Presentation on theme: "Building partnerships is central to my management philosophy. DNR has a vested interest in working with Georgia s leaders to conserve the state s natural,"— Presentation transcript:
Building partnerships is central to my management philosophy. DNR has a vested interest in working with Georgia s leaders to conserve the state s natural, historic and cultural resources in order to provide the quality of life that our residents and visitors have come to expect. I hope the state s leadership will look to the department as an ally in protecting the environment while promoting economic development, and will use our agency as a resource in developing and promoting tourism destinations. - DNR Commissioner Noel Holcomb
DNR plays a vital role in our state s tourism industry. DNR creates partnerships with local communities near our natural, cultural and recreational resources to benefit the state as a whole. Especially includes members of the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.
Georgia is fortunate to have such a large and diverse system of state parks and historic sites. 63 parks and historic sites across the state contribute to our quality of life by providing places for recreation, interpreting our history and conserving beautiful natural areas. State parks, historic sites, golf courses and lodge and meeting facilities represent some of the most popular tourism attractions and accommodations in the state. With annual visitation as high as 15 million, our system could be regarded as the top tourism attraction in the state. Numerous parks and historic sites are among the primary attractions in their destination areas, especially in many of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties.
DNR has over a million acres in wildlife management areas and public fishing areas that offer opportunities for hunting, fishing and other outdoor-related recreation such as hiking and wildlife and bird watching. Georgia has nine Corps of Engineers lakes that are well known for their diversity of fishing and water recreation opportunities, including two of the busiest Corps lakes in the nation (Lanier and Hartwell). DNR s Wildlife Resources Division patrols the lakes to enforce boating safety and fishing regulations and the state parks division operates ten parks on the lakes. Hunting and fishing, or consumptive uses of our wildlife resources, represent an impressive recreational opportunity, since they generate close to $2 billion in economic impact annually for our state, including bringing in hunters and anglers from outside the state.
DNR is capitalizing on the fact that wildlife and bird watching are two of the most popular activities in the United States. Encourage those activities on DNR properties all across the state of Georgia. DNRs Wildlife Resources, Coastal Resources and State Parks divisions have worked closely with local partners to help create two outstanding birding trails (the Colonial Coast Birding Trail along I-95 and the Southern Rivers Trail along the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers). When you add up all of these facilities and activities, you begin to realize just how involved DNR is with our states tourism industry and its local destination marketing organizations.
Even when people are experiencing hard times, DNR properties have remained an attractive destination for many people. Since 9/11, with the economic downturns and airline industry setbacks, Georgia residents have been driving more and staying closer to home for getaways with family and friends. Our state parks have served their needs well in that regard, with a state park within an hour s drive of everyone in Georgia. The same could be said for our hospitality during and after the hurricanes that hit our neighboring states the last two years. Thousands of Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana residents escaped the brunt of these natural disasters by evacuating into Georgia to camp at our state parks, where we made special accommodations to handle the overflow.
Our division has created a strategic plan that has identified tourism and its effect on our state s economic well-being as a front and center component of our mission. Through this planning process, we have committed to work with internal and external partners to: Aggressively market our state s natural, cultural and recreational resources to gain public participation and support Increase volunteerism, tourism and economic development opportunities Generate the greatest possible revenue return for our agency and its partners
It is our goal to advertise and promote Georgia s state parks, lodges, golf courses, and historic sites to Georgia residents and potential visitors in the southeastern U.S. We will also promote picnicking, golfing, camping, fishing, boating, hunting, hiking, wildlife watching, bird watching and interpretive programs as wholesome, family-oriented outdoor opportunities. Will bring visitors to our state and encourage our local residents to take advantages of the wondrous natural, cultural and recreational resources right in their own backyard.
Besides offering our visitors recreational and cultural activities, our sites play an important role in the local economy. DNR resources and programs make communities more attractive to not only residents and tourists, but also to businesses that benefit from them. As new state parks or historic sites are considered or existing facilities are expanded or renovated, their impact on the local and state economy becomes an important consideration.
Unicoi State Park is a major attraction in Helen, hosting more than 900,000 visitors annually. Many of these guests shop in town, dine at restaurants, purchase gas, visit other attractions in northeast Georgia, and stay in privately owned hotels and inns. Georgia Veterans State Park and Golf Course, with the Lake Blackshear Resort, draws more than a million visitors annually, many of them getting off I-75 to drive through and spend money in Cordele and the surrounding Presidential Pathways travel region. Fort King George is a major attraction on Georgia s Colonial Coast, in addition to seven other state parks and historic sites along I-95.
