Courtney Flathers, Intern

The past five months have passed quickly and my internship with Oregon Sea Grant/OSU Extension is coming to a close. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to learn more about tourism and business development on the South Coast, and I look forward to utilizing my new knowledge and skills after I graduate from the Master of Public Policy program at OSU next month.

I want to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the projects I’ve worked on as an intern and share some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned.

One of my primary tasks during my internship was to compose several fact sheets on issues related to tourism and outdoor recreation development on the South Coast. This included fact sheets about Agritourism in Oregon’s Coastal Counties, Transient Lodging Taxes on the Oregon Coast, and the Impact of Tourism & Outdoor Recreation on Oregon’s Economic Landscape. Through researching these topics I learned about how state and local policies intersect with tourism and outdoor recreation development efforts at the local level. There is a surprising amount of variability among local governments as it concerns tourism-related policies, which means that trying to sort through the specific requirements to develop or expand tourism operations can be a complicated process. For this reason, I think it’s really valuable that there are people like Miles in positions with OSU Extension/Oregon Sea Grant who can provide education and training for community members who might be interested in getting involved in this area to improve our overall economy.

As an intern I also had the opportunity to participate in the Southern Oregon Coast Rural Tourism Studio presented by Travel Oregon. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the potential for additional tourism and outdoor recreation development in this region, and to learn about the tools and resources provided by organizations including Travel Oregon and the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association. We have an abundance of natural assets in our region and I am excited to see what projects develop out of the Rural Tourism Studio process.

Southern Oregon Coast Rural Tourism Studio Group Photo

Finally, I spent a significant amount of time researching and writing new material for this tourism blog. Entries included announcements about upcoming training and education opportunities, brief posts about plant and animal life on the Oregon Coast that tourism providers can share with their guests, and links to valuable resources for those working in tourism on the Oregon Coast. This is also where you can find links to the documents I helped create during my time as an intern.

I am thankful for the opportunity to spend the last five months as an intern working on a variety of challenging, yet interesting, projects. In addition to learning more about the tourism and outdoor recreation industry, I was able to learn a great deal more about the services provided by OSU Extension and Oregon Sea Grant that can be utilized in partnership with local individuals, businesses, and organizations to bolster coastal communities. I look forward to carrying these, and many more, lessons with me into the future.

Kayaking on the South Slough near Coos Bay on the last day of my internship
California sea lion (Zalophus californianus)

California sea lions are members of the “eared seal” family Otariidae. These pinnipeds live along the rock Pacific Ocean coastlines of western North America. They are very social animals and form groups of several hundred individuals onshore.

California sea lions are the most recognized pinniped species because they are commonly seen doing acrobatic tricks in shows at zoos and aquariums. While they are known for their intelligence and playfulness, these animals also quite athletic. In the wild, the California sea lion is faster than any other sea lion or seal topping out at speeds of 25 miles an hour. This animal is also an avid diver. When diving deep, California sea lions slow their heart rates to allow them to remain underwater for nearly ten minutes before surfacing to breathe. This ability gives them an edge in the pursuit of the fish, squid, and shellfish that make up their primary diet.

Travel Oregon Requests Your Input For Expanding Outdoor Recreation In Oregon

In March 2017, Travel Oregon launched the Oregon Outdoor Recreation Initiative, a new statewide effort to bring together businesses, agencies, land managers, conservation groups and recreational user groups around the goal of expanding access to outdoor recreation and increasing the economic impact and sustainability of Oregon’s outdoor recreation economy.

To prepare for this launch, Travel Oregon convened the Oregon Outdoor Recreation Leadership Team from June 2016 to February 2017. The Leadership Team developed initial drafts of the 15-Year Vision, 5-Year Outcomes and 2-Year Strategies for the Oregon Outdoor Recreation Initiative.

We are now interested in hearing from Oregonians on what they would like to see improved to enhance outdoor recreation in Oregon. Additionally, we are seeking feedback on the priority strategies that have been proposed by the Leadership Team. To gather this information, we are  conducting five statewide public outreach meetings. In addition, we have also created a survey for this purpose.

We welcome you to provide your perspective by completing this online survey by Monday, May 22nd Date

Through this survey we hope to better understand what opportunities you see for expanding outdoor recreation in Oregon, along with any barriers you feel impede our ability as a collective to achieve a world-class and sustainable outdoor recreation industry for our state.

The findings from both the survey and the public outreach meetings will be shared with the Leadership Team and utilized to fine tune the direction of this initiative.

In the future, we plan to invite stakeholders to remain engaged with this initiative through regular gatherings and opportunities to work collaboratively on priority strategies.

Contact Information
Destination Development, Travel Oregon
Development@TravelOregon.com
971.717.6212