Putting our heads together

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The Moffat County Tourism Association is going down the street and around the corner.

The association is moving from the highly visible Craig Chamber of Commerce facility into the drab basement of the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

In doing so, they are cutting the money allotted for the Chamber, and even possibly causing the Chamber to close its doors -- and those to the current Moffat County Visitor's Center -- one day a week.

Call us crazy, but shouldn't the tourism association be the group to greet tourists as they come through town? And won't that be difficult to do from the bottom floor of a building off the main access road? Is this the best decision at the most critical time in Craig's year -- hunting season?

And more importantly, isn't MCTA's decision to segregate itself from the Chamber indicative of a larger problem we see in this community?

We have several groups looking out for the best interest of our businesses and economy. But really, what good are they doing by each taking their own direction without concern for the others?

MCTA's decision to split from the Chamber is just an example of the attitude some of these groups have in town. Instead of dividing their efforts, we think they should be combining them to achieve a common goal.

First we need to establish that goal.

Who, or what, is Craig? A hunter's paradise? A historic downtown district? The real West? Or worst of all, a bedroom community to Steamboat Springs?

We're sure there aren't too many residents who prefer the latter. But still, deciding on one way to sell Craig, and joining efforts to reach visitors is what we think groups need to focus on.

Moffat County, and neighboring Rio Blanco County, boast the largest elk herds in the country. We offer picturesque hiking and photographic opportunities. We have endless possibilities for wildlife, bird and wild horse watching. We maintain some of the best snowmobile trails in the nation.

We think Craig should be sold as -- and proud to be -- an outdoor mecca.

Northwest Colorado is home to recreational opportunities year-round, and that's something we should bank on. By combining local efforts, we can.

We need to look beyond ourselves, as well. Some groups -- Yampa Valley Partners, for instance -- are taking a regional approach to economic development. The group is working with Moffat and Routt county officials to create a valley-wide approach to success. We think that's great.

But, particularly if we market ourselves as an outdoor paradise, we need to think even bigger. Rio Blanco County offers great opportunities as well. If we develop a regional approach to attracting visitors and residents, we embrace what we offer and how it differs from what other communities offer.

We may not always like or agree with what other towns in the area do or promote, but by marketing ourselves as a region, we reach a larger audience, and will likely see a larger response.

And isn't that what we all want?

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