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     Federal Forum

Stimulating Economic Vitality and Resource Conservation in Gateway and Tribal Communities

September 15, 2009

Federal Perspectives Panel

1. Recommend the three organizations that put together today's forum (Thank You!) follow-up with more in-depth input to the Obama Administration as it takes on a comprehensive energy policy for the first time in the U.S. later this year. - With such programs as:

  • Online surveys of membership
  • Stakeholder forums on policy recommendations in SE and West
  • Follow-up forum in DC to coincide with the Obama Administration's development of their energy plan

2. The Commerce Tourism Policy Council is a group of 15+ federal agencies and has the opportunity to engage the industry and government to improve cooperation and coordination, but my question is: How to engage the federal partners to fully utilize the Tourism Policy Council?


3. The Republic of Georgia has a national heritage region in the southern caucuses managed jointly by the national governmental agencies in charge of:

  • Resource Conservation
  • Tourism
  • Agriculture & livestock management (shepherding)
  • Historic preservation

All have equal jurisdiction. Can U.S. have such a pilot project?

4. I hope Tom Strickland's positive words about the marketing of the National Parks are not just words to be forgotten. The National Park Service has a national tourism office and a national tourism officer. When marketing internationally, the U.S. needs to have the Park Service as a least a token "player." Just participating in International PowWow would be helpful. A small amount of seed money for the tourism office could do wonder at developing successful partnerships.

5. What do the agencies need in resources to take full advantage of volunteer service?

How can the best examples and models of public-private partnerships be captured and shared broadly, so that land managers and local groups can build on successes and avoid pitfalls?

What are obstacles to partnerships?

6. How do we reconnect young people to outdoor activities?

Is the NPS willing to put funding and resources to implement the NPS Tourism Strategic Plan?

Is there a federal program that promotes Farm to Table?

Is the resource data mentioned by Ron Erdmann - Department of Commerce - Available on-line? If so, where?

7. Federal agencies need a Tourism full program integrated throughout the organization - that includes a strategy.

8. Each Federal Agency should develop a strategic plan for tourism. Each agency should establish a tourism plan.

9. DOC, USDA, DOC, DOT should work cooperatively to develop or support the development of information systems in gateway and tribal communities to facilitate economic development tourism, cultural heritage/preservation, education, health, etc.

10. Jay Jensen - USFS- with the investments of American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, will we see a renewed focus on visitor services on Federal Lands? We've seen campgrounds close, trails close, etc. due to maintenance backlogs, bee infestation. Curious if the direction will be to reinstate/reopen.

11. AGENCY HEADS' RECREATION ROUNDTABLE - I would be happy to rekindle and rebuild an interagency council to coordinate recreation policy. This group could go a long way toward accomplishing the recommendations of the ORRG report to elevate and promote the social, physical, and economic benefits of outdoor recreation, while cultivating new generations of stewards. The roundtable could also serve to cultivate partnerships with gateway communities and NGO's.

12. Various agencies offer challenge cost share grants and other marketing funds programs. Last year we collaborated with NPS and National Geographic on a Geotourism project. Online paperwork program was untenable. The program BLM was required to have us use was unbelievably complex and took months to successfully achieve reimbursement. BLM staff were very apologetic about system but stuck with the bureaucracy. Any hope of streamlining to facilitate future partnerships? Frankly, work involved for BLM funds was not worth $15,000!

13. Jay Jensen - did you say Tourism & Recreation account for 60% of the economic contribution of the National Forests? If so, how does this compare to timber development, and why is the recreation budget so small?

14. Comment: Capturing the names & contact info of tourists could be the ultimate "Loyalty Program" - Point System - outbound marketing - etc., just like a "frequent flyer" program.

We need a "National Park Loyalty Program." - For every 3 parks visited, access to a 4th is free. (Note: Tiers of Parks may be appropriate.)

Question: Is tourists' info captured in any fashion other than counts & surveys?

15. Ken Salazar was just terrific - impressed with his understanding of relationship between federal lands and partnership with the tourism industry.

Same for Tom Strickland.

