Tourism bolsters Polk, without changing Polk, if we care enough

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, September 4, 2013

There are few industries that build the revenue they seek without eating up a considerable amount of resources or altering significantly the area around them.

Many have to build large buildings, use excessive amounts of energy and require a tremendous amount of services. The outdoor tourism industry, however, doesn’t often require such resources. Those who relish in the experiences such businesses and events offer also do so because of a connection with nature.

Polk County stands to benefit from this type of industry as outdoor entrepreneurs, vineyard owners and equestrian farm owners build nationally-recognized endurance races, add zip lines, attract wine lovers from around the country and bring trainers from around the world. These businesses are bringing hundreds of visitors to our area to experience the majesty of the place we all call home – just look at the facebook page of The Gorge or drop by one of our wineries yourself and you’ll see the numbers.

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While they are here they spend dollars in our restaurants, gas stations, gift shops and more. When almost 100 extreme outdoor athletes converge on Saluda and the surrounding area for the Green River Games this weekend, many of them will bring with them at minimum one family member or friend.