Scott Peterson, second from right, accepts Governor’s Award for Outstanding Sustainable Tourism Initiative for Chaffee County.

The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Sustainable Tourism Initiative at a recent Governor’s Tourism Conference in Pueblo.

The award, for which there were more than 300 applicants, goes to a project, event or program that promotes reducing the impact of travelers on special places and natural resources in Colorado, a press release stated.

The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau created the Adventure By Nature Pledge to educate visitors about responsible recreation in response to increased visitation to the county’s 567,000 acres of public lands during the pandemic.

The Adventure By Nature Pledge is an outreach and education project supporting outdoor recreation, economic and visitor growth in Chaffee County by encouraging responsible recreation, stewardship principles and best practices for visitors and residents recreating in the outdoors.

The pledge ask visitors to Buena Vista and Salida to “Stay on the trail, Be respectful, Recreate responsibly, Leave no trace.”

Using a Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism grant, the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau developed messaging that was implemented into the printed visitor guide and the visitors bureau’s website.

The campaign, which included 15 videos promoted on social media and the website, generated more than 3 million impressions in June and July. 

The campaign was funded in part by a Colorado Tourism Office Matching Marketing Grant, along with $20,000 from the visitors bureau and $2,500 each from the Salida and Buena Vista chambers of commerce.

The program encourages visitors to take the Adventure By Nature Pledge by giving them a free Discovery Pass, a digital savings pass for more than $800 in freebies and discounts on food, drinks, shops, experiences and lodging in Salida, Buena Vista, Poncha Springs and Nathrop.

Scott Peterson, marketing director for the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau, led the project, which was created for the Colorado Tourism Office’s two-year Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey, a tuition-based executive training program. 

David Curtis, owner of 50 West Productions, created the videos along with Mike Hagedorn, owner of Cloud Level Media. Angel Rowell was the project manager, and she and her husband, Nik Rowell, created the Discovery Pass.

The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau was also one of three finalists for the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative, which acknowledges an activity, event or project undertaken by a community or region to promote tourism in Colorado.

Peterson presented at two breakout sessions at the conference and graduated from the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey.

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