Gerard Baker's personal story was inspirational. Appreciate his gutsy approach to changing public policy for the better.

16. I was expecting more of a panel discussion with brief comments by the panelists followed by comments and questions to provide an overview of federal perspectives. Instead each speaker had a much more narrow focus, essentially promoting his own organization.

Speaking of his organization, this panel did not reflect much diversity.

17. It appears there are a lot of positive things happening in the various departments. I trust the perceived cooperation will continue and the needs of businesses are your first consideration.

18. Well, lots of good information, but very dull and dry.

19. Good overview of the various parts of federal government involved in tourism, but more time for Q&A or interaction (perhaps questions they may have of us?) would be good.

Good Info - Although, could have been more interactive, perhaps fewer talking heads.

20. Lots of good examples of how Federal programs are working with local tribal communities, but how do we ensure this impartial collaboration happens across all programs of Federal lands planning? Is Federal legislation needed? Is it possible to ensure a comprehensive approach through executive/administration regulations?

21. This is an extremely valuable and interesting day, but I do have an observation:

It is great news that there is a push to fully and permanently fund the LWCF, however it would be even better news is there was the same effort within the Administration to fully and permanently fund the Sister program, the Historic Preservation Fund. Natural resources are so often twinned with important historic and cultural sites protected and supported by the HPF and the State/Tribal Historic Preservation Officers. Much of this day is focused on the natural/environmental resources but the "Communities" exist in built environment/historic resources. How can we build support for BOTH the natural AND built resources?

22. The USFS has "talked the talk" re Recreation being a priority - in the new administration, will the $$$ be available to now "walk the walk"?

23. Excellent presentation of relevant, cogent, thoughtful material.

The overall travel domain, as serviced by diverse agencies and private groups, begs the creation of a shared system facilitated by a grand architecture encompassing the information needs of all partners. The appearance of cloud architecture, internet and other technologies makes such a system possible.

24. Very interesting panel discussion. It is great to see the level of collaboration across government agencies.

25. We need a Federal definition of "marketing" and what type of marketing can be done. Marketing is important to promote Federal products and services, to promote services, and to tell the public what great things the Federal government does.

26. What is being done to measure the economic impact of domestic visitors? Good statistics are needed to justify investments in infrastructure and promotion of cultural heritage ad natural resources, developing and disseminating standards and methods to measure economic impact of cultural/heritage tourism is a great need (as are resources to do this research on an ongoing bases.)

27. For current initiatives, how do the various organizations represented today go about collecting objective data to help measure the success/effectiveness of these initiatives?

28. How to develop opportunities for data collection from public, (including any opportunities for streamlining paper-work reduction act requirement) for OMB review and approval of data collection instruments.

29. Viral marketing for Ken Burns film: Have the department of tourism create a "universal" blog/web site click through button to promote ken Burn's film on the National Parks that DMO's, state tourism offices, etc. can place on their home pages a week or two in advance of the film premier.

Distribute it via STS, Western States Policy Council, AIANTA, as well as US Travels's emails to their members. Have click thru button go to Department of Interior web site with information.

Gateway & Tribal Perspectives Panel

1. This was a great panel. Great ideas from Betty [Huskins], good insight from Art [Goodtimes], Gerard [Baker]. Was inspiring. Gerald Kinn made good points.

What can Gateways do to encourage more cooperative concessions near or on federal lands, especially tribal talks, tours, walks, or other activities to get the tribal perspective?

2. I wish that gateway and respective travel and tribal perspective had been separated and dealt with separately. To me they were very different issues. Gerald Butler's presentation was excellent but I wish there was other tribal perspectives presented.

3. Betty Huskins referred to the Department of Commerce Film Project - Please explain further what this project was and how it was funded.

"Take Away" - Importance of meeting "Face-to-Face" with Tribes and we need to be the first to go.

How do you establish & promote tribal Tourism without making the tribe feel exploited?

4. The Mt. Rushmore speaker was interesting [Gerard Baker].

5. The Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) of the National Park Service has been bridging parks & communities for more than 20 years, building collaborative partnerships, engaging citizen stewards, and creating a seamless opportunity for recreation and conservations. RTCA stands ready to assist park, forest, and refuge managers and gateway communities and tribes to promote and expand new partnerships.

