The Corridor Management Plan is coming along nicely. From our community input meetings, reviewing city comprehensive plans, and discussions with officials in communities and counties along the Byway we certainly have an exhaustive amount of information and ideas to make a very detailed living document.
I have kept my nose to the grindstone for a while now and did come up for air last week when I took a few days off. The second day back, I attended the Travel Federation of Iowa’s Legislative Showcase at the State Fairgrounds. This was the first event I attended last year when I began as the coordinator of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway. I know SO much more about the Lincoln Highway and Byways in general than I did last year at this time. I was able to talk about the Lincoln Highway and the Iowa Byway program to the legislators as they passed by the Iowa Byways’ booth and encouraged them to continue their support of tourism.
This event is also a great way to network with chambers and attractions along the Byway. I chatted with Alan from the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad, Mark from Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Center, Taylor from the Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and many others. I also had a chance to talk with my fellow Byway coordinators about projects, successes, and challenges.
An upcoming event will be hosted by the Iowa Byways. The Heartland Byway Conference will be April 4th-6th in Council Bluffs and we are very excited to have attendees learn more about Western Iowa including the Loess Hills Scenic Byway, Western Skies Scenic Byway, and the Lincoln Highway Heritage Scenic Byway. These three Byways intersect and conjoin for a bit at the Harrison County Historical Village and Welcome Center in Missouri Valley, just north of Council Bluffs. One afternoon, we will take a tour of the Loess Hills and this will be one of the stops.
Key note speakers at the conference will be Michelle Matt, Chuck Offenburger, and the Path Less Peddled. Breakout sessions will include topics such as working with volunteers, GIS, interpretive plans, marketing, infrastructure, corridor management planning, team work, and creating an authentic experience. Anyone interested in Byways and tourism or involved with chambers, visitor bureaus, or serves on an advisory board or volunteers at an attraction is welcome to attend.
I am so excited to be a part of this event! Besides increasing my knowledge and networking with fellow professionals, there will be great food and that bus trip through the Loess Hills! I am looking forward to spending time on this side of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway and experience the Loess Hills, Hitchcock Nature Center, and the communities along the route. I am also excited to reconnect with the other Lincoln Highway Byway coordinators from Indiana, Ohio, and Nebraska. We met at the National Scenic Byway training last summer in Ohio and made plans to meet again in Council Bluffs!
If you want to attend, please register at www.brownpapertickets.com. The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 2202 River Road in Council Bluffs. I will tell you all about it in future posts. Be sure to check our Facebook page for photos!