Emery County: A lot to see and do Super Host workshop promotes county
The Emery County libraries along with the Emery County Travel Bureau presented a Super Host workshop. You might wonder what a Super Host is. You can be a Super Host. Everyone in the county can be a Super Host. When visitors come into the county and stop at our stores, museums, libraries and other spots in the county, we need to know what to say and where to send them so they get the most out of their visit to Emery County.
The Super Host workshop gave ideas on how to promote the county. Several speakers addressed the various activities there are to do in Emery County and how to get visitors to participate in these activities and see the sights in the county.
Randy Jensen was the first to address the audience. He is the chairman of the board for the Museum of the San Rafael. "A trip to the museum is experiencing history." Jensen showed slides of the museum and pictures of local sites to visit. He showed many of the animals there are to see in the county including big horn sheep and antelope. There are taxidermy animals in the museum as well as murals painted by Clifford Oviatt. You can also explore the San Rafael and find the live animals in their natural environment. You can direct visitors to the pioneer museum to look at the implements of the pioneer era. Owen Olsen has a small pioneer village in Cleveland and you can call Cleveland City at 435-653-2310 for a tour.
One place all visitors need to go to is the Wedge Overlook or Little Grand Canyon. There are several bike trails in that area. Another place to visit is the Buckhorn Draw where rock art abounds. The MK Tunnel site is of historic importance to the county. You can send tourists out looking for rocks with fossils. There is Little Holes Canyon, the Spanish Trail, writings in Box Canyon, Matt Warner drawings and many others. Jensen said just a drive through the Swell is spectacular even if you don't know where any of the rock art sites are located. The Buckhorn Panel is easy to find. The booklet "San Rafael Country, We're closer than you think," has many of the things to do and see in the county and exact directions to these places. These books are available at the museums and other places around the county. Jensen said visits to the Rochester panel and the Cleveland/Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry are a must when visiting the area. On the way to the dinosaur quarry you can see petrified trees in sandstone. In Desert Lake wash there are pioneer writings and petroglyphs.
Jensen said not to be afraid to get out there and promote our county and send people to see the attractions and visit the museums.
Ray Petersen talked about river sports in the county. He is an avid river runner and said the rivers in Emery County offer world class adventure.
Petersen said the Desolation Canyon float is 84 miles in length. You put in at Sand Wash. There are historical sites along the way and you can view Rocky Mountain big horn sheep. There are also Indian writings along the river. There is wild country on both sides of the river. A permit is required to float Desolation Canyon. You must go to recreation.gov. Half of the permits go to private individuals and half go to the commercial outfitters. Some outfitters in our area include Holiday Expeditions, Moki Mac and another that outfits is Colorado River Expeditions from out of the area. The outfitters provide a good trip, cost is about $200 a day. The Desolation float is a four-seven day trip. You take everything you need with you and camp along the riverside. For Desolation you will get out at Swasey's Rapid.
Gray Canyon is also a great float. It's an open stretch and doesn't require a permit. There are three sites along there with pit toilets and a campground. There are moderate rapids and a raft is recommended.
Labyrinth Canyon, canoes are OK. You put in at Green River and float to the confluence of the Green and the Colorado. You need a jet boat to pick you up, because you don't want to go into Cataract Canyon in a canoe. For the Labyrinth Canyon you need a permit from the Moab BLM office.
Another nice float is from Green River to Mineral Bottom and Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom.
The Muddy River also offers float opportunities when the river is flowing well. Inflatable kayaks and canoes are good on the Muddy. You can go from Lone Tree to Hondoo in a day, but it's more comfortable to take camping equipment and make it a two day trip.
On the San Rafael, a popular float is Fullers Bottom to the Swinging Bridge. You need a water flow of at least 300 cfs to make this trip. An inflatable kayak or canoe is good here.
Rigid kayaks are needed for Straight Canyon or Black Box. These two areas are extreme and only experts should try them.
The outfitters will rent canoes, kayaks and rafts and will shuttle you back to your vehicle after a float or drive your vehicle to your take out point where possible. Permits are not needed to float the Muddy or San Rafael.
LaMar Guymon from San Rafael Country Adventures spoke next. He said he spends a lot of time mountain biking on the desert. There is the Good Water rim trail that is a single track bike trail around the rim of the Little Grand Canyon. You start at the campground at the Wedge. This trail has been featured in the Utah Mountain Biking magazine as the editor's pick. As many as 300 riders a day have used the trail. The mountain bikers come into the area and camp, buy food and gas and add to the economy. It's important for the locals and the businesses including the convenience and grocery stores to make these visitors feel welcome.
The MECCA bike club has two bike festivals each year that draw people into the area. The spring ride in Green River and the fall ride at the Wedge.
The bike trails from the Swell are advertised in magazines all over the world. Visitors from other countries come to ride the bike trails available here. Riders from Canada remarked to Guymon that this is the most beautiful place they have ever ridden. There are thousands of places to ride here. There are museums to visit. There are trails to ride, both north and south of I-70.
Guymon said, "Mountain biking is fun and good exercise. Our scenic areas are here to stay and the people here are the key to make things successful around here. People need to know where to go to get information on the places we have around here. We need to be able to instruct them on how to get there. The Swell has been written up in travel magazines as a beautiful place to ride. We need to be able to pass out visitor information to people from an accessible place. We need to direct people to the places we have here. We need maps in the convenience stores."