6. Outstanding presentation of case studies/personal experience that extends the general themes to the individual.

There is enormous value in this face-to-face and very human forum.

Would like to see a blog oriented website perhaps that could attract a grant to award a kind of "best story" award.

7. Very impressive panel of speakers. As an Oracle partner I look forward to working together to optimize technology for the advancement of tribal and federal lands tourism. See you at AIANTA.

8. Bob Warren made mention of the concern with single parent households and minority populations connection with the outdoors. What is being done, and what is working to address this situation?

9. "Real Marketing" means "knowing" the customer not merely counting the number of customers.

Commercial Firms have customer content info that becomes the key data file while governmental orgs seem afraid to acquire and hold customer information for fear of privacy violation.

How do we reconcile "Privacy" vs. "Customer Info needs" when we want to do "real marketing"?

10. Great Information - resources - and ideas which can be used immediately.

Ron Erdmann and Gerard Baker - Outstanding!

We have a tribal liaison on staff. We recognize how valuable she is in this position.

Interested in tribal research visitor information.

11.All very strong speakers [Gerald] Kinn & [Gerard] Baker were outstanding. Case studies would have been helpful if more detailed.

Tribal Relations - Not States reaching to Tribes, but getting Tribes to respond & participate.

12. A comment: The "Tables of Trust" concept is a WINNER and one to be pursued at all levels.

13. Great panel. Would like suggestions for how to help counties & Federal Land managers build relationships (positive relationships).

14. Gerard Baker is a national treasure. He deserves the standing ovation he received.

15. How can American Indian & Alaska Native interests own/build or manage federal or state facilities like visitor centers in the National Parks or Refuges, or state parks & refuges?

16. What are some of the best examples of positive interaction between gateway communities and public places around the country? How can they be compiled and shared?

As W.C. Fields said: "I was in love with a beautiful woman once; she drove me to drink, it's the one thing I'm indebted to her for."

Environmental/Conservation and Historical/Cultural Perspectives Panel

1. Excellent speaker on this panel!

Especially appreciated the four challenges of the future identified by Kevin Coyle:

  • "Indoor Childhood" phenomenon
  • Global Warming & weather events
  • Ethnic shift in U.S.
  • Green economy

These are all areas that deserve further policy forums and idea sharing.

2. How can we assure staff and management of National Refuges and Parks that they can manage their lands firstly to serve people while still meeting their mission of managing wildlife conservation?

Can a "Land Trust" model serve to acquire cultural resources for the public trust? Is there such a trust model for Historic or cultural resources?

3. Urge support for preserving historic properties in communities so they can be interesting destinations that have their unique identity and character.

To do so, we need to support additional funding for tools such as the Historic Preservation Fund (companion program to the Land & Water Conservation Fund) broadening. Federal rehabilitation tax credits that help in preserving historic buildings, support National Heritage Areas funding, assure that preservation projects are included and emphasized in economic stimulus initiatives.

4. A third successful panel! The focus on sustainability in the context of development was both consistent and relevant.

Great job!

Would like to see a social network established to use as an ongoing resource.

5. Very thought provoking. What means do tribes, states and local entities currently have to track the impact of overuse (lots of tourists, potentially higher revenues, but degradation of the destinations' resources?)

  • Pollution
  • Vandalism
  • Wear/tear
  • Maintenance

6. NEA offers three planning tools that could be tapped by gateway communities:

  • YOUR TOWN for smaller communities
  • Mayors' Institute for larger communities (mayors only)
  • Governors Institute: State staff

7. Great caveats to more tourism by Soule - not all places need easier/faster access (e.g. Chase Canyon). Authenticity and appropriate content for economic development.

Very exciting National Geographic project - National Online Geotourism (At_ _) and excellent observation by Dion.

Gilliam's emphasis on grassroots programs and ideas rising up to national programs was excellent and her reference to "Tables of Trust" important.

Coyle's suggestion for gateway community to have a green plan and ideas for that was great.

