Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sustainable Tourism in Tennessee

Today I am working my way through some research on tourism in Appalachia. In between that reading I am finishing up some projects that I'm doing on behalf of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Where the two organizations are overlapping and offering support to one another is through the Tennessee Sustainable Tourism initiative, specifically through the Civil War Trails program and planning for the upcoming Civil War Sesquicentennial.

A great example of a project that we worked on here at the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU/the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area was out at the Niota Depot. While I did not work on the project, I heard a great deal about it from my colleagues (I think that I was working on a historic structures report (HSR) for the Longstreet Billet in Russellville, TN, while they were working on Niota). I believe that they did something like and HSR along with recommendations for how to do a successful adaptive reuse of the depot. The folks in Niota then did major work on restoring the building and making it a vibrant part of the community (serving both the local community and serving as a heritage tourism asset).

Niota Depot

The most recent development with the depot is that it was just featured in the monthly newsletter update from Tourism (Tennessee E-News) because Niota just had a Civil War Trails marker installed at the depot.

But all of that is background info! What I am doing today is finishing up digitizing some of the Civil War driving tours that the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area has sponsored over the years. The idea is to make the tours as accessbile as possible, hence making them available online in addition to them being in paper form at various locations (the Tennessee Welcome Centers tend to be well stocked with driving tours that we have funded with various community partners across the state). When we launch our new website (just any day now) those walking tours will be available there, but Tourism will also have copies (I am burning the CD to send to them right now) and will have them on their website. I am biased, but I am particularly proud of the Paris-Henry County Civil War driving tour...because I was the director of the Paris-Henry County Heritage Center when that project started. I applied to the heritage area for a grant to do the brochure as an effort on the part of the museum to get people engaged with the historic resources in our county. So, I've managed to work with the heritage area from both sides of the equation.

And while I'm talking about heritage tourism, I signed up to do reviews of heritage travel through a new program launched by the National Trust for Historic Preservation called...Heritage Travel (go figure). I'm trying to keep with writing about what I'm doing in an effort to keep the writing wheels turning as I work on my dissertation.

No comments:

Post a Comment