WASHINGTON (Sept. 17, 2010)—Organizations in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona are joining with National Geographic Maps to highlight the world-class natural and cultural attractions of the Four Corners region. The project seeks to contribute to the economic health of communities by promoting geotourism: tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents.
A community-based nomination process launched today will be used to create a National Geographic “Geotourism MapGuide” for the region. The Four Corners region designated for the map encompasses a major portion of the Colorado Plateau, including communities, plus private and public lands in the four-state area. The printed MapGuide will be available in fall 2011. A parallel interactive website is also being developed.
“Participation by local residents is critical to the project’s success,” said Susan Thomas, Four Corners Geotourism Project coordinator. “Our goal is to get nominations from across the region that identify the things people love best, those ‘must see’ places that reflect the cultural continuum from prehistoric sites to modern-day communities, natural features, small towns and enduring landscapes.”
Local residents and visitors are invited to nominate for inclusion in the MapGuide the landmarks, attractions, activities, events and even local foods that define the region’s character and distinctive appeal. Nominations may be made through Dec. 17, 2010, during local public forums and at www.FourCornersGeotourism.com. The site nomination process was opened today at the dedication of the Four Corners Monument Plaza, where Jim Dion of National Geographic Maps, officially announced the Four Corners Region Geotourism Initiative and asked for public participation.
Public forums and presentations will be conducted in communities throughout the region to encourage nominations and community involvement.
“The National Geographic Maps Division is pleased to have the opportunity to spotlight this region and, in doing so, support and sustain it as one of the treasured natural places on the globe,” said Dion. “The MapGuide will celebrate the area’s abundant scenic, cultural and historical attributes from the unique vantage point of those who live there.”
Beyond open-to-the-public map point nomination, the MapGuide development process calls for oversight by a regional committee. The Four Corners Stewardship Council represents an assortment of geotourism perspectives, including community leadership, historic preservation, natural resources, public lands management, indigenous peoples, traditional and local arts, agriculture, tourism promotion and local businesses. A primary task for the Stewardship Council will be to review and sort nomination submissions prior to sending them to National Geographic. The Council will have final say on the selected sites.
MapGuide projects have been published for Appalachia, Baja California, Central Cascades, Crown of the Continent (Alberta, British Columbia, Montana), Greater Yellowstone, Guatemala, Redwood Coast of California, Vilcanota Valley – Peru, Sierra Nevada of California, Sonoran Desert (Arizona and Sonora, Mexico), the city of Montreal and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
National Geographic Maps was established as a division of the National Geographic Society in 1915 and has been producing maps for National Geographic magazine and other Society groups for 95 years. National Geographic Maps produces outdoor recreation mapping software, Trails Illustrated maps and software, globes, wall maps, travel maps and atlases. For more information on National Geographic Maps, visit natgeomaps.com.