Banks Vernonia state trail

Tourism Development

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TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

Capital Projects Grants Program

The WCVA’s Tourism Development Capital Project Grant supports entities with projects and programs that the WCVA Board of Directors believes have extraordinary merit and will positively impact and increase overnight visitation to the Tualatin Valley.

The grant program—with a total of $200,000 to be awarded annually—supports the capital finance needs for tourism-related projects, and are awarded on an annual cycle. In FY16-17, the Capital Projects Grants Program was changed to a closed-cycle, with applications accepted for a specific time period.

In 2018, the WCVA’s grant committee reviewed applications and awarded more than $77,000 in grants for tourism-related projects that will benefit the Tualatin Valley tourism industry. Grant funds will be distributed once each project is completed. For more information about the WCVA’s grant program, please visit tualatinvalley.org/tourism-grants/.

Grants Awarded

  • The City of Sherwood was awarded $30,150 for a Cedar Creek Trail bike and sign project in FY2015-2016. This project is expected to be completed December 2018.
  • The North Plains Chamber of Commerce was awarded $35,000 for wayfinding signage around the city of North Plains to direct visitors to the city center and local businesses and attractions in FY16-17. This project is expected to be completed August 2018.
  • The Northwest Trail Alliance was awarded $4,841 for maintenance and improvements to the Williams Creek Trail at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park.
  • The Oregon Department of Forestry was awarded $7,165 for construction of a new bridge at the Low Divide Loop Trail in the Gales Creek Campground.
  • The Tigard Downtown Alliance was awarded $35,000 for Tigard Outdoor Museum interpretive signage.

Outdoor Recreation Rural Tourism Studio

In May 2018, the WCVA and Travel Oregon hosted the Outdoor Recreation Tourism Studio, a workshop designed to help rural communities develop key strategies to build outdoor recreation-based tourism in a manageable and sustainable way.

The primary focus of the studio was cycling, which already is a popular activity in western Washington County and southern Columbia with the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway and the Banks-Vernonia State Trail both being well-known tourism attractions. “Bicycle content specialists” from Travel Oregon presented insights regarding cycling tourism, the cultural impact of cycling, the different types of cycling and the tourism impact of each.

This outdoor recreation initiative, part of the Portland Region’s Regional Tourism Cooperative Plan (RCTP), and was true regional effort.  The two-day workshop was well attended, with nearly 48 in attendance (Travel Oregon called it one of the best attended tourism studios), which included representatives from Washington County and Columbia County in attendance.

The intended result of the studio was to develop a plan to help build upon western Washington County and southern Columbia County’s cycling tourism assets. Some of the key takeaways—included in a draft plan–included:

  1. Identify and maintain the best road and gravel routes
  2. Develop/enhance cycling tourist services (e.g. wayfinding signage and transportation)
  3. Develop additional road and off-road routes

The steering committee for the tourism studio will be presented with the final strategic plan and the next steps to move forward with the tourism development goals of the region from Travel Oregon and the bicycle content specialists. Once the next steps are clear, the action teams—including representatives from the WCVA–will form and move forward on the recommendations.

Scenic Byways and Tour Routes

Oregon’s Scenic Byways Program is administered by Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and marketed in partnership with Travel Oregon.  Oregon has more scenic byways and tour routes than any other state, and as of 2018, Washington County has two of these routes.

Economic analysis indicates that travelers spend an average of $104 per day along Scenic Byways, which directly benefits rural businesses and workforces. (Source: Travel Oregon)

TREES TO SEAS SCENIC BYWAY

The Oregon Tourism Commission, with the recommendation by ODOT, approved the Trees to Sea Byway at the Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism in April. Co-sponsored by the WCVA, Visit Tillamook and the Oregon Department of Forestry, this new scenic byway connects the city of Banks to the Oregon Coast via Highway 6.

The 68-mile byway runs parallel to much of the Wilson River along Highway 6, passes through the Oregon Coast Range and the Tillamook State Forest, and connects with the Highway 101 Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. The new byway also provides opportunities for recreation, including recreating at the Banks-Vernonia State Trail and camping in the Tillamook Forest.

 VINEYARD & VALLEY SCENIC TOUR ROUTE

The Vineyard & Valley Scenic Tour Route was approved in 2008. Because of changes in the Urban Growth Boundary in recent years—where many farms and scenic viewpoints have been replaced with urban development and growth–the WCVA reached out to ODOT to redraw the southern portion of the route. Due to future growth, the WCVA will continue to work with its government partners to re-work the route as necessary.