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Reader: Where we come from, branding is for cows

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The new North Cheyenne Cañon Park master plan now under consideration by the Parks Board doesn't acknowledge the fact that this legacy park belongs to us — the citizens of Colorado Springs. On the second page of the NCCP master plan, several recommendations from the 2014 Park System master plan on "The Role of City Parks in Tourism" are quoted as follows:

"Include City parks, recreation and cultural features in a marketing program with the goal of branding Colorado Springs where community members are 'Champions of the Outdoors.' Colorado Springs should be known as the City for ... recreation tourism. Promote the flora, fauna, geology and cultural heritage of Colorado Springs as primary attractions for Eco-tourists. ... build on the destination hiking and mountain biking trails system which can be marketed as a way to attract additional tourism to the area..." In the 2018 NCCP master plan it seems that citizens' interests have taken second place to the overriding concern for marketing to tourists.

It's not the job of City Parks to market one of our most historic and beloved public parks or to increase visitors beyond the park's limited carrying capacity — already strained. Maintain it well for residents and the tourists will come (and we will welcome them).

I'm a fourth-generation Western American. Where I come from, "branding" is for cattle, not for a park that is so unique, beautiful, naturally wild and historic that it is listed on the National Register of Historic places. Yet on page 88 of the NCCP master plan, it suggests the need to "Build the North Cheyenne Cañon Park brand." Come on, Guys!

— Ruth Obee, Colorado Springs

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