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Small Towns Selling Out for the Tourist Dollar - Bad Idea

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posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 05:58 PM
Ten years ago I moved to a small town in the middle of a National Park.

When I first got here I thought I had found Heaven on Earth.

The locals are nice and a hearty breed. Plentiful nature trails and so on an so forth....slow pace...nothing really extraordinary to bother about...then Hollywood found out about the place. I have nothing against Hollywood mind you...I just dislike some of the attendant "hangers on" on the outskirts of that community that tend to be outlandishly spoiled, reckless and irresponsible. They tend to descend like locusts.

First it was of the local bakeries was invited to feature on "Cupcake Wars". They didn't win. Walking by the shop now, there is a handmade paint job on the window proclaiming "as featured on Food Network" to lure tourists in. They really don't need that. Their cupcakes are delicious and they're the only game in town when it comes to that particular delicacy. But they went ahead and did it anyway.

I've been trying to warn the locals about the dangers of opening themselves up to that type of tourist demographic. I've seen how the tourism grab can destroy the peaceful and idyllic town within less than a decade. Austin is a good example of how the sudden influx of certain parties can drastically overwhelm the natural ecosystem.

So now they're doing construction outside my house....a new road to help mitigate the sudden interest in the region. That's fine by me, the city planners had the foresight to create the road in a manner that steers travelers away from residential areas. But I still have concerns.

We have a racetrack in town. Horses. It's big business. They've been pushing it as a tourist attraction for some time now. The parking lot has grown and they've added additional structures for the casino type gambling inside that goes year round. No problem right? The money goes back into the community and everyone benefits in the long run, right?


Just got back from checking my mail. The newspaper stand held a paper with the caption:


No freaking kidding. Really guys?

They've been changing the landscape to attract the type of tourist who - without the media blitz campaign - would have absolutely no interest in visiting a National Park with an extensive history behind it. Most of these newcomers don't even bother to get out of their cars. They just drive through town and look at things before moving on to the next place on their list. If they buy anything - it's fast food. Not local cuisine or anything that benefits the small business owner. Just fast food. Grab and go. Oh yeah. They also litter the roadways and parking lots like crazy.

So my warnings have gone unheeded - and now the Historical Buildings downtown are being "inspected" by interested parties who wish to develop and modify them for their own personal financial interest. When they did that in Seattle, they tore down and demolished many historical residential buildings in order to put up nice, neat and new bland "boxes" with no character to their design. Lower income residents and disabled individuals were forced out of their residences because the new owners raised the rates to outlandish amounts.

On the bright side they're in the process of constructing a brand new state-of-the-art jail and detention center to handle everything from litterbugs to murderers, so that's somewhat of a consolation I suppose. It helps balance the equation somewhat, but I'm still a little miffed about the whole thing.

And now I see the signs of that type of External Overthrow going on all around me. I feel powerless to stop it, because the Greed Machine seems to have no end to it's lust for the Almighty Dollar. I've tried warning them they're going to lose everything that makes this town even remotely interesting, but no one seems to listen.

So here I am...facing a moral and ethical imperative as a rational member of the Human Race and Citizen of this small town.

Rant over.
Thanks for reading.

edit on 2/11/15 by GENERAL EYES because: wrong freaking image - whoops

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 06:04 PM
Where do you live? I'm planning a road trip.

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 06:06 PM
a reply to: abe froman

Hell to the absolute no.

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 06:18 PM
He obviously lives in Mirror Park.

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 06:20 PM
a reply to: GENERAL EYES

Your story sounds a lot like Wisconsin Dells. Though that town has been going tits up for the past four decades. It might as well be Branson, Missouri these days. (which was once also a small town)

Gotta roll with the times I guess.

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 06:25 PM
a reply to: TDawgRex

Yeah. It's just annoying because they're in such a rush to develop the few existing nature spots on the main road in.

Just kind of a shame.

Locals tell me just fifteen years ago it was pine trees all the way down the main strip....the progress isn't all bad, but it takes some getting used to.

One thing for sure - it's going to get interesting when the insane-brand of newcomers start pushing their boundaries and meet the local crime syndicate face to face. I've met a few of 'em in passing and would hate to get on their bad side, that's for damn sure.

