Port Orford on Oregon's South Coast
Port Orford on Oregon’s South Coast

Why do you want to travel? People travel for interesting and often new and sights, activities and experiences. it might be a new city, a rural setting or a wild lands experience. When we travel we encounter people that live and often speak differently. When we don’t know the language the local people are speaking we look to those people who can understand multiple languages to help us understand and relate to the people and place we are visiting. These people act as our language interpreters.

When when the language is the same as ours there are still many benefits of an personal interpreter who helps us navigate, learn, understand and enjoy new places and experiences. Informally this may be a relative or friend you are visiting who shows you around and shares their local knowledge of place and culture.

Many times though we want a professional to work with us to enhance how we enjoy a new experience or place. Whitewater rafting and other adventure activities, hunting, fishing, visits to parks and historical sites etc. are often when we hire and benefit from professional guides. Interpretive guiding is the process of helping the visitors relate to and understand the topic, place or experience. This is an important element of a professional guides skill set.

The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) is an organization that provides training and certification in interpretation and in March 2017 I gave a presentation at the International Conference for Interpretation in San Jose del Cabos, Mexico discussing professional guide practices. The conference provided a chance to meet and talk with other professionals to learn and be inspired. They define interpretation as follows; Interpretation: “A mission-based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and meanings inherent in the resource.”

I personally look for and hire professional guides to enhance my travel experience and suggest you may enjoy doing the same on your travels to the Oregon Coast. For our coastal guides the OSU Extension program provides training opportunities upon request.

For more information on NAI see http://www.interpnet.com/

For more information on Coastal Oregon Guides see https://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/Pages/Guides-Charters.aspx



We would like to welcome our new intern, Ms. Courtney Flathers, a Masters Student in Public Policy at Oregon State University. Ms. Flathers’ family is from the south coast and she will be working part time with the tourism program January to June 2017 when she will graduate. She will be involved in a number of ongoing projects and be meeting with tourism businesses and community representatives along the coast. She will also be participating in the South Coast Rural Tourism Workshop Series beginning January 24th and will be assisting with applied research and preparation of reports and training materials to be produced by the OSU Sea Grant Extension tourism program. In addition, Ms. Flathers will be assisting with the publication of blog posts presenting tourism and outdoor recreation focused information.

Miles Phillips
Miles Phillips joins Oregon Sea Grant Extension

BANDON — Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Extension Service have hired an outdoor recreation expert from Texas to boost tourism along Oregon’s southern coast.

Now based in Bandon, Miles Phillips comes to OSU from Texas A&M University Extension, where he brought together elements of the agriculture, forestry, natural resources and adventure industries to create a cohesive and sustainable tourism program. He worked to broaden traditional tourism to encompass such diverse activities as hunting, visiting pumpkin patches, landscape painting and kayaking. He’ll use a similar approach in Oregon.

His top priority is to use Extension’s research, engagement and outreach based approach to combine the many arms of the tourism industry into one alliance to brings visitors to the southern Oregon coast, improve the economy and promote conservation of its natural resources for community well being.

“This is a great example of how Extension plays a role in the changing economy and changing demographics across the state,” said Phillips, who has been the chair of the National Extension Tourism Design Team for four years. “Outdoor recreation is a big part of the mix.”

Phillips will initially concentrate on the south coast from Reedsport to Brookings – an area especially hard hit by economic challenges – but will also offers service to the full coast. OSU Extension collaborated closely with Travel Oregon and local community partners to identify the region’s destination development needs as the new position took shape. Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, the philanthropic arm of the world-class Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, lent its support as well.

“It was clear that there was an opportunity to address business development issues on the south coast and a focus on coastal tourism was a natural fit,” David Hanson, Sea Grant’s outreach and engagement leader. “Miles’ experience in Texas was exactly the type of programming that we are hoping to replicate.”

Phillips, whose position was funded by the Oregon State Legislature, said his immediate goal is to pinpoint the needs of individual communities and to identify and connect resources offered by Extension and other organizations to meet those needs. Strategies include a website, seminars, publications and community meetings.

“There is a lot of information out there,” he said. “It’s a matter of getting it into people’s hands and helping them figure out how to use the resources to be successful.”

Phillips will also be working to bring community college and OSU students on board as interns, a step he sees as a vital part of Extension’s mission to increase destination development and improve educational opportunities. He will collaborate with the OSU’s College of Business’s new program in hospitality management as well as the outdoor recreation leadership and tourism program in OSU’s College of Forestry.

“As Oregon’s land grant university, OSU has a long history of serving the state’s rural and urban communities,” said Scott Reed, vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement. “Our new South Coast Extension tourism and business development position is a prime example of our commitment to expand and mobilize the resources of the university to have a sustainable, positive impact on the economic vitality of the region and beyond.”

Jim Seeley, executive director of Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, said Phillips’ appointment comes at a crucial time when four tourism initiatives are underway in the area. They include a tourism work group that’s funded by WRCA and Coos County, and an upcoming rural tourism studio training program on the south coast offered by Travel Oregon.

“Miles, who has a long and distinguished career in the education area of nature-based tourism, will be part of these and other ongoing efforts to help strategize the best approach to accomplishing our objectives,” Seeley said. “That’s what makes him so significant. We’ve got these four trains heading into the station and now OSU enters the station and that’s the biggest train of all.”