Jonathan Hunt from the Utah State Parks said Emery County is lucky to have four state parks. Huntington Lake, Green River State Park and golf course, Goblin Valley and Millsite. Some of the state parks in Utah are by lakes or reservoirs. They offer camping and water sports as well as fishing. Goblin Valley offers unique camping spots and Yurts. Huntington Park has 28 camping sites and is booked most weekends in the summer. Huntington is the spot for the triathlon each summer. Swimming is big at the reservoir because the water is warm. There is a trampoline and plans are underway for a waterslide or something for the smaller children. Millsite is a popular spot for family reunions because there is a lake, ATV trails and a golf course with restaurant. Millsite is a beautiful park with the blue water and the gray cliffs. There are 20 sites, half with electricity. All of the parks have year-round camping opportunities.
Goblin Valley offers tours and is open year-round. Each fall the Goblin Valley marathon is held.
The state parks also conduct a winter program on the mountain where they groom and fix trails for cross country skiing and snowmobiling. Reservations can be made for state parks four months in advance.
Those in attendance commented that better signage is needed in the county to advertise the state parks and the Emery County Aquatics Center.
Jordan Leonard, course manager at the Millsite Golf Course talked about the course. He asked why you should always take two pairs of pants golfing with you. The answer is you might get a hole in one.
The Millsite Golf Course was constructed in 1988 with nine holes and two years ago the back nine was completed. The course is open from March 15-Dec. 15 each year. There is a pro-shop, mens, ladies and senior leagues and many golf tournaments including the Miss Emery tournament and Desert classic as well as the United Way tournament. There are lessons for junior golfers and the course is active with the Emery High golf team that recently took fifth place in state.
The Millsite course is challenging. When the waterfall is flowing it is a spectacular sight. "Travelers are always amazed at the beauty of our golf course. This course has endless potential and we are an asset to the county," said Leonard. The golf course website is millsitegolfcourse.com
Shannon Hiatt spoke about Emery County and bouldering. "I've lived here for 22 years now. I tell people the county I live in is 90 miles across and 10,000 people with no stop lights. Our county is special. Everything here is special. We have world renowned bike riding. Millsite is unique. The Wedge is unique. When I first came here as the Emery County Recreation Director we were known for Shawn Bradley the basketball player and our mine disaster. Since that time I believe Emery County has done a much better job of promoting itself. We have the Aquatics Center now, and that's special for Emery County. You can bring your grandkids there and have fun. You can invite visitors to go there. The climbers use the Aquatic Center to shower. They are great people. At first we didn't understand the climbers. But, now that we've talked to them and gotten to know them, they are great people. They are from all walks of life. I have set up a world map at the Aquatics Center and the climbers mark on there where they are from. They climb mainly in late February to spring and again in the fall."
Commissioner James Nelson said he has befriended many of the rock climbers. They are from Australia, Scotland, Spain and all over. He asked them how they found little old Emery County. They tell him that climbers know Joe's Valley and it's the top in the lower 48 states. It's listed in climbing books and magazines.
When he asks them what can Emery County do to help out, they say everything is great. The Salt Lake climbing club pays for port-a-pottys to be placed in the climbing areas.
They told him the Utah people are very friendly. They climbers are very clean and keep their campsites clean. "We can grow our tourism by being friendly and having repeat visitors," said Commissioner Nelson.
Food Ranch caters to the climbers and is very accommodating. There is wi-fi there for them and at the pool.
Joe's Valley is featured in climbing movies.
It was mentioned there needs to be a brochure at the local businesses with maps that show where businesses are located.
Tina Carter from the Emery County Travel Bureau said that we are all ambassadors for Emery County. The people are on the front lines and the first impressions we give people will stick with those people and determine whether or not they want to return to the county. It's cheaper to bring a visitor back into the county than attract a new visitor.
Carter gave facts about tourism and pointers for businesses.
Tourism is the world's largest and fastest growing industry. This industry is vital to the growth and economic well being of Emery County. On average each visitor spends $80 daily for goods and services.
This industry involves every man, woman and child residing in our community. It does not matter where you work, your contribution to the tourism industry is very important.
Hospitality means going beyond the necessary demands of business and social commerce. It calls for a willingness to go more than halfway in being friendly. It distinguishes great employees from those who are merely adequate. Attitude is everything in greeting customers to our businesses. Courtesy, friendliness, helpfulness and a smile. These are the elements of hospitality that make up a warm welcome. Greet guests as soon as they enter. If you are busy, give a smile and nod to indicate that you know they are there. Keep your workspace tidy. Carry yourself with pride. Treat everyone with respect. Smile sincerely at your customers.
Carter said there are a number of helpful websites you can direct travelers to; www.sanrafaelcountry.com there is also the new San Rafael Country app which offers deals to visitors from local businesses. The visitors guide is also very help and it contains a detailed map.
Roxanne Jensen one of the event organizers thanked everyone for coming. She said she learned some new things about the county, "If we all work together we can keep our county growing. We need to serve those visitors to our county. We have a great county with a lot to offer."