Geotourism: Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and well-being of its residents.
AZTEC, N.M. (May 14, 2012)—Local community leaders, regional and state tourism managers and Geotourism site nominees will meet at the Aztec Ruins National Monument on Saturday, June 2, 2012, at 11 a.m., to launch the Four Corners Geotourism website and Geotourism MapGuide with National Geographic Maps. The landmark project has taken two years to plan and execute and is a historically significant asset for everyone who visits or lives in the Four Corners region.
The Geotourism MapGuide highlights the enchanted landscapes and enduring people of the region where four states and many cultures merge. It is designed to showcase to national and international audiences the natural, cultural and historic attractions that define the Four Corners region.
From Acoma Pueblo to Zapata Ranch to Twin Rocks Cafe, locals sent in more than 800 nominations of their favorite points of interest; historic, cultural and natural landmarks; events; artisans; and attractions, which capture the region’s unique character and beauty. The MapGuide will be sold in various outlets throughout the Four Corners region. The website may be viewed at www.FourCornersGeotourism.com. Residents and visitors alike may continue to nominate new sites, events and special places to the website, which will be dynamic and constantly changing.
“The Four Corners Geotourism MapGuide and website showcase what makes the Four Corners Region so culturally and geographically significant,” said James Dion, sustainable tourism program manager, National Geographic Maps. “More than ever, this project underscores the importance of conserving the region’s tremendous scenic, historic and cultural assets for future generations.”
The Four Corners Geotourism MapGuide:
- Is one of only 17 Geotourism MapGuides worldwide to date.
- Showcases many of the more than 800 sites nominated by locals.
- Is a resource designed to improve local, rural economic development.
- Provides access to a niche national market of 65 million “geotourists.”
- Will grow with the ongoing addition of hundreds of more sites and events over the years.
- Highlights the resources of the Four Corners region encompassing a major portion of the Colorado Plateau, including communities, private and public lands and 23 tribes.
- Provides a long-term resource for promoting the Four Corners to the nation and the world.
National Geographic’s acclaimed mapmaking and sustainable tourism expertise helped produce the Geotourism website and MapGuide with Trail of the Ancients (TOTA) Byway Associations in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico; representatives of the Ute, Navajo and Pueblo tribes; regional communities and organizations and state and federal agencies. Funding for the project was provided by the Bureau of Land Management; the U.S. Forest Service; Utah, New Mexico and Colorado Tourism Offices; the towns of Aztec and Farmington, N.M.; San Juan County, Utah; a Scenic Byways grant through TOTA-Colorado; and a Preserve America grant through Mesa Verde Country®.
“Trail of the Ancients and the Four Corners partners see this project as a great opportunity to work closely with other groups in the region to promote responsible tourism,” said Susan Thomas, project coordinator from TOTA-Colorado.
“This Geotourism MapGuide will bring national and international attention to one of America’s most remote and beautiful areas, encouraging the traveling public to visit our states and discover firsthand the remarkable natural resources, history, culture and people who call this enchanting landscape home.” said Lynn Dyer, tourism director for Mesa Verde Country®.
Aztec Ruins National Monument, which is hosting the launch event, is one example of the high-quality venues on the MapGuide that celebrates the region’s sense of place and offers a glimpse into the people and events that shaped the Four Corners region. Aztec Ruins has been chosen as one of 50 projects nationally for America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. The project will receive funding for a pedestrian bridge over the Animas River and a trail linking the national monument to downtown Aztec, N.M. The celebration of this achievement will share the stage with the launch of the Geotourism MapGuide and website.
The event will feature Indian dancers, a regional geotourism fair and remarks by representatives and dignitaries associated with the project. Visitors are also encouraged to tour the national monument. June 2 is also the annual Aztec Fiesta Days, a popular tradition in northwest New Mexico. The formal program will begin at 11 a.m. at the national monument, although there will be activities throughout the day at both the monument and in the city of Aztec.
The National Geographic Society has worked with community-based alliances to develop similar Geotourism MapGuides and websites in other regions around the world. Geotourism MapGuide projects have been completed or are ongoing in the Central Cascades (Oregon, Washington), the Crown of the Continent (Alberta, British Columbia, Montana), Greater Yellowstone (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), Sierra Nevada (California, Nevada), Tennessee River Valley (Smoky Mountains through Knoxville and south to Chattanooga and north Georgia), California’s Redwood Coast, Lakes to Locks Passage (New York, Quebec), Guatemala, Newfoundland and Portugal’s Douro Valley.
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 more than 95 years. National Geographic Maps publishes a vast collection of wall maps, travel maps, outdoor recreation maps, atlases and globes. For more information on National Geographic Maps, visit www.natgeomaps.com.
Contact: Lynn Dyer – firstname.lastname@example.org