Final CRAFT workshop features recreation ‘rockstar,’ action plan |

Final CRAFT workshop features recreation ‘rockstar,’ action plan

CRAIG — Over the course of the past 12 weeks, stakeholders have gathered to learn and plan a path toward building tourism into a more vibrant and sustainable economic driver as part of CRAFT Studio 101 workshops. That work will culminate on Friday, Nov. 16.

“The most important things that have happened out of the CRAFT sessions is the start of a discussion on tourism in our community. Having everyone start to speak the language of tourism and understand concepts is significant. For example, visitor readiness will make our entire community ready for trade and attracting more business, and everyone stands to benefit from that,” said Moffat County Tourism Association Director Tom Kleinschnitz.

CRAFT — Colorado Rural Academy of Tourism — Studio 1010 is a comprehensive training program offered to select rural communities through a technical assistance grant provided by the Colorado Tourism Office with local support from Moffat County Tourism Association and Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership and the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

The CRAFT grant provided six full-day training workshops to Craig, with five held in September, October, and November, as well as $10,000 to help with the implementation of strategies developed.

During the sixth and final workshop, small groups of stakeholders who have participated in the past will complete the action planning worksheets and re-convene as the large group to formulate these into the plan. Finally, individually, group members will reflect on their role in the shared vision.

“The group will individually and collectively pledge to implement the identified actions,” Kleinschnitz said. “The most important thing we can do is find short-term wins for our county and set the direction of the future of tourism in Moffat County. I’m really glad our community has had this opportunity.”

To help sustain the momentum, Luiz Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, will speak at the final workshop. Benitez is an accomplished mountaineer, having summited Everest six times. He’s also a formerly from the Western Slope and lived in Eagle before being tapped by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2015 to become the first director of the newly created OREC.

“The office is one of the first of its kind in the nation. Luiz is an incredible cheerleader for the outdoor industry and will be sharing some remarkable statistics on its importance,” Kleinschnitz said. “It’s not like the car or pharmaceutical industry, with a number of large businesses; rather, it’s made of a mosaic of small businesses. It’s at the grassroots of our economy.”

The final CRAFT workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Room 185 at Colorado Northwestern Community College, 2801 W. Ninth St.

A majority of the MCTA Board of Directors will attend.

The public is welcome to attend and participate and may choose to attend only Benitez’ presentation, which is expected to get underway at 1 p.m. Reservations are required.

For more information or to make a reservation, contact or 970-824-2335.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or

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