from the December 4, 2007 edition of the Christian Science Monitor
OK, that problem is solved
By most accounts, there isn't much reason to travel to Västerbotten or Norbotten, two of Sweden's northernmost counties. Oh, the occasional tourist comes for whitewater rafting, but the region "is in the middle of nowhere, so no one knows about it," says Thorbjörn Holmlund. He's a tourism promoter and admits there have been days when "I've come close to crying." But now he can foresee a bright future. Why? It's all due to a vote last week by Norbotten commissioners, approving of a moose. But not just any moose. This one will be man-made – of wood – and construction could begin any day now. In a place already teeming with the real thing, how is a man-made moose going to close the tourism gap? Well, it will straddle a mountaintop on the boundary between Västerbotten and Norbotten, with its forelegs in one county and its hindquarters in the other. It also will be as long as it is high: 150 feet. An equally tall man-made "pine tree" beside it will contain an elevator that lifts visitors to the entrance, the critter's mouth. From inside, there will be spectacular views of the countryside below, and in the – ahem – belly of the beast will be a restaurant, a 350-seat concert hall, a conference center, and, of course, a gift shop. The project is projected to cost $9.4 million. After that vote by the commissioners, Holmlund told journalists, "My whole body is shaking with joy."
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