Bandon, Oregon

The final installment of the Southern Oregon Coast Rural Tourism Studio will take place April 18th and 19th in North Bend. Over the past four months Travel Oregon has put on a series of workshops focused on local economic development through tourism. OSU Sea Grant Extension has been participating in this program and will be available to offer communities and businesses assistance as they go through the program and in the future.

Tourism Marketing & Communications Workshop

Join us for an active, inspiring day of marketing training and planning for your individual business or destination, and for the region as a whole. We’ll discuss Visitor Lifecycle Management (VLM) and explore opportunities and resources associated with each step of the cycle. In addition, we’ll define the potential you have to interact and engage with the visitor as a business owner or as part of the region while aligning marketing efforts to support resource efficiency and regional awareness. This session will also tap into partnership opportunities with Travel Oregon and others in the region.

Teaming for Impact & Action Planning Workshop

The distance between your region’s vision and its reality is called action. This day is all about laying the final groundwork and jumping into action feet first alongside other motivated community members. During this workshop, you and others in your region will work together to establish local action teams and begin developing priority projects in line with the region’s 15-year vision for tourism. Participants will implement strategies to form well structured teams (of individuals, groups or organizations) in order to increase a project’s success and sustainability. Participants who attended prior workshops are strongly encouraged to attend this results-oriented session. Get ready to roll up your sleeves, get engaged, and move to action.

Community Tourism Celebration

Plan on attending the Community Tourism Celebration with your friends, family and colleagues. Graduates will be awarded certificates of completion and the new community tourism vision, action teams and priority projects will be shared with the community. Please make sure to extend the invitation to other movers and shakers from the region! This will be an important event to transition from training to community action.

Sign up for the final workshops and community celebration!

Gorse (Ulex)

If you spend any length of time on the South Coast you’ll likely hear about gorse. This shrub that originated in the United Kingdom is considered invasive in this region and has become infamous among locals.

Gorse arrived on the South Coast in the late 1800s when Irishman Lord George Bennett founded the town of Bandon and planted gorse, a shrub that reminded him of his homeland, in his garden. It is not hard to imagine why locals dislike gorse today. This plant is hardy, grows quickly, out-competes and displaces native plants, and is covered in inch-long spines that make thickets virtually impassible. It is not these qualities that have earned gorse its negative reputation, however. Gorse also secretes an oil that burns like diesel fuel making it highly flammable. Within decades of Lord Bennett bringing this plant to the South Coast it actually threatened the very existence of the town he founded. In 1936 a gorse fire nearly destroyed Bandon!

Today there are substantial efforts to control the spread of gorse, including a Gorse Action Group that consists of representatives from federal, state and county agencies and nonprofit organizations who are working together to assess the extent of gorse and create a strategic plan for control on the southern Oregon coast. In February the City of Bandon hosts the Gorse Blossom Festival to educate the public about this invasive species.  

During your next trip to the South Coast be take care to avoid gorse’s sharp spines and be mindful next time you think about transporting your favorite plants to new locations. Lord Bennett might feel differently about gorse if he understood the consequences of bringing gorse to Oregon so many years ago.

Last month, Dr. Scott Reed, Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement and Director of OSU Extension, visited the South Coast to learn more about the unique partnerships working to grow the tourism and outdoor recreation economy in the region. Dr. Reed met with Jim Seeley and Marie Simonds of the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance to talk about their work with OSU Extension.

You can watch a longer video about collaboration around tourism and economic development featuring OSU Extension Associate Professor of Tourism and Business Development here.