Here we will post testimonials showing the results of efforts made to promote byways.
ILLINOIS RIVER ROAD NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAY Testimonials
"For years dozens of parks, wildlife management areas, preserves, refuges, and nature centers along the Illinois River have attempted to promote themselves independently with varied success. The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway has finally provided the only mechanism to unite us and all we have to offer for the visiting public. The Byway serves to educate our potential visitors and promote the habitats, values, and recreational activities available along the Illinois River watershed. There is no other entity available to serve this purpose. The funding required to continue the Program will directly return significant economic benefits to all the communities along and near the Byway."
Supervisory Wildlife Refuge Manager
Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges
"We know it has increased drive in traffic. When we ask people how they found us, the most common replies are internet, friend referral, seen the signs along the highway (which the byway has increased traffic). Since many people are not familiar with the byway, it is a very valuable tool to get return guests. We get out the byway information and show them at breakfast and most are very surprised at much there is to do and see. The retail stores in Lacon and Henry get many customers that are a direct result of the byway and can then lead them to us. If we ask them how they found us they would probably say they picked up a brochure. Our business has been increasing about 15% to 20% each year, including this year, even in this economy, and we are confident the Byway is a big part our success."
Denny & Jan Reed
Mission Oak Inn
"Going out on a great fall day and hitting the Scenic Byway combines the opportunity to shop, drive, eat, walk, relax, visit and enjoy nature all for very little cost. Come to think of it, where else can you drive economic development, dining out, exercise, friendship or family time, tourism and the environment all at the same time? What are you waiting for?"
Heartland Water Resources Council
"The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway runs through The Nature Conservancy's 6700-acre
Emiquon Preserve, which is being restored to a floodplain wetland that attracts tourists, fishers, hunters, and birders from across the state and beyond. The Illinois River Road and the National Scenic Byway Program play important roles, attracting visitors to Emiquon and elevating it as a significant conservation and wetland restoration site. The Byway's efforts to draw people to experience the Emiquon Preserve not only benefit the visitors, but our local economy too."
Illinois River Project Director
The Nature Conservancy
"Visitors to Spring Lake Nature Park come from all over the United States and many foreign countries. When asked how they found Spring Lake, they often say they consulted promotional materials and maps produced and distributed by the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway. Without this tourism support, Spring Lake Nature Park would be missed by these people interested in Illinois' natural parks."
Spring Lake Nature Park - Streator
"As a volunteer with Spring Lake Nature Park located in Streator, Illinois, we volunteers do our best to get the word out in regards to all that our park has to offer. In addition to our own website and maps and pamphlets which we distribute around the area, we are often told by out of the area visitors that they found information and the location of our park park through the National Scenic Byway Program.
By browsing the website online, they were led to various links and maps in the Illinois Valley area. One of the links addressed Spring Lake Nature Park. From there the visitor viewed maps and the link to our website. It also gave them the GPS location to the park making it very easy to find us. There is little doubt of the important role the National Scenic Byway and the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway Programs play in promoting tourism and thus boosting the economy in the Illinois Valley area. Thank you, to everyone that is responsible for maintaining these programs!"
Spring Lake Nature Park - Streator
We believe that being part of the National Scenic Byway Program has been a benefit for the Village of DePue since it has attracted visitors to our community to view beautiful Lake DePue and the wildlife (Eagles, Pelicans, Blue Heron, etc.) that frequent our lake. We are in the middle of a fight to save this large natural resource from being left as contaminated wetlands. The public awareness and support of this clean-up, in part, is because of the connection to the Illinois River Road National Scenic Highway. We appreciate everything these fine organizations have done for us.
Eric C. Bryant
Village of DePue
"The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway program has been a great addition to promoting tourism in Chillicothe and the surrounding area. A number of businesses and local attractions have benefited greatly from the marketing efforts of the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway Program."
