Monday, February 29, 2016

North Carolina’s Earliest Post Progressives

Following the American Revolution and creation of a new system of government, North Carolina spent the first four or five decades of the 1800s under the control of regressives.

Before delving into the small but determined resistance to regressives during that period and what they would be able to eventually change, as well as a state icon they couldn’t in time, it may be helpful to explain what regressive means.

Philosophically, regressives differ from other conservatives because rather than just seeking to tap the brakes on what they see as unbridled progressivism, regressives actually seek to reverse progress.

Following the American Revolution, most were not among the third of North Carolinians still loyal to Great Britain or, of course, the 25% in bondage.

But regressives represented a faction that lobbied for a return to those pre-war values and ideals.

In the Tar Heel state, a slightly higher percentage were regressives than than those who were characterized as radicals or rioters because they wanted even more change.

Together, these two group narrowly outnumbered the remaining loyalists, most of whom would emigrate elsewhere.

Throughout the nation, as other states perpetuated the progressivism upon which America was founded, regressives in North Carolina during those early decades earned it a reputation as the “Rip Van Winkle” state.

As a result, land values plummeted as more than a third of North Carolinians moved away.

Between 1830 and 1840 alone, nearly half of the counties lost population according to a superbly documented book entitled, North Carolina Through Four Centuries.

The 1850 census revealed that 31% of all native North Carolinians still living in the United States resided in some other state.  Backwardness had driven away more than 400,000 Tar Heels, two-thirds of whom were white.

This was equivalent to half the state’s population in that census.

For the first half of the 1800s, the legislature was controlled by less than 10% of the population, including slave-holding planters living down east who were adamantly opposed to public education, roads, government in general and taxes.

Fast forward two hundred years.  Sound slightly familiar?

Between 2000 and 2010, half of North Carolina’s counties were again losing population with most relocating to the state’s more progressive cities.

Regressivism is as much a part of America as any other view, if not a bit ironic in a nation forged by progressives.  But it doesn’t take popularity for this view to seize control.

Because very few voters today are able to vote for the handful of legislators who are in control of setting legislative agendas in many states, including North Carolina, those decisions are also essentially controlled by about 10% of the electorate.

In part, it is an inherent flaw in representative democracy vs. more “popular” forms of democracy, but not perhaps, a view currently held by regressives who often seem to rationalize overriding the views of the majority of voters by insisting that the same would be done to them were they not in power.

Fueling this partisan view of “screw them before they screw you back,” is the fact that since 1998 “fewer than 10% of both state senate and state house seats have been competitive,” a factor driven by partisan gerrymandering of districts.

The thing to remember is that during much of that earlier period of regression following the Revolution, a handful of deeply concerned and resilient North Carolinians were persistently advocating progressive ideas, which following the Civil War, would put “the state on a totally new course.”

They were named Yancey, Caldwell, Fisher, Swain, Gaston, Morehead and Graham.

But their architect was Judge Archibald DeBow Murphey who was born in Red House, which is now called Semora, a crossroads just northwest of what is now Hyco Lake, a twin in Person County just west of Mayo Lake where we now split time with our home just south in Durham.

The area of Murphey’s origins is now a part of Caswell County, but when he was born it was a part of Orange County. 

Judge Murphey eventually practiced law down in Hillsborough a few miles west from what is now Durham and established a residence in Hawsfield (southwest of current-day Mebane.)

It was during this period that Murphey crafted his plan for North Carolina’s salvation including “establishment of a public education system, construction of canals and turnpike roads, as well as a general public welfare system,” and eventually railroads.

In fact, regardless of sympathies, North Carolinians weren’t paying much attention to succession leading up to the Civil War.

Instead they were focused on constitutional reform and a struggle over ad valorem taxes as a means for wealthy plantation owners to pay their fair share to fund Murphey’s vision.

Many of Durham’s founding generation were heavily influenced by Murphey’s strategic views including his close friends here, the Camerons.

They encouraged others in what would become Durham to push for statewide progress such as building railroads and a strong banking system.

Keep in mind by 1820, only 7% of Americans lived in cities and progressives such as Murphey saw a scalable role in development and progress for state government. 

There were only 61 settlements with more than 2,500 people in the whole country at the time and only five with more than 25,000 people so progressives such as Murphey were clearly farsighted.