GDEcD estimates that a day-use visitor to a state park spends $47 per day and an overnight visitor spends $59 per day. Day-use visitors represent 75% of a state park s visitation, with overnight use representing the remaining 25% (historic sites are 50/50). By using attendance and operating expenses, we can estimate economic impact. For example, General Coffee State Park in Coffee County has a total annual economic impact of over $7 million, including park expenditures and payrolls. Overnight Visitors.25 x 136,088 x $59 = $2,007,298 Day Visitors.75 x 136,088 x $47 = $4,797,102 Total Visitor Impact $6,804,400 Total Park Expenditures $ 347,025 Total Economic Impact $7,151,425
In many areas of the state, a state park or historic site may be the primary tourism attraction drawing visitors from around or outside the state, ultimately benefiting all the local businesses that cater to these visitors. Our site managers and headquarters staff work closely with local destination marketing organizations such as CVBs, as well as with the local and state welcome centers and the regional tourism associations which help market the whole area.
State parks and communities benefit each other when they collaborate to attract visitors. State park maps, which are distributed to most guests, feature advertisements from surrounding restaurants, stores and attractions. Local outfitters can enter into concession agreements to use park facilities to take customers hiking or boating. Opportunities for these types of partnerships are unlimited as our site managers look forward to developing them to benefit the park and its host community and businesses.
Statewide leadership for integrating the promotion of Georgia s many attractions comes from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). DNR partners with GDEcD on many projects that impact the overall promotion of the state and specific attractions and destinations, including the new Georgia Tourism Foundation. One great example is GDcED s Adventure micro-site where parks, hiking, boating and other outdoor activities are being collectively marketed. Another collaboration that we ve been working on is a statewide fishing trail and mega-ramp program to target the ever-growing sports anglers niche.
We re also very proud of the new partnership we have with the Department of Transportation. Through DOT s wetlands mitigation program, we have already been able to secure vital lands to expand our parks, wildlife management areas and natural areas. This a great win-win-win situation for DOT, DNR and our environment!
Educational systems and home schoolers also benefit from state parks and historic sites. What better place than Kolomoki Indian Mounds or Fort McAllister for history to come alive? We host thousands of school groups, showcasing not only Georgia history, but also geography and ecology. We are an educational resource that is unusually affordable, with admission fees usually less than $2 per child.
DNR has been challenged by serious budget cuts during the past few years. As a result, we have relied more on innovative partnerships. Hike Inn at Amicalola Falls State Park – truly unique facility operated by a non-profit trail association. Tallulah Gorge State Park – state s only public-private park, with the DNR overseeing the visitor center and day-use facilities, and Georgia Power operating the campground. Smithgall Woods Conservation Area near Helen – acquired as a gift-purchase from a private landowner. Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club – operated under a management agreement by Coral Hospitality at Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park near Cordele.
In 1931, Indian Springs State Park and Vogel State Park were created to begin Georgia s state parks system, one of the oldest park systems in the nation. During 2006, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will celebrate 75 years of protecting natural, cultural and recreational resources for generations to come. Enjoy this celebration as we take a trip down memory lane. While everything else changes, Georgia s State Parks remain true to nature.
2006 Anniversary Guide to Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Thank you to 32 sponsors, including 18 CVBs or chambers of commerce Ads in brochure, in many cases linked to the local park or historic site Advertiser Index with websites Links to destination websites on park detail pages on DNR s website Brochure order form included in bags distributed
75 th Programming & Histories Each park, historic site & golf course will have a 75 th themed special program or event during 2006 and will have a short history of their site posted on our website during the anniversary celebration. Visit GeorgiaStateParks.org/75 th for a complete listing.
75 th Launch Events Special events are being planned at parks & historic sites for early 2006 to create statewide awareness of the 75 th anniversary celebration in 10 major media markets: Albany – Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park Athens – Fort Yargo State Park Atlanta – Red Top Mountain State Park & Lodge Augusta – Elijah Clark State Park Brunswick – Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site Rome – Cloudland Canyon State Park Columbus – Little White House Historic Site Macon – Indian Springs State Park Savannah – Skidaway Island State Park Valdosta – Reed Bingham State Park
75 th Sponsors & Partners Sponsors and partners are being sought to help support the 75 th anniversary celebration. Participants already committed include: The Georgia Power Company The Coca-Cola Company Friends of Georgia State Parks Georgia Public Broadcasting
GeorgiaStateParks.org/75 th Visit our 75 th website to join the anniversary celebration and keep up-to-date with the latest news as content is added during the year. Browse vintage photographs, share memories, shop for commemorative merchandise, learn how state parks got their beginning, learn about things to do and more (see links below). Intro Histories Events & Exhibits TV Documentary Vintage Photo Gallery Camp Recipes 75 Things to Do Trading Post
DNR site managers and headquarters staff are excited about working with destination marketing organizations such as Georgia s convention and visitors bureaus to host Georgia residents and visitors from out-of-state. We are committed to continuing this partnership while at the same time ensuring that our natural, cultural and recreational resources are conserved so that future generations may also come to know and love them.