Great American Outdoors Act and Mountain Culture Initiative Aid Pocahontas Tourism
Cara Rose, Executive Director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau, explains how the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act will help fund recreational projects in Pocahontas County’s portion of the Monongahela National Forest.
“As listeners might have seen a few weeks ago, we were looking for support among the community to ask our Washington D.C. leadership to pass the Great American Outdoors Act. That did pass, thanks to Senator Mansion really taking the lead on that and understanding the value that fund has, especially to the Monongahela National Forest, which makes up about fifty-eight percent (58%) of our county. That funding is now available for a variety of projects in our area and within the national forest.”
The project list was just released, and you can visit our Facebook page -the Pocahontas county convention and Visitors Bureau- and see what those project lists are. Some of those projects are related to the Cranberry area; the IMBA Ride Center Project -with trail maintenance included, and that’s really important, given that the Monongahela National Forest does provide the largest asset in our county, it is also the largest tourism asset in the State of West Virginia. And given that outdoor recreation not only has always been very important to us, it is sustaining our economy right now, and the future is very bright for the mountain biking economy as well. So, these projects will further enhance everything that we are working very hard on to continue to grow our tourism economies.”
Cara explains that it remains important that citizens send their comments in support of funding our projects here in the county even though the Forest Service’s very short official project comment window has expired. You can find how to submit those comments on the Convention and visitor Bureau’s website.
“With the Great American Outdoors Act, comments to the Forrest Service can be submitted for really an indefinite time period -I am not sure what the actual cutoff is. Although the thirteenth (of September) was the stated deadline, you can still make your comments. They may not have as much weight, but everyone is still welcome to provide those comments.”
Next, Cara talks about the Mountain Culture Program, which is a local CVB customer service training program.
“I would also like to remind our listeners that the Mountain Culture Program is being presented every Wednesday. Mountain Culture is the second generation of hospitality training that the convention and visitors Bureau is presenting. I’ve been doing hospitality training for many years, and what I have found is that we do not have to remind our workforce to smile and to be friendly. Visitors tell us all the time how friendly the workforce and our communities are in Pocahontas County. But what Mountain Culture does is foster the value that each and every one of us has to the experience that the visitor has when they visit Nature’s Mountain Playground. Yes, they have fun hiking, mountain biking, going to Cass, visiting Snowshoe, yes, those are all great experiences. But, ultimately, what visitors remember is their engagement with people. And it is really important that all of us understand just how important the authenticity of our mountain culture is. It is highly valuable. It does create the experience for the visitor, and it creates that return visit. People come here for the scenic beauty, and they return because of people they met on their first visit here. So, Mountain Culture is our new initiative to foster within ourselves the role we play in the visitor experience. Mountain Culture is offered every Wednesday through this month. People can find the link to the Zoom presentation in our ad in the Pocahontas Times, or they can contact me directly if they are interested in the Zoom session -whether it is the public offering, or a custom date and time for their staff members. I provide a free mask for everyone who participates. We also provide signage for the businesses when they support the Mountain Culture Initiative.