Suppose I'll just have to just keep reading about the various unexplained murders in the local paper.

edit on 2/11/15 by GENERAL EYES because: formatting again - because perfectionism

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 06:33 PM
a reply to: GENERAL EYES

You live in the middle of a National Park? Nicely done!

I think it has to be hard to run a local business on a seasonal basis in a place like that. Racing has a season, camping and nature tourism also has a season, and so businesses in an area like that have to do all they can to draw in revenue in the off season. Few people, generally speaking, want to go hiking or what have you, when the weather does not suit the endeavour, and so they are less likely to perform a tourism related activity during those months when the weather might be poorer.

When ones ability to draw in revenue is SOLELY dependent on the length of a winter, or a summer, or for that matter a spring or autumn as it is in some places, it makes life tougher for those who provide goods and services to local residents year round. The local general store will trade all year with folk who live in the town, but will make the majority of their money during the busiest season for tourism, and rely heavily upon that trade just to keep the doors open in some cases.

It is little wonder therefore, that they would elect to amp up their businesses, and make them attractive and eye catching for the visiting public. However, there is a difference between putting a fresh lick of paint on a building, and changing the dynamic of a town to suit a demographic which only spends a tiny percentage of its time, actually in the town, and using its businesses. University towns suffer similar issues, with various "upgrades" to the surrounding town or city district being made, purely to suit what are often temporary, and short term residents.

You express concern in your OP that old buildings and cherished local landmarks are at risk when things start to slide in this direction, and I completely empathise with that viewpoint. It happened to my town when we got a "University" campus installed in the centre of town. A quarter mile away, the oldest tree in the town was cut down, as part of a road improvement scheme. It was the centrepiece of a roundabout (or traffic circle, depending on which terminology you are most familiar with), which used to sit at the junction of the major roads in and out of the town centre. It was a perfectly adequate road system before the change, and has now been turned into an almighty cluster copulation of road layout, which confuses drivers, and endangers pedestrians, all in the name of progress.

I would advise you to keep banging your pans together on this one GENERAL EYES, because like unchecked weeds can ruin a garden, so can unchallenged pandering to a tourist demographic ruin a town. Never shut up about it, because even if it gets to the stage where all you can do is look around you, point and say "I BLOODY WELL TOLD YOU SO!", then at least someone will have borne witness to what happened, taken note, and mourned the passing of the place, from the realm of the unique and beautiful, into the region of mundanity and conformity.

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 06:41 PM
I live in a small county in Maryland, been here for my whole life, and when I was younger there wasn't much here we only had two traffic lights. People didn't mind driving to get to the store and stuff like that. So more people started to move here to get away from busy places with lots of people.
Well all the stuff that people were trying to get away from followed and now we have shopping centers and stores, car dealers, and all the things that make it a place that people want to get away from. The county says that they are limiting building but now we have apartment buildings, condos and town homes everywhere. It's sad really. So now I am looking to move south so I can find a place like my home county use to be and hope that I don't end up being one of the people that ruin it by moving there to get away from the crowd.

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 06:49 PM
I feel your pain, i moved to a small mountain town 12 years ago, city boy all my life, fresh air, lakes and wildlife like i never could have imagined, when i moved here the best time to see bears and deers was early morning at the lake, a short bike ride feom my house used to be peaceful and beautiful. Now with the growth of the town and the tourist money, the deers have moved away and the best spot to see bears is at the new open air garbage dumb. Greed and idiots are slowly turning this place in a city in the mountains.

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 06:58 PM
Unless it's truly one of those hidden gems that people will have epiphany moments over after visiting, don't sweat it, the tourism will die off. Trust me, many a town in Florida (where I used to live) has tried to suck people in. The tinier they are, the less likely it is that the phase will be anything lasting. The coastal islands & mainland cities and towns will always be a draw there -- everyone wants to go to the beach. Inland towns? Not so much. Not many do too good aside from around Orlando, no matter how hard they try to compete for the tourism bucks. How many people do you think flock to Ocala? I've been there, it's not much to look at (let alone do) Neighboring Silver Springs (an I-75 tourism stopping point) is the about only reason they get traffic at all, lol.

