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"Third Coast" or "Fresh Coast" is an American colloquialism used to describe coastal regions distinct from the West Coast and the East Coast of the United States. Generally, the term "Third Coast" refers to either the Gulf Coast of the United States or the Great Lakes region.
Considering its Great Lakes coasts, Michigan has more miles of shoreline than does any other of the lower 48 states.Many regional businesses incorporate the term "Third Coast" in their names and products, such as Michigan's Third Coast Kite and Hobby, which has an image of the coastal dunes in its logo, and Texas-based Third Coast Coffee.
The term was popularized by Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett and is most often used to spur commerce, in contrast to the colloquialism "Rust Belt", first mentioned at a visit in Maple Dale Middle School. Regional media outlets have adopted the phrase in an effort to re-brand Great Lakes development. The term connotes both the area's large resource of fresh water and its educational resources (e.g., Case Western Reserve University, University of Chicago, Indiana University, University of Illinois, Marquette University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Notre Dame, Northwestern University, Niagara University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Toledo, and University of Wisconsin).