Company hopes to bring small towns closer

Latah County Historical Society will publish a new visitors guide to help encourage tourism



Dulce L. Kersting-Lark, executive director of the Latah County Historical Society, speaks at a presentation on local artisans and businesses on Monday night at Colter’s Creek.

BECKY REICHEL, Evergreen reporter

Residents gathered Monday to learn about regional marketing, the artisan trail guide and how to help support local artists at the History Happy Hour hosted by Colter’s Creek Winery in Moscow and the Latah County Historical Society.

The 2DNW Artisan Trail guide seeks to make connections between small-town culture, bike trails and scenic byways. The guide is coming out with an updated version, including a print copy, in spring 2020.

Denise Thomson, board member of the Latah County Historical Society, said she thought the plan to update the guide would be an intriguing intersection and topic after seeing the Smithsonian exhibit.

Lorie Higgins, professor of rural sociology at the University of Idaho, presented “Art, Food & Heritage: Marketing Small town Charm for Big Economic Impact.” The event capped off the last of a three-part series to compliment the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit, Crossroads: Change in Rural America.

The Artisan Trail guide spans the area between the 45 and 47-degree latitude in two states and 11 counties in Southeast Washington and Northcentral Idaho, Higgins said. The name 2DNW came from the difference in latitude.

Small towns have an issue with drawing in new tourists because they often only have one to three attractions for visitors to enjoy. By using a regional approach to marketing, people will visit other small towns to do a combination of local activities.

Higgins said there could be full weekends of lodging, food and activities combined bike trails with bike groups and rental agencies.

“This rural crossroads makes a lot of sense to me to work on the things that can perhaps increase or accentuate a smaller town,” said attendee Linda DeWitt.

The funding is coming from the University of Idaho Extension, USDA Rural Development, Washington State University Extension, Idaho Commission on the Arts, Clearwater Resource Conservation and Development Council, Clearwater County Economic Development, Robin Ohlgren Consulting, and Port of Columbia.

The Smithsonian exhibit is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Moscow Chamber of Commerce, 411 S. Main St in Moscow.