff, organize some races/festivals..I'm sure you'd get your "fringe" people out there objecting to bicycles in the woods & so on, but I imagine that would be minimal.
I know they added the marathon in the past couple of years, which is still working out the kinks like any new event. But mountain biking, road biking, triathlons both traditional and with paddling portions,... there are fanatics of all this stuff.... as in the article above, they'll go places to do cool stuff and spend money while they're in the area. IMO, seems like untapped potential... my fav "adventure travel" might be canoe camping, but there's more.
"Enjoy every sandwich."