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Posted by: thepinetree on 02/23/2008 05:50 AM Updated by: Kim_Hamilton on 02/23/2008 06:58 PM
Expires: 01/01/2013 12:00 AM
:

Great Tourist Numbers Last Weekend. Some estimates put number between 15 to 20,000. We hope they had a good time and will be back soon!

Calaveras & Western Alpine Counties, CA...The great weather and 3 Day weekend brought the visitors to our area in droves. From the almost 5,000 skiers on the hill at BVMR, to the packed sledding hills and cross country trails at Bear Valley Cross Country and the hundreds of snowmobiles zipping about. The the outdoor recreation venues of the Ebbetts Pass Corridor were definitely firing on all cylinders last weekend. It was more than just snow play that drew them. Murphys and the surrounding wine region was teeming with activity as well. We spoke with several wineries who said that it was the busiest President's Day Weekend they had ever had....


We didn't get the chance to check in with Spelunking destinations but I bet they had their caves and zip lines filled as well.

Mother Nature and a day off may have been the biggest draws but it also took a lot of hard work and preparation from not only the local businesses but the local marketing people as well. All of our areas attractions have to compete for their share of visitors. We compete against Tahoe, Yosemite, the Napa Valley wine region and more. People have choices as to the areas they visit and where they spend their increasingly hard earned cash.

Results like these don't just happen. They take constant work by people like Rosie Sundell from Bear Valley, Lisa Reynolds from the Calaveras Visitor & Small Convention Bureau, Anna Davies from the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance, Faralyn Dunn from Ironstone and many more who make sure they get the area's message out there for our perspective visitors to see.

It seems our area is maturing as a complete tourist draw. From the Lake Alpine Resort with it's new owners, the Lake Alpine Snow Taxi and year round focus to Copperopolis and the New Town Center that is rapidly filling with tenants we are becoming a significant tourist draw.

Many people may not know that our area now draws well over a million visitors a year. The potential is there for these numbers to grow significantly.

Bear Valley will be adding the Village Lift and New Village Core the next few years. We spoke with a former resident of Park City who lived there before and after they put in the ski lift in the center of town and he said the changes in visitor counts, property values and energy were significant. Some property values even doubled. It changed the whole dynamic of Park City. The same potential is there for a similar transformation in Bear Valley as well.

Arnold with the hard work of the Calaveras Council of Governments is starting to work on a cohesive "Alpine Village" core. These improvements will allow Arnold to thrive as a gateway town for not only Big Trees State Park but as a destination draw itself. With the plans for biking and walking trails throughout town, better sign age and branding and a renewed focus the Arnold area will be positioned better to promote itself and it's existing assets such as White Pines Lake, The Logging Museum with it's proposed steam train, The Arnold RIM trail, The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway, Sequoia Woods & Meadowmont Golf Courses, and much more.

Murphys is continually adding to it's draw. More and more wineries, shops and restaurants are coming to town. It should be able to add to it's growing and solid base of visitors each year. It seems that from Irish Days, The Ironstone Concert Series, through Grape Stomp weekend Muphys is now constantly filled.

Angels Camp is excited about using the Angels Camp Bypass as an opportunity to refocus and re-market it's Historic Downtown core and other shopping areas as well. With some of the heavy through traffic reduced by the bypass Angels Camp will be able to work on developing downtown as a pedestrian shopping mecca. They are already conducting planning and study sessions on branding, signage and developing a consistent and appealing theme. All the building blocks are there. Utica Park, The Museum, The Visitors Bureau, Angels Theaters with their new $750,000 digital projection systems, Frog Town, The Frog Jump, Greenhorn Creek, The Bret Harte Theater, The New Sports Complex and Angels Camp's position as the destination shopping hub for the county put it in a great position to expand it's economic base..

Even though the economy is in a bit of an economic funk at the moment the long term prospects for Calaveras County have never looked better. Even the county government is talking Economic Development now.



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