Commissioner Jeff Horrocks holds up one of the posters for the TJ Maxx photo shoot in Emery County.
The Emery County Travel Bureau met to discuss travel and tourism in Emery County. The goal of the travel bureau is to increase visitors to Emery County, thereby increasing revenue for local business and tax dollars for the county including the transient room tax and the restaurant tax.
Mike McCandless is the chairman for the travel bureau. Tina Carter is on staff. Carter gave the financial report. She said the transient room tax is looking good as well as the restaurant tax, the tax is expected to have raised $30,000 by years end. The budget has increased a little due to funds for the Buckhorn Information Center and the Horse Canyon information center.
The Emery County travel guide is being reprinted for use in upcoming trade and travel shows. These brochures have been placed at the Ty Fork rest area on SR-6 and they can't keep them in stock there, people are picking them up for travel information. The bureau will look at a cheaper method of advertising San Rafael Country as the travel guides are quite expensive. Visitors also want more maps which show specific areas.
Chanel Atwood from CRIK reported to the travel board on travel in the area. She appreciated the support of the Emery County travel bureau. The CRIK information center is located in the lobby of the College of Eastern Utah museum. She said there aren't as many people asking for ATV maps, she thinks these are repeat visitors who are getting to know the areas where they can ride and those off limits. She said hikers are asking for more information and maps on forest trails. The Dinosaur Diamond is still popular and she sends many visitors to the Cleveland-Lloyd dinosaur quarry. Another popular spot is Crystal Geyser down by Green River. The mineral formations there are quite interesting and the geyser erupts twice a day.
McCandless said there might be plans to clean out the geyser and increase the eruptions. There has been so much garbage thrown into it over the years it is plugged. Atwood also needs a history of the Green River Missile Base as some of the visitors are interested in learning more about it. She also needs event information for next year's events so a calendar of events can be prepared. She is working with Tina on the information center projects like Buckhorn. There have been a lot of the workers for the power plants into the museum asking about attractions in the area they can visit on their days off.
Motel rooms in Green River were booked for the Green River Goblin Valley Ultra Marathon. Two hundred runners came to the race. The course had to be altered a little due to rain storms, but it was a nice cool day for running and there were enough volunteer helpers and the entire race turned out good.
Shannon Hiatt came before the board with a funding request for a new golf tournament at Millsite Golf Course. The golf course will expand to 18 holes in the 2011 golf season. Hiatt said in order for the course to be profitable, there needs to be a lot of out-of-town visitors in to use the course. With 18 holes many new people can be attracted to golf the course. Hiatt would like to hold a two day golf tournament at the course the last weekend in June 2011. The information promoting the course as an 18 hole course can help get people here for the tournament as well as practice before the tournament. He wants to advertise in the Utah Golf Association magazine as well as put flyers at golf courses around the state. You will need a handicap to play in the golf tournament.
Another aspect of the new nine will be the development of a traveling golf team that will go to Richfield, Palisades, Price and Delta and other courses to play and their traveling teams will visit Millsite to play.
When the players come to the Millsite tournament they will each be given a welcome gift full of promotional material from Emery County and gifts.
McCandless said the idea sounds great and travel bureau funds can only be used for advertising and promotion. He suggested Hiatt look for corporate sponsors as well. McCandless said the travel bureau is very committed to the golf course. Funds from the transient room tax are being used to pay the debt for Ferron City for the golf course expansion.
The travel bureau is working with San Juan county on learning to attract out of the country visitors to the area. These visitors look for group packages. The travel bureau is working to put travel packages together.
The travel bureau is advertising on Delta Airlines and many of the flights hit overseas travelers. It will be a five minute spot and will reach 2 million passengers traveling on Delta.
The trails committee is working on routes and signs. Keith Brady, Green River representative to the board said they are working on a path from Green River to the Crystal geyser. The trail to the geyser would be open to motorized and non-motorized travel.
McCandless has been nominated to the State Park trails board and if he is appointed it will be a benefit to our area in obtaining projects. Currently SITLA is easy to work with on obtaining trail rights of way and this might change as they are making rule changes. Trail right of ways in the past have been obtained for the Poker Ride trail and the trail connecting Castle Dale and Huntington along the foot hills.
Security cameras will be installed at the new Buckhorn Information Center, the restrooms were only in a few days when they were shot. Signs will be placed at the center and someone will be there on high use weekends to hand out information and maps. Histories of the area will also be placed on the signs.
Work is also ongoing at the Horse Canyon rest area. The parking lot has been black topped and curb and gutter installed along with a restroom. The site will expand further in the future to include interpretive signs and maybe a small visitors center.
The film industry is beginning to notice Emery County and the show Mantracker from Canada shot two episodes in the county recently. A reality show is planning to come in the spring. McCandless met with the producers on a major motion picture to be shot next year in the Goblin Valley area and he hopes to convince producers to base the production out of Green River.
The TJ Maxx and Marshall ads are out in their stores now, these were shot in Emery County earlier in the season. This production rented rooms in Green River and ate in the Green River restaurants while they were here.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks reported the bill to kill the restaurant tax will be submitted again this year. He urged everyone to work against the removal of the restaurant tax. A number of counties rely on this tax to meet their debt obligation. Carbon County uses the tax for improvements at their fairgrounds. Everyone needs to be educated on the importance of this tax that's paid by the consumer and not the business owner.
Travel shows the travel bureau will attend include: Denver, Colo. in January; Quartzite, Ariz. in January; Salt Lake in February; Phoenix, Ariz. in February and Salt Lake in March.
The premier of 127 hours will be on Nov. 6 in Salt Lake. This movie was filmed in part in Emery County and tells the story of Aron Ralston the hiker who became stuck in a remote slot canyon and was pinned by a boulder forcing him to cut his own arm off to survive. Danny Boyle was the director for the film. McCandless said he has tickets for the premier if anyone was interested. The new brochures for ATV travel just came out reported Mark H. Williams.