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Spearheading Growth in Outdoor Recreation
GHDP believes the Jefferson County area is and should be viewed as the outdoor recreation epicenter of the Midwest – the premiere tourist destination and economic hub for outdoor recreation in the greater region. For to Chicago, Rockford, Janesville/Beloit, Madison, and Milwaukee the Glacial Heritage Area is the closest rural outdoor recreation hub that has a collection of charming smaller communities to explore. The Rock River, a nationally-designated water trail, snakes through the entire region and is a focal point for outdoor activity and to the small towns in the area. Jefferson County is also home to the international headquarters of Trek Bicycle.
Accordingly, GHDP has included in the Initiative a variety of strategies and tactics designed to strengthen the area’s outdoor recreation offerings, capitalize on these by attracting and retaining talent predisposed to locate near such opportunities, and nurture the area’s tourism and outdoor recreation manufacturing economic sectors. GHDP believes that our strategic economic location plus the high quality of life that comes with outdoor recreation opportunities can and will add up to a niche economic and tourism brand that will resonate regionally and nationally to strong economic effect and an improved quality of life for all businesses and residents alike.
Under the auspices of a State of Wisconsin JEM Grant, over the last several years several key partners (including U-W Extension Services, the County Parks Department, the Glacial Heritage Area, Jefferson County Tourism Council - among others) worked with the JCEDC and consultants to develop a area-wide tourism brand and strategic implementation plan. Deliverables of this project include 1) a detailed report and overview about the core brand best situated for the County to highlight and 2) a strategic implementation plan taking the brand concept from idea into practice. As mentioned above, the recommended brand centers on the core idea of “outdoor recreation meets small town living”. This brand has yet to be finalized through a positioning statement, logo, taglines, and imagery. Once this occurs the new brand can then be released in a coordinated launch effort among key local partners.