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Western Skies returns to the KRCC airwaves as a new one-hour monthly program that focuses on one specific topic. This month, we’re looking at the issue of tourism. We have a round-table that discusses the past, present, and future of tourism in the Pikes Peak region. We also revisit rafting issues that cropped up in the statehouse, take a peek into one town off the beaten path where residents are hoping to grow an agritourism industry, and explore the one delicacy only available at 14,000 feet. These are only a few of the stories contained within Western Skies.
You can listen to the complete episode here: (right-click/option-click on the link to download or click the play button to stream)
Download: Western Skies 6.6.2010
If you want to listen to individual segments, you can stream or download them below:
-Producer Noel Black hosts a round table discussion about the past, present and future of this vital industry with Terry Sullivan, CEO and President of Experience Colorado Springs, Leah Davis Witherow, Archivist at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, and Susan Wolbrueck, Board President of the Manitou Springs Business Improvement District.
Download: Tourism Roundtable
Complete Interview:Western Skies 6.6.2010 Roundtable
-New York has the Coney Island Dog. Chicago has deep dish Pizza, and San Francisco has Sour Dough Bread. But what about the Pikes Peak Region? As Noel Black reports, the answer may lie at the top of America’s Mountain itself.
Download: Pikes Peak’s World Famous Donuts
-Drivers on Colorado Avenue heading into Manitou Springs are greeted by a gaggle of wooden bears just after the street becomes Manitou Avenue. The bears are the product of chainsaw carver Bill Fee and his associates. We wanted to find out what it takes to be a chainsaw artist, where making a living often means putting on a show, dusting off the dust, and lots and lots of bears.
Download: Chainsaw Sculpture in Manitou
-Colorado lawmakers debated a few tourism related issues during the latest session at the statehouse. News Director Andrea Chalfin spoke with capitol reporter Bente Birkeland about those issues and began by asking her to talk about the proposed rafting bill that caused some heated debate.
Andrea also checked in with Dan Klinglesmith, Interim Director of the CO Tourism Office. He says the current budget for the Tourism Office this current fiscal year is about 15 million dollars, which is about a 25% cut from the previous year’s budget. For the next fiscal year, Klinglesmith expects again, about a budget of $15 million. Even with the economic recession, Klinglesmith says he’s cautiously optimistic about tourism in the state this year.
“We’re moving to the summer season, which is one of the biggest travel times for Colorado and looking forward to the fall and winter seasons which are also important, and I feel that if the economy and consumer confidence continue to rebound, that we’re going to see an uptick in the number of visitors and also their spending.”
Klinglesmith says tourism supports more that 144,000 jobs, and brings in about $760 million in state and local taxes.
Download: Rafting Bill Conversation with Bente Birkeland
-Agritourism is a growing area of tourism in Colorado, and according to a 2007 study from Colorado State University, with the exception of a few local Colorado enthusiasts, agricultural stops are often unplanned. Much of Colorado’s agritourism comes from impulse side trips on the way to camping in places like Estes Park. But as KRCC’s Michelle Mercer reports, there’s one town on the eastern plains trying to buck that trend.
Michelle also reports that 80 Colorado Springs third and fourth grade students were one of several groups who’ve traveled to the eastern plains as part of the RAW program in the past two years.
-Local arts maven Kathleen Collins reads excerpts from Grace Greenwood’s 1873 New York Times Column, “A Story of Pikes Peak”.
Download: Grace Greenwood’s “A Pikes Peak Story” read by Kathleen Collins
Western Skies will air on the first Sundays of each month at 11 a.m. on KRCC. Next month’s episode will focus on budget issues facing the Pikes Peak region.
If you have questions or comments, please call us and leave a message at (719) 434-3657 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Western Skies is a collaboration between KRCC News and The Big Something.)