But progressives at the time were not able to save the longleaf pine forests that provided North Carolinians their “tar heel” nickname as well as a species of our state tree.

In pre-settlement times, these savannah-like forests dominated a swath from northeast North Carolina in a strip that straddled the fall line between the Piedmont and Coastal Plain continuing in an arc down through the south all the way to Texas, 90 million acres in all.

These would have been the forests where my 8th great grandmother Mary Jane was born on Salmon Creek, more than three hundred years before I would uncover my North Carolina roots.

But from a time before North Carolina earned its “tar heel” nickname until the mid-1800s, these trees were used for naval stores or in other words tar, pitch, rosin and turpentine.

More than just shipping, it was the “wagon” industry that relied on grease produced from these distinct trees as well as uses for their wood by settlers, such as fencing.

Colonists would gird or strangle the trees to death while replacing the understory savannah grasses with corn and other crops as well as letting livestock such as hogs range wild.

Soon huge numbers of hogs, cattle, horses, mules, sheep and goats eventually trampled through these forests contributing to their demise while depleting the soil across much of North Carolina by 1900.

By 1920, the longleaf pine was virtually extinct. 

Gone were not only trees that take 100 to 150 years to reach full size (between 98 and 115 feet) and may live to be 500 years old, but gone too were seas of understory savannah grasses.

Environmental and science historians have placed nearly as much blame on these practices for the sediments that will muddy North Carolina’s streams, rivers and lakes for a thousand years, as they do on the farming practices used to raise cotton and tobacco.

Another factor is that we know now that our soils in the South are much more fragile than other parts of the country.

Fully two-thirds of the deforestation that has taken place across America over the last 400 years occurred during the sixty years between 1850 and 1910.

When a movement took hold to re-plant pine trees in North Carolina, short-leaf pines such as loblolly were used instead of longleaf pines because they grow faster, much closer together and don’t require ground fire to reproduce.

Since the 1960s when collectively pines were named North Carolina’s state tree, efforts have been underway to re-establish longleaf pines using prescribed fire along their base as well as protecting the tiny old growth stands that have been discovered.

But one thing is for sure, for now this means that North Carolina has a much different natural sense of place than it once had.

It is in the wake of this desecration that culminated in the early 1900s that another strategic wave of progressivism took hold in North Carolina, launching its mainstream status as a tourism destination.

More on that in the next post, including a fourth wave in the early 1970s that voters embedded in the constitution, something that legislators including regressives today choose to ignore.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Perspective About the Open Range

I’ve waited until the illegal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was behind us before responding to friends who have wondered what I thought about it because of my background.

I was born and spent my early years on ranchland that my great grandparents and grandparents had homesteaded as well as assembled, along the Henry’s Fork River in view of the Tetons.

But as the only son of an only son, I was also the end of 5 generations of Idaho ranchers in that line stretching back to the early 1860s when it was yet to emerge from what remained of Oregon Territory.

My dad and grandfather were true ranchers.  In rhetoric, they would have probably shared a few of the rational sentiments expressed during the occupation in Oregon.

But they would not have sympathized with the militants.

There have always been a few ranchers and “rancher-wanna-bees” in the West, who not only didn’t respect public property but didn’t respect any property that wasn’t their own, as illustrated by the way militants desecrated the property they occupied.

We often forget that the roots of private property have always been conditional.

My grandfather was famous even before I was of school age because he had fired a warning shot from a Winchester Model 1894 .32 WS Saddle-Ring Carbine that I still have hanging on my wall as an heirloom.

It was a Sunday morning and he had caught another rancher stealing water while others were in town attending Sunday School.  “Ne’er-do-wells, moochers and thieves” he would have called these recent militants.01624_s_aaeuyfyqe0025

He also had a respect for public lands and land managers that at least philosophically, had waned somewhat in my dad when he took over the ranch.

It probably didn’t help that in the early 1950s dad was once forced to admit to poaching a moose out of season, when his best friend, a rural mail carrier, had left his wallet behind.

Dad knew the two WWII were guilty but he had rationalized it by dismissing the importance of the regulations to sustainable wildlife and most of all he resented having to take the fall to preserve his friend’s federal government job.

But I remember dad suddenly slamming on the brakes to our Jeep one day as we crossed the Vernon Bridge on our way back from the courthouse in Saint Anthony and then sprinting down an embankment.