Phillips gave great sect. of hidden businesses attracted to gateway communities and need to protect scenic and cultural assets.

8. Need another national gateways conference with specific training and technical assistance opportunities.

9. Per Dr. Spencer Phillips - two questions/issues

  • Count your eggs - where are they
  • Don't kill the golden goose

This begs for integrated and comprehensive information systems to support inventory, demographics analyses etc. to strengthen and sustain gateway and tribal communities.

10. Very good ides for vision and planning. Opened new concepts.

11. Very strong panel - Needed more time - Good. Solid examples and practical information. Also, panelists offered resources, books, web sites, etc.

12. I liked the diversity of speakers - planning, economics, tourism, and education - and how they relate to gateway communities.

Tourism and Recreation Perspectives Panel

1. Once the Travel Promotion Act passes Congress, where will the money go? One suggestion - Marketing software that enables relationships with customers - similar to Airlines Loyalty Programs.

2. Disney is down about 30% this year over last year. Can the Travel Promotion Act "bail-out" Disney and public sector tourism at the same time?

3. The afternoon panel brought an individual, more local perspective. Tina Osceola's brave step to deliver a kind of laying down of the gauntlet was unique and a wake-up call.

The theme of partnership pervaded.

Recommendation: create a list of specific actions to be taken by the groups in attendance. Share it on a membership only site.

Re: gateway communities and rural locations:

Need fleets of electric vehicles. This arena is public/private, government and policy driven. It is fundamentally industrial policy and requires legislation.

In 1997, Rio de Janeiro replaced its entire taxi and police fleet in a single day. The initiative was jointly funded by insurance companies and government because the actuarial studies showed it was cheaper in the long run to replace rather than fix the fleet and accidents resulted from old vehicles.

Replacing the fleet is something travel industry can do in partnership with government.

4. American Indians and Alaska Natives benefit when they invite Federal and State land managers into their communities, and into their lands. This should also be reciprocated.

As land managers (both tribal and public) we need training and mentoring in "telling our stories":

  • Interpretation
  • Collecting stories
  • Interpretive products and facilities

Lyle Laverty - What is the definition of Gateway Community?

Mike Cerletti - Mentioned interagency Tourism Policy Council starting October of this year. What is this?

Very interesting question at end of panel session abut the future of travel and sustainability - How will the next 20-30 years look in terms of sustainable travel realities (travel rationing - yikes!)? What does our industry need to do now to positively impact the future of travel?

The NPS Rivers, Trails, & conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program has successfully facilitated numerous regional partnerships offering an integrated menu of recreation and tourism opportunities across the Federal, state, local agencies and private enterprise. In a real sense, regional geotourism has been fostered by RCTA for more than 2 decades, despite a hostile administration and slashed budgets in recent years.

Simply on semantics, if not the practical aspects, what would be lost if "marketing" for a Federal audience was called "promotion?"

What is sustainable travel? How do we achieve it?

Would love to have more "practical" ideas and suggestions�How To?

More tactical information and less theory - moving forward. Rick Webster and Tina Osceola were heading in the right direction.

Great comments on partnerships. What can the Committee do to incentivize local/tribal/county partnerships?

We need to focus on a constrained travel future and figure how we're going to do tourism differently.

Idea - NPS and USFS should develop a program for co-op marketing with gateway communities through matching grants.

What do the 10 cities that are the best for outdoor kids have in common? Trails out the door.

Trails tourism should be a major initiative in every gateway community - how the trails go through urban parks, to the national forest and out to the national parks. Trails increase property values, improve community health, make livable communities, are inexpensive to build and help get kids outdoors. Let's invest in paved trails and market them for trails tourism.

Remarks on total conference:

1. Room set up - Put panel on stage so delegates can see them

2. The format - all day - of panels/jargon talks & lots of sitting - pretty boring. Maybe breaking into groups & putting a panelist with each small group for real conversations?

Note: In the final report, we should include definitions of gateway communities, geotourism, "Tables of Trust," etc. Also, some of the questions directed toward specific speakers could be addressed.

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