On May 25th, 2021 we held our Gorge Outdoor Recreation & Tourism Summit (by Zoom) to explore worst case scenarios from around the world, the good news and the actions we can take together as a region.
We started with a welcome and overview of the work we are doing as a network:
We then looked at a number of examples of overtourism from around the world
Eric White, social scientist from the Forest Service shared current data on visitation in the Gorge as well as projections for use in the future:
We then broke into groups to explore what the worst case scenario could look like for the Gorge:
Then we turned to the good news, starting with a model for sustainable tourism:
We had a series of rapid fire updates on the work that is already underway in the Gorge by different organizations to help address some of these issues:
Sign up to become a Trail Ambassador here
Ape Cave timed ticket reservations here
Lewis River Recreation Area reserved parking tickets here
Finally, we wrapped things up with some things we can each do this very moment to help protect and enhance our region:
Outdoor equity and inclusion is also key to the Gorge. This was explored in depth the next evening by the Outdoor Access For All webinar hosted by Friends of the Columbia Gorge and organized in collaboration with Comunidades, Love is King, and People of Colors Outdoors. They explored the opportunities and challenges in ensuring equitable access for all to state parks and lands in the Columbia Gorge and beyond across both Oregon and Washington.
Throughout the Summit, participants were asked to add questions, topics and thoughts in the chat. Here is a summary of those themes:
And here is a short survey to let us know which topics you are interested in exploring further: