Letter: Moffat County a beautiful place to visit

To the editor:

We’ve been traveling constantly in our RV for over 11 years, so we’ve been in literally hundreds of visitor centers. But we’ve never seen one like the Moffat County Tourist Visitor Information Center.

Melody Villard, the director, gave us a tour of the center, which is laid out like the county itself. The tour is like a preview of all the amazing things Moffat county has to offer.

In our short visit, we took the audio tour of the drive from the town of Dinosaur into Dinosaur National Monument. The audio tour, which we got from Melody, added interest and even humor to the drive. The National Monument is not to be missed.

Moffat County has another wonderful drive called 65 Million Years in 65 Miles. Melody gave us a handout that describes the history and geology of the area. It also gives clear directions of the drive and options in case the backcountry part of the drive is impassable.

That backcountry road, cutting through sandstone canyons, is incredible. And the wildlife! We saw bison, pronghorn, mule deer and even baby birds in their sandstone nests with busy parents feeding them.

We also visited the wonderful Sand Wash Herd Management Area where the Bureau of Land Management protects wild horses which are descended from those turned loose by the conquistadors. At every rise on the drive there’s an opportunity to see these magnificent creatures. Each one is a distinctive color or pattern.

If we lived in the area, we’d be out there at every chance getting to know the horses of the herd, which ones stay with which, who has foals and where they’re likely to be on the range.

A highlight of our visit was a tour of the Tri-State power plant at Craig. Moffat County should be very proud of this clean burning electric generation plant. This plant is 99 percent emission free! It proves that we can use coal to produce electricity without befouling our air.

Coal is abundant, relatively inexpensive and safe. Craig’s power plant is the model for the future of electric generation. We were extremely impressed.

Our time in Moffat County has made it clear that we must return, as there’s so much we didn’t get done.

We had occasion to visit just two of the area restaurants, Vallartas and Carelli’s. If those two are any indication, there’s a lot of good food and friendly service in Craig.

We have yet to pay our respects to the magnificent bull elk with the huge antlers. We haven’t gone to museums or seen the woodcarvings. And we’d love to learn more about the Trapper coal mine and its award winning reclamation of mined lands.

We look forward to our return visit.

When we travel we send e-mails to 59 others. Some of them forward our e-mails to still others. Sharing our adventures and pictures with family and friends is one of our favorite things about traveling.

Art and Roxanne Farmer

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Comments

Taxpayer 1 year, 8 months ago

What a nice letter reflecting what visitors to our area enjoyed about seeing what Moffat County has to offer guests and residents. We are so fortunate to have a director of the Moffat County Visitor Information Center, Melody Villard. She had a vision of a new and unique perceptive of how to show off our area with ample parking, and a friendly staff. Thanks to the Board of MCTA, who didn't flinch from their duty and Melody’s vision when the vocal minority was displeased and failed to grasp the vision of what a good information center needed to provide for residents and visitors. Thanks to all of those businesses in the County and residents who stepped up to make this new center a reality! Well done to everyone! This is an example of forward thinking and a willingness to work with a diversified team to make this center a very pleasant, rewarding, educational , informative, and friendly experience.

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unbelievable6060 1 year, 8 months ago

In today's Craig Daily Press the heading to this article reads, "Moffat County Visitor Center a gem". The Moffat County Visitors Center is located inside of the Craig Chamber of Commerce and is not connected to the MCTA office space. The Moffat County Commissioners stated they were not going to approve MCTA to have a visitors center, but they (MCTA) was going to only be renting office space inside of the Centennial Mall. Funny how it all worked out and MCTA was able to do what they wanted and make it happen anyway. I say shame on our three County Commissioners for allowing this to happen and not standing up for what they stated they believed in because they choose to believe they were being politically correct.

I would like to see proof from MCTA where their Board and Director do anything to promote tourism outside of Moffat County, which is what the lodging tax was created for. I don't feel Baggs, WY, Meeker, Hayden or Steamboat qualify for outside of our area. They will tell you they pay for the Craig Daily Press to mail out the Colorado Hunter, which I believe to be true, but tell me where does all of their other money go to? And isn't that a conflict of interest with the Publisher of the paper sitting on the MCTA board? The lodging tax was not set up to market to Craig/Moffat County by creating a hands on visitor center which is geared much more to our school kids. How can we allow this to continue and for the lodging tax dollars to be spent in this manner?

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Taxpayer 1 year, 8 months ago

Whew! The heat must have gotten to that person giving them blisters of the brain. If they have questions about the MCTA budget, expenses, etc., it is public information and available. I am enthused that our visitors are enjoying what Moffat County has to offer them, and I am very happy people are taking the time to tell their friends about their experiences here. It is exactly what MCTA is working to achieve through their vision and being positive about the future of tourism in Moffat County. It is a WIN-WIN for everyone!

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Melody Villard 1 year, 8 months ago

Unbelievable6060

I apologize for the name confusion with the visitors that we had the pleasure to meet and share our wonderful county with. Our visitors are unaware of, and really don’t care about, trivial community hang ups about such things. Their interpretation of the space is their own. Visitors often see the experience as a fantastic center for information. Of all of the visitor questions I answer each month…none of them has asked what our local relationships are…they simply want to know what there is to see and do in Moffat County. We are thrilled to be able to share so many unique opportunities available in this amazing place we call home.

I would like to say your shame in our commissioners is misplaced, they are not allowing the lodging tax dollars to be spent in anything but a responsible manner. They closely examine the budget that the board (and then BOCC) approves each year and county accounting policies are closely followed throughout the year to be sure that the fund is spent in a responsible manner.

The community created the incredible showcase to Moffat County in our office that continues to improve and evolve. There have been nearly $30,000.00 in cash and in-kind donations that have gone into the creation of the displays within the space…none of that from the lodging tax or the MCTA. While it is true that the MCTA pays rent and utilities on the space, they did so for the other office spaces that they rented as well.

The proof in what MCTA has spent to promote tourism both within our region and outside of Moffat County can be found in our annual report posted earlier this year in the Craig Daily Press. I am more than willing to forward that information to anyone who requests it. Because we are a public board you may also file an open records request for the financials with the county, or simply keep an eye out for the regular postings in the newspaper for the county expenditures each month for a detailed listing of monthly expenditures from the MCTA fund.

Our board meetings are open to the public and we openly encourage guests to attend. You may request to be added to my distribution lists for agendas and board packets each month. I am also more than willing to arrange time to meet in person to answer any questions you may have. The MCTA board will have an opening in 2013 for an alternate to the Board and I would encourage you to get involved at whatever level you feel comfortable with.

You had posted this on another story, “Thank you to someone who is willing to look a little deeper than taking what they read or hear at face value.” I am certain that you too will be willing to visit the space, read up on the information that you seek and that you too will be able to then make an informed opinion as well. You may request to be on the monthly distribution lists at mvillard@moffatcounty.net. Thank you for your interest – Melody Villard, Director – Moffat County Tourism Association

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