Economic Development Director
City of Chillicothe
"As a tourism director in a small community just outside the Chicago west suburbs, I wanted to share our experience regarding the National Scenic Byway Program. The current economic climate has had a dramatic effect on how people travel and resulted in an increase of 'stay-cationers' who opt for multiple, short range trips and even day visits. It is within this new demographic that the off-the-beaten-path experience emerges as a key component for the traveler, of which the Byway Program so successfully fulfills. The synergy created in the cohesive campaign, the components that the Byway promotes coupled with the premium visitor handouts fills this need so specifically. Thinking that this may be left up to individual communities leaves one to wonder how we would begin to fill that void and how brand recognition would suffer in a very short period of time.
We are proud to be a sustaining member of the Illinois River Road and one of the largest distributors of the program pieces. With over 7,900 visitors coming through our center in 2010 (and anticipating a 20% increase for 2011), the Byway pieces have become an integral part of our traveler assistance packages. Nothing else in our racks compare to the content and quality of the Byway brochures."
Ottawa Visitors Center
"Through the Byway's promotional efforts, more people are learning the (the City of) Ottawa every day. The Byway's outstanding website, the distribution of high quality promotional literature, a beautiful new audio/visual tour, comprehensive highway signage, targeted advertising, an impressive kiosk in Ottawa and more have all helped build the awareness of potential visitors about the joys of visiting Ottawa.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of these promotional efforts on the part of the Byway as tourism plays an increasingly important role in maintaining the economic stability of our community."
City of Ottawa
"One of the single best things that any destination can do to increase the number of visitors is to stand out in the minds of those potential guests by leveraging our unique assets. The Peoria area is extremely fortunate to have the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway as one of our very prominent and unique destinations. The IRRNSB combines the experience of exploring the distinctive fabric of our region accompanied by the authentic feel of Central Illinois. As the destination marketing organization for Central Illinois the Peoria Area Convention & Visitors Bureau considers the IRRNSB a precious treasure for our many visitors."
PEORIA AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
From a Durango Herald article published 9/11/11 about the estimated 20,000 people who attend the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally over Labor Day weekend.
"Jeff Murray, general manager of Durango Harley-Davidson, credits the incredible rides in the area as the main attraction for the motorcyclists The Million Dollar Highway and the San Juan Skyway are on the "bucket list" for riders because of the incredible views, bounty of turns and great stops along the route.
The motorcycle rally provides significant tourism revenue just after the summer season is winding down and before we get an influx of visitors coming for the fall colors."
Former Director of the Durango Tourism Office
"The Scenic Byway grants have allowed the Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway to develop a real presence with the traveling public through the construction of our interpretive kiosks."
"The Florence Information Center is a definite asset to the city of Florence. We are able to give visitors and residents some history of the area and also an area to post coming events. The construction was a cooperative effort between the Gold Belt Tour Byways program, Florence Merchants, Florence and Eastern Fremont County Rotary Club, Florence Chamber of Commerce, Florence High School Welding Class, and the City of Florence. However, without the grant money from The Gold Belt Tour Byway, the center would have never been constructed."
"The community of Victor benefits greatly from the Gold Belt Byway through shared marketing, grant support and visibility of the byway on a national basis as well as through its regional approach to providing the traveler with a unique and cohesive chance to experience 1890's mining and ranching history.
Victor is a very small, rural, low-income community with few to no resources for marketing itself on a nationwide basis. The Gold Belt Byway runs through the middle of our town and with byway brochures, ads and website marketing, tourists who learn about the byway and travel on the byway also learn about and visit Victor.
The town has benefited in grants of over $180,000 for projects that would not have been possible without the support of the byway. These grants include the replacement of a roof on the local museum building; without that grant the museum would have fallen into disrepair and need to be closed. The byway has also written letters in support of grants for the saving the museum building (much stabilization and restoration of over $600,000) helped fund a brochure on our local historic trail system, and a local downtown walking tour project that helps tell the story of our 1899 buildings.
In addition, the town benefits from regional exposure through networking via the local byway board, which meets here annually and includes members who learn and help spread the word about Victor (and all byway communities).
We truly believe that a regional approach to promoting our mining district and small
community is the most efficient way to tell our story and those of the communities along the byway. We also believe that it is the best way to educate the traveler to this area, as a unified approach to travel information, historical context and attractions."
Victor Resident, Business Owner