Letter: Destination marketing or management is not much of a choice | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Destination marketing or management is not much of a choice

It seems to be the same old destination marketing approach: more marketing, more visitors, more development and more unsustainable growth. The specific 2022 plan for “destination management” was outlined by the chamber as leave-no-trace signs, know before you go outdoor campaigns, and reminders to not litter the Yampa River.

The National Park Service, the experts in this field, have used these strategies for decades, and it has not reduced the negative impacts and crowding. So, in the last few years they have added reservations, lottery quotas and a permit system to reduce overcrowding impacts, to protect the carrying capacity of the park, the visitors’ experience and the wildlife habitat.

Stewardship and sustainability are not viable goals when you have constant promotion to increase visitation and events that negatively impact a finite resource. The national parks have learned that there is a critical carrying capacity limit. YVCS and the Ski Corp seem to believe that there are an infinite number of areas that we can fill up and somehow still be sustainable and well-stewarded.

County and city officials were told: “We really want to make sure that tourism continues to add value while lessening environmental impacts.” What if you compared the carbon footprint of Routt County to the carbon footprint of tourists traveling by airplane and vehicles to our valley?

Our carbon footprint would be insignificant and the footprint of tourists traveling here would be huge. The combination of all these carbon impacts has already caused our river to be closed for two summers, prolonged drought, resulted in local forest fires, reduced our snowfall, stressed our wildlife, reduced irrigation for our ranchers and negatively impacting our nature-based economy.

The city has subsidized “destination management” to the cost of $562,500 already and now YVSC, the Ski Corp and Chamber want a possible total of $200,000 more from the city and county to study “destination management.” Upon being asked why this group could not fund this themselves, they said, “we want this to be neutral” because if “it came from Ski Corp it could be seen as a little more subjective.” Really?

How can there be social, environmental and economic stewardship if Ski Corp and the chamber continue their “brutal marketing.” Please tell the city council and county commissioners to protect what we have before we destroy it with overcrowding, more events and more visitor promotions.

John Spezia

Steamboat Springs

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