Print Page   |   Sign In
News & Press: Member News

GROW-EDC to Launch Rural Tourism Studio Program

Monday, February 1, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Elizabeth Peters
Share |

GROW-EDC was recently awarded the opportunity to pilot a condensed version of Travel Oregon’s Rural Tourism Studio in the North Santiam River region. The Studio, starting in March, is a progressive project that would include community trainings to ultimately build a cohesive outdoor recreation product and brand for the region.

This Studio is a training program designed to assist rural communities in sustainable tourism development. Travel Oregon hopes the program will increase high-value, authentic experiences for travelers, thereby strengthening Oregon’s position as a premiere North American tourism destination. The North Santiam River region will be exploring tourism as an economic driver for the area.

“We want to be known as an important outdoor recreation destination in our own right, not somewhere you drive through to get to somewhere else,” said GROW-EDC Executive Director Allison McKenzie.

“We applied and ended up agreeing to be the pilot project for this ‘lighter’ version of their Rural Tourism Studio, which has traditionally been a longer program,” said McKenzie. “While it’s a win for both Travel Oregon and GROW, it’s really a win for the local communities. By linking outdoor recreation assets through the region and working together to promote tourism, visitors can come and enjoy what is special and unique about each of these individual communities.”

McKenzie explained that this is something GROW has wanted to do for awhile and it was made a priority based on feedback from the North Santiam Economic Vitality Summit held eight months ago. She says, “This is the right time to move forward with a project of this magnitude given the enthusiasm for tourism that is mounting in our area.”

The Community Tourism workshops, spearheaded by GROW, will be held on Tuesday, March 29 and Tuesday, April 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at locations to be determined. In addition, there will be four online training webinars between the first and second workshops to be completed individually, or through a facilitated group discussion.

“This is a progressive training program, so ideally people would attend both the in-person workshops and online trainings, but of course people are welcome to participate in any part that works for them,” McKenzie says. “The choice of Tuesday scheduling is intended to make it easier for those connected to the tourism industry to be able to participate, as those days tend to be the best for them to participate in trainings like this.”

The program is open to anybody who has a business connected to tourism and any community member or city official interested in tourism from the communities of Aumsville, Scio, and all of the towns in the North Santiam River corridor up to Marion Forks.

Supporters of the project include the following: Rural Development Initiatives; the incorporated cities from Aumsville to Idanha; Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments; Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce; North Santiam Chamber of Commerce; Detroit Lake Recreation Area Business Association; Travel Salem; Marion and Linn County Commissioners; North Santiam Young Professionals; Representative Sherrie Sprenger and the U.S. Forest Service/Detroit Ranger District.

For more information on the studio or to register, e-mail McKenzie at





  • Community Tourism Workshop Part 1: Tuesday, March 29, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., location TBD
  • Online Training (series of 4, 20 min. each): March 30 – April 11 (to be completed on own by participants)
  • Community Tourism Workshop Part 2: Tuesday, April 12, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., location TBD





GROW EDC is a local non-profit organization committed to leveraging grassroots resources and helping businesses grow in the string of small towns east of Salem, from Aumsville to Idanha. Formerly known as the North Santiam Canyon Economic Development Corporation, GROW offers free, confidential, one-on-one business coaching to any entrepreneur in the area who wants to open, expand or improve a business. Based on an organic, bottom-up, client-driven economic development concept, GROW helps entrepreneurs set up or retool the management of their business in a way that increases their likelihood of success. For more information, contact Allison McKenzie at 503.871.5188 or visit  


Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal