Commission OKs preservation request

The Moffat County Tourism Board is touting the newly approved "Preserve America" program as a key ingredient to acquiring grants and other funding.

Shelly Flannery, director of the Moffat County Tourism Association, requested the Moffat County commissioners support the "Preserve America" program and its designation for Moffat County.

On Tuesday, the commission approved that request. Commissioner Saed Tayyara, who was absent from the Tuesday meeting, sent his support via a memo. The request was approved by a 2-0 vote.

"Preserve America," started by first lady Laura Bush in 2004, encourages and supports community efforts to preserve cultural and natural heritage with the goal of sharing regional identities and a history of the country's past.

From eight communities, the "Preserve America" campaign has grown to cover 261 communities in 43 states.

Flannery hopes that by gaining the designation the county might become more competitive when applying for grants, especially when joining with Routt and Rio Blanco counties, and applying as a region.

She has been in discussions with officials from Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, and will be making a presentation to Routt County commissioners on Sept. 12.

She would like to see an emphasis on agricultural tourism for Moffat County, she told the commissioners.

Included in a list of possible tourism attraction events are hayrides, sleigh rides, haying, fencing and livestock roundups, to name a few.

Already available in the area are historical museums and sites, working dog competitions, and livestock drives.

Grants awarded through the "Preserve America" program can range from $20,000 to $150,000, Flannery said. While requiring matching funds for the grants, time is given to each recipient to explore their options to find matching funding.

Flannery hopes that matching funds might be obtained from a GOCo grant, the state historical fund, or from private sources such as the El Pomar Foundation.

There are four cycles yearly in which communities are selected for the "Preserve America" designation. Flannery hopes to be ready to apply for the regional designation by the December cycle.

She is requesting that people with an interest in agricultural and nature-related tourism contact the county tourism office.

"We are seeking input from anybody related to agriculture," Flannery said. "Whether they hold hunts on private land, or have other ideas for agricultural tourism."

Flannery can be reached at the Moffat County Tourism Association at 824-2335.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext.207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com

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