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 07:09 PM
Just wait for crime to go up. I hope all that doesn't wreck your town but things like that seldom work out right.

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 07:47 PM
When I bring my horses to race at Ruidosa every year.

I spend a bundle. Motels, Restaurants not counting what I spend at the track.

It has gradually gotten worse for the town. A lot more traffic...

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 10:57 PM
a reply to: GENERAL EYES

I can sympathize from my end - Back where I grew up, it used to be a small farm town; the largest thing that they would do was every Halloween there would be haunted hayrides going on. The town center itself was about as small as a football field, lots of historic buildings.

Well, there used to be an abandoned railroad running just past the outside of the town - the tracks were tore up so that it could be a "biking" trail in a bid to increase awareness of the town. I hated it, because I loved that I could walk out there without hearing the screech of tires, and the endless "On Your Left" (No kidding, I heard your bike a mile away from me).

Well, they got the traffic they wanted - and because of it, my hometown isn't as safe as it used to be; I mean, you used to be able to leave your doors unlocked, and could go out for a midnight hike if you wanted. I would've voted to keep the town the same, but that's just me.


posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:59 AM
a reply to: GENERAL EYES

It doesn't matter where you live in the world, greedy self-absorbed money hungry individuals will always find a way to destroy it!

Saying that you'll find that some of the locals, in some form or another, are driving that greed.

Those that wish their township has little change are forced out. That's the way it works I'm afraid.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 05:39 AM
a reply to: fossilera

Wow! I could have typed that reply! You've echoed my thoughts on the matter completely. The exact same thing happened to my old town in Wisconsin.

I do like the bike trail though as it allows me to visit my sister between her place and my folks without having to deal with the traffic and get exercise to boot when I do go there. The Deer flies however can be horrendous at times.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 07:24 AM
a reply to: GENERAL EYES

Guten Morgen- I read "National Park" so even if it is the lowest on the rung, they will have shared in the publicity of the National Park System.

Re: The new jail. If it is going to be a CCA™ joint (privately run) watch the local rag and see how many folks start going to jail as opposed to be released on a citation w/a Promise To Appear. You might even read phrases like " Joe Blow 25, was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation. A K-9 was called to the scene and was alerted to the presence of a 'controlled substance'. When these folks are 'booked' then the #s at the end of the year make it look like a war-zone w/crime..

posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 02:41 AM
Thanks everyone for the kind words. I know "the show must go on" and progress is inevitable.

I really fell in love with this small town. First time in my life I've lived anywhere this long and I've grown to love the local color. Seeing some of the cities I used to live in in the past grow to outlandish proportions has made me a little nervous.

Everything with balance out eventually. Good people here and they aren't the type to be tricked into things just on a casual whim. I don't really participate in local politics because - face it - I'm still "new blood" and an outsider when it comes right down to it. I know the locals who have lived here for generations have a much better idea of what will and will not be allowed into the community.

I suppose it's probably just best to sit back and enjoy the ride.

posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 03:30 AM
This is a local shop for local people You don't belong here.

Leugue of gentleman quote lol.

posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 11:48 AM
a reply to: boymonkey74

LOL. Yessir. Stumbled across of few of those over the years!

posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 04:34 PM
Americans are doing natural tourism extremely wrong. Their following the failed European way. They need to stop building so many buildings, its called tourism for a reason, so people can move along to see landscape and wildlife while at it. Not stay at one place for long periods of time. Those are for cities usually.

The only places they should be building buildings for tourism is to expect where the tourist would stop for 1-2 days. Orlando/Disney land theme park got it totally right by having hotels because it has multiple theme park in the same area and expected to stay for certain days due to having multiple attractions. All around 1 for each day in the same exact area.

If your national park is going to be for 1 day, build stops for the another area where people are expected to stay for the night or moving on to the next tourist attraction area.

Your so called small town looks like it is going to follow Los Vegas route for Tourist Attraction. You said they got a big national park. They should use the National Park as the tourist attraction instead of having so many stupid casinos and buildings because there is already a place for that, Los Angeles and Los Vegas.
edit on 13-2-2015 by makemap because: (no reason given)

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