June 8, 2023

The first Travel Southern Oregon Coast (SOC) Network Conference was a deemed a huge success. Held May 15-16 at the Mill Casino Hotel and RV Park in Coos Bay, more than 80 individuals representing the SOC and the greater Oregon tourism industry attended this two-day event.

The conference provided information on many state and regional resources that provide assistance to the tourism industry, as well as to the many people who call the SOC home. Some highlights include:

Arica Sears, Deputy Director of Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA), gave an overview of the latest from OCVA, including their initiatives on sustainability, travelability, and keeping local seafood local.

Julie Miller, Executive Director of Travel Southern Oregon Coast (TSOC), presented a synopsis of TSOC, highlighting recent projects and partnerships, which have enabled initiatives such as the Whiskey Run Bike Network and assessable paddle launches, as well as social media, co-op, and brand advertising campaigns.

Steph Noll, Coalition Director of Oregon Trails Coalition (OCT) walked us through OTC's goals for sustainable, world-class trails on the SOC and throughout Oregon.

Katera Woodbridge, Tourism Consultant for International Tourism Ecosystem, explained engagement in the international travel space and how DMOs and businesses can keep the SOC in the conversation as an international destination. Ideas include creating itineraries, making recommendations, arranging reservations, and hosting international travel partners.

Brian Kraynik, Instructor at Columbia Pacific Maritime (ColPac), enlightened us on how ColPac can help entrepreneurs turn their maritime business idea into a reality. He also provided information on the training available to satisfy USCG licenses and certification requirements.

Natasha Garrison, Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board (SOWIB), briefed us on SOWIB and the myriad of workforce resources available to businesses and organizations, such as recruitment, training, and scholarships, as well as paid apprenticeships and internships.

Amy Wolff, President of Distinction Communication and TEDx Speaker Coach, provided the key note address. Amy gave a rousing session on "Standing Out in a Sea of Voices" by using your eyes, voice, hands, and movement to engage with your audience, grab their attention, and be perceived as a great communicator.

TSOC Board Members moderated a Round Table Discussion to create networking and to gain feedback on what participants view as the best and worst of the SOC and how TSOC can help. A summary of findings will be tabulated and shared with stakeholders.

Finally, a big thank you to our sponsors, our speakers, and all who attended the first TSOC Conference.

Oregon’s South Coast Region is stronger because of you!

We are super excited to collaborate with @wildcraftstudio school from Portland to celebrate the natural beauty and ecological wonders of the Southern Oregon Coast. WildCraft educators will lead six hands-on workshops on September 30 and October 1 in Bandon, Port Orford, and Brookings. Each workshop will focus on mycology, wild edibles, and the unique qualities of a specific micro-region.

Plan your weekend getaway and join us for one or more of the "Foraging the Southern Oregon Coast" workshops! Immersive, inspiring, and fascinating, these expert-led workshops explore the breathtaking headlands where the lush forest meets the fury of the ocean, and the humid coastal air creates perfect conditions for fungi to thrive.

Hunt for porcini, lobster, and chanterelle mushrooms while snacking on salal berries and spotting seals, sea lions, or maybe even a pod of Orcas!

Mycology and Marine Mammals of the Southern Oregon Coast
Dates: Sept 30 & Oct 1
Time: 10am-3pm
Location: Bandon, OR

Mushrooms & More! Wild Foods of the Southern Oregon Coast
Dates: Sept 30 & Oct 1
Time: 10am-3pm
Location: Port Orford, OR

Mushrooms of the Southern Oregon Coast
Time: 10am-3pm
Dates: Sept 30 & Oct 1
Location: Brookings, OR

In 2023, Travel Oregon awarded $438,977 in Oregon Trails Funds (OTF) to increase capacity of Oregon trail organizations in support of stewardship projects on new or existing U.S. Forest Service (USFS) trails, and to provide volunteer and trail ambassador programming to help produce enjoyable trail experiences for a diversity of visitors and recreational users.

Developed and funded in partnership with the USFS, OTF is a Travel Oregon program that aims to bolster Oregon’s competitive advantage as a world-class outdoor recreation destination and to provide exceptional trail experiences.
The following eleven organizations, listed by Oregon tourism region, received funds for the projects listed.

Mt. Hood/Gorge Region – Total Awarded: $38,491 (Mt. Hood National Forest)
AntFarm, Inc. – Grant for capacity to hire paid AntFarm YouthCore Trail Crew Leads and Youth Staff, and for purchasing of tools/supplies.

Willamette Valley Region – Total Awarded: $79,435 (Willamette National Forest)
Cascade Volunteers – Grant for tools/supplies and to fund staff to recruit, train, and manage volunteers to restore the Santiam Wagon Trail. Also, for capacity to develop curriculum, as well as recruit, train, and manage trailhead ambassadors.

Oakridge Trails Alliance – Grant for tools/supplies and to increase staff capacity, skills, and certifications to recruit, train, manage, and retain volunteers for trail maintenance stewardship activities on fire-affected, high-use trails.

Central Oregon Region – Total Awarded: $80,209 (Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest, Crooked River Grasslands)
Discover Your Northwest, DBA Discover Your Forest – Grant for paid staff and to provide critical tools/supplies to recruit, train, and manage volunteers in high-use and high-fire-risk areas in order to increase community engagement efforts to successfully implement historic fire-risk reduction work.

Discover Your Northwest, DBA Public Land Stewards – Grant to purchase critical tools, personal protective equipment, and communications and safety supplies to support large-scale public land volunteer clean ups.

Oregon Equestrian Trails – Grant to hire Northwest Your Corps to work with trail volunteers to restore a five-mile section of the Metolius-Windigo Trail. Also, used to purchase trail tools and to support trail management.

Sisters Trails Alliance – Grant to create a new position that will recruit, train, and manage volunteers who perform trail work and oversee a Student Trail Ambassador program. Also, for volunteer tools and supplies.

Eastern Oregon Region – Total Awarded: $154,292 (Umatilla National Forest, North Fork Umatilla River Wilderness, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Malheur National Forest)
Greater Hells Canyon Council – Grant for paid staff/contracted capacity and tools/supplies to increase skills and certifications to recruit, train, manage, and retain volunteers, as well as hire youth/indigenous crews for trail maintenance and to engage in trail stewardship activities.

Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association – Grant for staff capacity and for tools and supplies to host/manage volunteers to steward 80+ miles of trails in Eagle Cap and Hells Canyon wilderness areas, as well as to coordinate with existing youth programs to provide skills training to youth while meeting conservation objectives.

Southern Oregon Region – Total Awarded: $41,550 (Umpqua National Forest)
National Forest Foundation – Grant to purchase tools/supplies, increase staff to develop trail-ambassador type programming, recruit, train, manage, and retain volunteers, and to hire crews for trail maintenance and to engage in trail stewardship activities.

Oregon Coast Region – Total Awarded: $45,000 (Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest)
Wild Rivers Coast Mountain Bicycling Association – Grant to hire crews and purchase tools/supplies to host/manage volunteer trail events to reopen Lawson Creek Trail and improve Pine Grove Trail.

PHOTO CREDITS: Network Conference photo by Julie, Oregon Coast Trail
photo by Justin Myers