Big picture

Dear Editor:

I read with interest a recent SUN editorial about the importance of holding on to some of Pagosa’s history and traditions. Here is a comment.

I question the way Pagosa Springs is being promoted. The point is about the massive population growth of the 1990s and how it is changing Pagosa Springs by aligning to newcomers’ interests and attitudes which do not necessarily reflect what Pagosa Springs has been for a century. I am not pointing to anyone currently in charge of promotion; this trend includes, but also predates most current leadership.

During a meeting, one observant fellow stated, “We have too much wine and cheese and not enough beer and pretzels.” That said a lot in a few words! I have nothing against arts and crafts, the performing arts, running, hiking, mountain biking, dress-up socials, etc, but there is another range of activities here going under represented. Most of these are traditionally considered masculine activities.

An example is the lack of any institutional support for hunting. In the distant past, Bob Hand and chums did hunter welcome parties when he managed the Chamber of Commerce. That ended when he left the job and area a quarter century ago.

It is a good guess that hunting brings more economy to this community than all of the other well supported events and activities combined. There are no community welcome banners, no tent in the park, no advanced publicity … nothing from the establishment! While hunting may not satisfy the all important lodging industry, there are many smaller businesses and people here dependent on the hunting seasons to put food on their tables. One would think this level of economic impact would get some interest and support from the local promotional establishment.

Off-roading, shooting and other similar activities get the same short shrift. Pagosa Springs was once the number one location in the state for off road vehicle registration and we have needed a gun range for decades.

It might be a good step for all promotional entities to come together and survey, without bias, all available visitor activities and their economic contributions in order to determine where some of the funding and effort should go.

Many of the people in charge of our promotion can see their picture, but do not see “the big picture.” It is the big picture where we will find success over the long haul, not the favorite activities of a few who happen to fill promotional positions at any given time.

Norm Vance

This story was posted on October 31, 2013.