Monday, September 13, 2004
Steamboat Springs Meetings are being held countywide this week to discuss attracting tourists who want to experience the area's history and culture.
There is a chance that the state will offer grants to regions that want to pilot a cultural heritage tourism program, and Northwest Colorado could benefit from such an opportunity, said Noreen Moore, business resource director for Routt County.
"I'm totally jazzed about this thing," Moore said. "It really excites people about their communities."
The purpose of the meetings is to see whether communities in Northwest Colorado would be interested in such a program, and to help them begin to inventory their historic assets, such as museums and historic sites.
Judy Walden, a heritage tourism consultant, is meeting with focus groups throughout Routt County and also in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties. Meetings have been scheduled for Monday through Thursday. Today, there will be meetings in Yampa, Oak Creek and Phippsburg.
The meetings were arranged at the last minute with the help of Walden, Moore said.
"Because it has been going so rapidly, it has been hard to get the word out," she said.
About $550,000 in state funds have been earmarked to promote heritage tourism, she said. A portion of those funds could be available for the regional programs.
In addition to economic benefits, promoting heritage tourism would have community-wide benefits, Moore said.
"I look at this as not only an economic program ... but I also look at it as an incredible way for community building," she said.
The idea for the project was sparked by presentations at the Regional Economic Summit in May and recently at a meeting in Hahn's Peak about potential grant.
Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said that heritage tourism could provide new nue for the county and region.
"It seems to be one of the new and upcoming faces of tourism," he said.