Shelly Flannery: A hospitable, welcoming place to hunt

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As the director of Tourism for Moffat County, I would like to commend the local communities for their welcoming attitude with the hunters who flock to Moffat County this time of year. It would be easy to become frustrated when you can't find a parking space anywhere you go, and just a little grumpy when both grocery stores are completely out of milk and bananas, but the majority of folks here in Moffat County don't go there. They seem to understand that this influx of visitors sporting camouflage and blaze orange also are pouring revenue into the economy, and when you take time to visit with them, they're pretty interesting and friendly on top of it.

Last Friday night, the Holiday Inn hosted a hunting "open house" of sorts, where all of the hunters visiting Moffat County were welcomed, with open arms. Vendors and business owners from the community were invited to set up booths and displays, free of charge. It was a perfect opportunity to greet and mingle with the hunters and promote the assets that Moffat County has to offer. Local City Councilman Ray Beck was on hand, explaining to hunters that the quality of life here in Craig is what makes it the best place on earth, and to convince them that they ought to just relocate here. They were served chili, gumbo, samples of pheasant and spicy sausage made locally, and given door prizes donated by local businesses. As a result of all of this, my conversations with many of these sportsman, who are here in pursuit of their dream kill, also included visiting with them about all of the other very wonderful things there are to do and see here in Northwest Colorado, and plant ideas about return visits to fish, raft, hike, bike, view wild horses and more, and bring their entire families. The response from more than one of these tourists was that "this is the most hospitable and welcoming place they've ever hunted" and that most of them plan to return in the summer to enjoy it some more. So, there you have it. As we attempt to develop and increase the number of visitor ready sites and activities in Moffat County, I truly hope that our communities embrace those ideas and visitors in the same welcoming way that they receive the hunters.

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