Could old mining sites be part of tourism growth in the county?
The Emery County Travel bureau meets every other month to discuss travel and tourism related items. Tina Carter is the employee for the travel bureau. She reported the transient room tax collected in 2009 was up $5,000 from 2008. So far this year, in January $17,223.24 was collected. In February 13,469.29 was collected. From July-December 2009, $20,000 in restaurant tax was collected. Fifty percent of the restaurant tax goes to the trail system in identifying trails and maintaining them and also creating new trails.
Each meeting the travel bureau discusses requests for funding from various entities. The money from the travel bureau can go for advertising costs only. They can't fund prizes, food or items of that nature. The bureau granted the Emery County Fair $2,280 for advertising. For the Desertview Pro Rodeo they granted $2,908 for tickets, advertising and posters. The bureau granted $2,250 for the MECCA bike club for their spring festival in Green River and the Swell in May.
The San Rafael Classic Sprint will be held on July 9-10 at the Huntington Lake State park. This is a triathlon. The Little Grand Canyon marathon will be on Sept. 11 and the Crandall Canyon Marathon in August. For these two marathons $3,869 was approved for advertising.
The travel bureau is also checking on the costs of advertising internationally. Another angle the bureau is considering is two minute spots for Delta Destinations. These spots cost $32,500 and would air for one month approximately 17,000 times. The bureau will find out more information like which flights the spots target. Carter said she is going to complete the application for co-op funding which would cover half the cost of the ad.
Preparations are underway for the Arapeen ATV jamboree the first week of September. The website has been updated and brochures have been passed out at the recent travel shows.
Keith Brady, board member is working on the new Outlaw Trails Jamboree to be held in Green River on April 29-May 1. Their website is outlawtrailsjamboree.com for more information.
At the recent travel shows the board members have made numerous contacts and passed out information about Emery County. Brady felt he didn't have the information that people wanted at the Phoenix show. There were sportsmen there who wanted information on fishing and hunting opportunities and all they had to pass out was a small fishing brochure. He feels if they return to that show in future years, they need to gear the promotional material more along the lines of what the sportsmen are interested in doing should they visit our county. Mark Williams reported there were a lot of people at the shows interested in rafting and he thought it would be helpful to have one brochure that deals with rafting specifically. It was mentioned that the hunting and fishing proclamations contain good information for sportsmen. Brady also mentioned they need more photos of hunting and fishing for the booth and in the promotional material. Another idea was to have bags made promoting Emery County to pass out at the shows for the people to carry their information.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said, "Thanks to all of you who have donated your time to go to these shows. We appreciate you."
Williams mentioned the trails board is working on a map. They are working to GPS trails to put them on the map. After the information is gathered it will be passed along to the Bureau of Land Management so they can recognize non-motorized trails. The trails board is also working on rights-of-way on some of the trails.
For the Buckhorn Information center only one comment was received and it was concerning the water troughs. The visitor center will have a host on really busy weekends to pass out information. A letter of support has been received from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance for the project. They said the project will be beneficial to recreationalists visiting the Swell. The information center can also be used as a staging area for search and rescue operations.
Chanel Atwood from the Castleland Recreation information center thanked the bureau for their support. CRIK promotes Emery County. The information center is located at the Prehistoric Museum in Price. There are eight major contributors to their organization including Emery County, Carbon County, CEU museum, Price City, Castle Dale, Green River, forest service, BLM, travel bureau and state parks. One project they are working on is to update the museums in the county with new brochures.
One idea the travel bureau had was an outlaw museum somewhere in the county. There are a lot of people interested in outlaw history. Another idea is a river runners festival. The river runners want to become more involved in promoting the county and would like to have their information on the websites. Green River has a Destination Green River website where the river runners could advertise.
The bureau voted to attend four travel shows in 2011. The Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake and Quartzsite, Ariz. shows.
Green River City requested help in procuring a dinosaur exhibit for the John Wesley Powell Museum. They are applying for a grant for $15,000 and the exhibit will cost $35,000.
Williams told of a business they visited while he was wintering in Quartzsite which was at an old townsite and they had taken abandoned mine buildings and turned it into a bar, fast food establishment. They had a live band and old cars and the atmosphere was the drawing point of the business. Williams thinks something similar could be made into a tourist attraction in our area. A business for conducting old mining town tours could be established in the area.