|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
|Rights||In Copyright (InC)|
|Rights Holder||SR Communications DBA, Eden, Utah|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
Volume I , Issue IX Page 21 The Ogden Valley News June 1999 Recreation Communities Compiled by Shanna Francis Many communities rely on extractive activities for their economic support–extractive activities such as mining, timber, and agriculture, all of which utilize natural resources. Another industry that can rely on natural resources, but is non-extractive, is tourism and recreation. Visitors purchase goods and services, injecting income into the local economy. Often these visitors come because of natural resources–mountains, desert landscapes, water, etc. As important as extractive business and tourism is to the American economy, there are other important facts to consider. As Ogden Valley teeters on the edge of becoming a recreation and resort area, residents would be wise to consider lessons that have been learned from other communities that have tread a similar path. This article attempts to address, in a condensed version, some of these lessons. The tourism industry can bring benefits to a community, benefits such as accessible jobs for minimally skilled workers, and part time jobs for those who are pursuing other interests such as raising a family, running a farm, or working in the schools during the winter months. They also provide flexible job positions and hours for high school and university students. The tourism industry also brings dollars into the local community, stimulating the economy as these dollars are circulated, and tax revenue is generated. On the other hand, tourism and recreational jobs tend to be low paying and dead-ended. According to the U.S. Travel Data Center, the average tourism industry salary is $12,800 a year. The development of tourism and recreational areas can also result in an increase in the number of vacation homes, which tends to increase property values and the cost of living. These rising property values often drive out existing residents. This trend can be seen in the Jackson, Wyoming area. The rising demand for property in the area, coupled with low paying jobs led average real income per job to decline by 30 percent. A report commissioned by the Jackson Main Street Association read, “The price paid by the average worker to live in paradise was to see the purchasing power of the earned dollar almost halved in ten years.” Most of the work force moved out of Jackson across Teton Pass and into small towns on the Idaho side of the border. Park City has seen the same phenomenon occur. Tourism can also bring in a flood of temporary visitors whose “holiday mood” and disregard for the local community at times, can disrupt and permanently alter the social landscape. In the book Lost Landscapes and Failed Economies by Thomas Michael Power we read, “Communities pursing tourism are effectively inviting hordes of strangers to share their streets, public facilities, and commercial businesses . . . The net result is a major increase in the number of transients residing in the community at any given time, people who may care little about its history, culture, and values. . . Rather than permanent new residents it brings temporary visitors into the community, and this can have a corrosive effect that is not characteristic of all economic development.” Tourism also puts a lot of wear and tear on the natural landscape. Tourism usually isn’t environmentally benign. “Herds of tourists can degrade the very landscape or culture to which they are drawn. America’s national parks are a good example of this phenomenon. To cope with crowds, roads, trails, lodgings, and services can lead to water and air pollution as well as disrupt[ion to] the landscape and its wildlife. When resort towns take off, surrounding open space tends to get swallowed up by condominium developments, ‘trophy’ homes, golf courses, shopping malls, and trailer parks,. All of these come at a cost to the natural and cultural environment. Wildlife habitat is fragmented. . . The landscape that once drew people to the area gets loved to death.” Mr. Power concludes, “If a community adopts a helpless beggarscan’t-be-choosers attitude and passively accepts any and all tourist proposals, tourism may well someday consume it. But if the community cherishes its amenities and has the confidence to protect them, it can lay the foundation for local entrepreneurs to develop compatible, dispersed tourist business that help vitalize the local economy.” Are there other choices in communities that have appeal to outsiders? Many of my newest and friendliest neighbors are retirees who have selected this beautiful valley to spend the rest of their lives in. What a compliment to the community! Though many community decision makers welcome the tax base generated by intense development, there are other factors to consider. The same assets in the community that bring the tourist dollar to town also bring these retirees that collect in communities that offer natural beauty, peace, and that “down home” atmosphere. Low crime rates are also a consideration. Many that come to settle, come to escape the fast pace cities of California and other urban centers. Officials and investors, interested in the revenue brought to a community by tourists, tend to overlook sources of local income that are generated by retirees that decide to settle in their community. Retirement income circulates within the local community with very little of it being exported. “Such ‘footloose’ income sources can be considerable–as much as 30 to 60 percent of a local area’s personal income may be associated with factors like retirement income, investment earnings (dividends, rent, and interest), and government income-support payments. Whatever attracts or holds income of this sort is a major part of the local economic base. . . immigrating retirees do not place disproportionate, expensive demands on local services– they tend not to use schools and do not take up space in prisons. . . When rural counties float on a cushion of social security, pensions, annuities, and asset income, local economic conditions improve . . . Several studies have shown that nonemployment income flow has at last as large an impact on the local economy as traditional economic-based activity.“ Edward T. McMahon in an article entitled Preserving the Soul of a Place writes, “There is an important but often ignored relationship between tourism and the environment. Unfortunately, many tourism officials are more concerned with marketing and promotions than they are with protecting and enhancing the product they are selling. Tourism involves more than marketing. It also involves making destinations more appealing. This means conserving and enhancing a destination’s natural assets. It is, after all, the unique heritage, culture, wildlife, or natural beauty of a community or region that attracts sightseers in the first place. The more a community does to conserve its unique resources, whether natural or man-made, the more tourists it will attract. On the other hand, the more a community comes to resemble ‘Anyplace, U.S.A.,’ the less reason there will be to visit.” “This is why local planning, zoning, and urban design standards are so important to communities with tourism resources. When shopping centers and housing developments come in, do they complement the resource or compromise it?” “Too many cars, boats, tour buses, condominiums, or people can overwhelm a community and harm fragile resources . . . Tourists crave integrity of place wherever they go, and homogenous, ‘off-the-shelf’ corporate chain and franchise architecture work against this.” “An enlightened community recognizes that the way it looks affects its image and its economic well-being. Protecting scenic views and vistas, planting trees, landscaping parking lots, and controlling signs are all fundamentally important to a city’s economic health. . . Unless the tourism industry thinks it can continue to sell trips to communities clogged with look-alike motels, polluted streams, traffic jams, and cluttered commercial strips, it ought to join in an effort to protect the natural, cultural, and scenic resources on which it relies.” Senior Meals Provided at the Ogden Valley Library June 17th: Chicken Divan with Gravy, Seasoned Whole Potatoes, Festive Cranberry Fruit Salad, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, Poppy Seed Roll. June 24th: Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy, Skinny Mashed Potatoes, Peas and Mushrooms, Citrus Pear Salad, Cranberry Crunch, Whole Wheat Roll. July 1st: Roast Beef with Onion Gravy, Whipped Potatoes, Green Beans, Sour Cream Fruit Salad, National Frozen Yogurt Day, Potato Roll. July 8th: Breaded Fish with Tartar Sauce, Au Gratin Potatoes, Buttered Peas, Cottage Cheese and Pineapple, Chocolate Nut Brownie, Sweet Potato Roll. July 15th: Beefy Beef Ravioli, Cauliflower Fiesta, Tossed Salad with Dressing & Croutons, Fruit Cup, Cornmeal Roll.