RED LODGE POST
A VIEWPOINT ON TOURISM IN THE NORTHWEST
Region as a concept is commonly used in geography to describe different areas of the world, sometimes based on political divisions, commercial interest, or travel interests. Examples of regions are many: In the case of travel, in Europe, Provence in France is widely thought of and, for many, Wine Country may conjure images of Sonoma County in northern California. In whatever way defined, regions are a useful tool to promote and drive interest in special geographic areas.
The Northwest is commonly recognized as a region in the United States, different from that shown on the map below: The Northwest traditionally includes more area in the far west, the Cascades and west of the Cascades along the pacific Coast in Washington and Oregon. These areas near and along the Pacific Coast are not included in Absaroka, the distinctive travel region described in this Web page.
Even so, Absaroka emerges as a slightly larger Northwest. It includes the states of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, parts of northern Utah and Nevada, plus Washington and Oregon east of the Cascade Mountains.
Absaroka as a travel region envisioned here is a vast area of mountains and plains, extending from the lower Yellowstone Valley in the east to the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and the Sierra Nevada in the west and south beyond the great Salt Lake.
Some of America’s most spectacular landscapes are found in Absaroka. Outdoor recreation opportunities are limitless. Wildlife such as grizzly bears, mountain lions, and bison inhabit the wilds in a natural environment. As a bonus, an Absaroka travel region has a low population and is remote from heavily populated centers in other parts of the United States. An Absaroka Region could be considered a refuge from a hectic and busy world. Truly a wonderland,
When on vacation, most people travel near home in the region which they live, say New England or the Midwest. By designating an area as a special travel region in the Northwest, tourists from close to home would have a convenient framework to understand what their destination would be like, as well a guide for planning activities they might partake and participate in. Those traveling from distant places would benefit too.
From a marketing viewpoint, traditional geographies do not work that well. Montana tourism has its own Website and tourism promotions, the same for Wyoming and Idaho. To illustrate, consider a traveler interesting in visiting world-class museums. In Wyoming, travel promoters are eager to talk about the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. Well enough. But for a more successful and informative approach aimed at tourists with this interest in mind, why not mention in the same promotional literature the Montana Historical Society Museum in Helena, a premier museum of western history, as well.
As an aside, Montana tourism already openly markets Yellowstone National Park even while the entire park lies in Wyoming, except for narrow borderlands in Idaho and Montana. The door is open!
A travel region called Absaroka, more expansive than single states, increases possibilities in so many ways. If this kind of regional tourism takes hold, everyone benefits, particularly the tourists themselves who after all is what this story is about.
As for a broader approach to tourism promotion in the Northwest, the Website Go Northwest!: a Travel Guide has a head start. The region presented on this Web page achieves much more by branding an entire area in the Northwest, east of the Cascades, under a common name, Absaroka.