Destination Stewardship Series: February-March, 2023

Feb. 22: Destination Stewardship: Reimagine the Purpose of Tourism Through Community Planning (recording)

The tourism industry in resort, rural, recreation, and gateway communities is driven by outdoor recreation activities on public lands. Public lands provide refuge for endangered species, protect water quality, act as carbon sinks, and are increasingly popular with new and established outdoor recreation users. And this popularity is creating big city challenges in the small communities that surround these public lands. This includes: affordable housing and short-term rental dynamics; infrastructure, traffic and congestion; strained public and environmental resources; and under-funded land managers having to tackle overuse impacts and climate change realities. Now, more than ever, our community stakeholders need to reimage the purpose of tourism. Tourism can no longer be solely an economic goal; it needs to become a purposeful tool.

In destinations around the world, tourism stakeholders are convening with municipality managers, land managers, civic groups, and local residents to address issues around common pool resources (e.g. public lands, climate, water, affordable housing, equitable access) which impact the entire community. This is known as destination stewardship and has been successful as a transformative model to improve quality of life attributes, enhance visitor experience, and safeguard a sense of place.  It requires community-wide collaboration and participatory planning to identify a shared vision and common goals. 
Learning Objectives
  • Give examples of challenges in outdoor recreation communities
  • Explain why sustainability in tourism and outdoor recreation are important concepts
  • Recognize the critical intersections of sustainable tourism, responsible travel, outdoor recreation, and destination stewardship
  • Describe how destination stewardship planning can leverage community connections to reimagine the purpose of tourism
  • Outline Mountain IDEAL’s program toolkit for communities to steward, sustain, transform, and regenerate their common pool resources


  • Bobby Chappell, Tourism Impact Services 
  • Hilary Lewkowitz, Colorado Tourism Office


March 1: Creating economic and environmental opportunities in rural American by allowing camping on private land - a conversation with Hipcamp and Chaffee County, Colorado's Board of Commissioners (Recording)

Since 2020 demand for camping and RV parking has skyrocketed across the U.S. Learn about Chaffee County, Colorado's landmark legislation that creates new opportunities for private landowners to host low-impact camping on their properties. This burgeoning land use presents incredible opportunities for rural communities to leverage a new form of outdoor recreation for rural economic development.

Learning Objectives:
  • What is private-land camping?
  • What are some considerations local governments should make about how to safely regulate this new land use?
  • How does private-land camping create opportunities for rural landowners, farmers and ranchers, and communities at large?


  • Keith Baker, Chaffee County (CO) Commissioner
  • Michal Rosenoer, Hipcamp


March 8: Thinking Strategically about Tourism in U.S. National Parks (Recording)

While travel volume in the United States is nearing pre-pandemic levels and likely to exceed them this year, one thing is certain: travel patterns and preferences have shifted, and tourism planning must look forward to a new landscape of challenges and opportunities. Strategic tourism management isn't only for DMOs but can be a beneficial investment of time and energy for many travel and experience providers, including outdoor recreation operators and public lands and waters agencies. Across the national park system, tourism planning and partnerships with local tourism networks vary widely in scope and scale. In this session, we discuss an innovative National Park Service initiative to think more strategically about tourism and a new Tourism Toolkit being piloted in the Intermountain Region..

Learning Objectives:

  • What it means to have a tourism mindset in a post-COVID environment
  • How a tourism strategy can help increase awareness for an outdoor recreation operation
  • How developing a tourism mindset can help manage or even improve the visitor experience
  • How NPS is thinking strategically about tourism to improve visitation and the visitor experience


  • Joe Namaan, Twenty31 Consulting
  • Donald Ledbetter, National Park Service
  • Alexandra "Alex” Hernandez, National Park Service
  • Stuart West, National Park Service