It was common to see my dad angry.  He was one of those people who seemed to express several different emotions that way, including fear, but I had never seen him about to come to blows until that day.

He had caught a neighboring rancher dumping trash in the river and came close to kicking this particular ne’er-do-well’s butt all the way up the embankment because of it.

But ironically, he would have probably complained if a government official had been doing the same thing he had done. 

To understand some of the controversy between ranchers and public lands’ managers, you have to understand a new breed of rancher that came along after 1936, four decades before termination of homesteading led to the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion.

But before I touch on what occured eight years ago, it may help to understand that up until the 1880s, even in states such as North Carolina where I’ve lived for nearly 40% of my life, laws about property were very different than they are today.

Up until that time, it was legal for other people to run their livestock on your land unless you fenced it in.  Everything was fair game unless it was fenced, pretty much the opposite of what it is today.

That began to change in North Carolina when in 1873 five counties, including one from which Durham, where I live, was carved eight years later, petitioned the General Assembly to pass legislation enabling local “no-fence” laws.

It was a movement that was not implemented statewide until 1958.

No-fence laws meant that instead of putting the onus on property owners to fence their land or be overrun by livestock, instead the owners of livestock were required to fence them in. 

But as this movement took hold in North Carolina, out West range wars were raging in states such as Wyoming.

Only instead of intimidating public land agencies, cattlemen bent on running their livestock anywhere they damn pleased were hiring gunmen back then to run off settlers, usually immigrants.

Just as Harney County, Oregon does, Idaho still has open range laws today which include areas west/northwest of our ranch that we occasionally used, including some forested summer range, where at age 6 I participated in my first roundup.

However, we kept areas fenced where we didn’t want other livestock to range including meadows and areas where we raised winter feed crops such as hay, oats and barley.

Pivot irrigation has meant that farmers have increasingly pushed into that area now and parts have been set aside as herd districts, which is a designation by counties set aside from open range.

But long before the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act provided for grazing rights on public lands, smart livestock growers, including sheepmen, were careful not to overgraze these area.

They leased state lands and set up an allotment/share system governed by a board of directors, similar to the way they handled water rights, that kept the range healthy by limiting the number of animals.

This allowed the rangeland recover, a form of stewardship that apparently these militant ranchers today don’t grasp or practice.

But like today, there were always some ranchers who weren’t smart in this way.

That’s why I have no sympathy for ranchers who overgraze public lands out West, let alone renege on fees for that privilege and then threaten bodily harm to folks just doing their jobs.

That goes, too, for those who do sympathize with that behavior.

You get a sense of this corrupted logic when you read reports where some of militants in Oregon were actually interviewed.

My earliest Idaho ancestors, dating back 155 years ago had an appreciation for public lands because, well, it was almost entirely publically owned back then.

They understood that their ability to thrive was due to policies that leveraged some of these lands so railroads were built and to provide for homesteading, water reclamation, wildlife management, timber products for shelter and fuel, as well as roads and schools, even electricity.

But between 1870 and 1900, the number of beef cattle in the 17 western states increased from 4.1 million to nearly 20 million while sheep increased from 5 million to more than 25 million, overtaxing very fragile rangeland.

The federal government did what they could to legislate some sort of control on public lands but little was done until the Great Depression resulting in the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act.

This established what were thought to be sustainable livestock numbers as well the number of ranchers permitted to graze on public lands, as well as the fees to be paid for that privilege, part of which went into range restoration.

But almost immediately, a few ranchers began to abuse the system by buying tiny amounts of land around a water source adjacent to public lands and then expecting the public to shoulder the burden of providing their rangeland while relentlessly bullying land managers to let them overgraze.

By the 1970s, when I was in college, public sentiment turned in favor of other legitimate but competing uses of public rangelands including recreation such as hunting and fishing and protection of wildlife habitat, endangered species and cultural assets, not to mention water quality.

Small towns near public lands today are much more likely to petition for a change to a higher status of public land designation than they are sympathetic to the agenda of militants such as those who took over the Oregon bird sanctuary recently.

In addition, economists have noted that rural communities adjacent to public lands are thriving economically far more than those that aren’t.

I also have no doubt that some regulations as well as regulators have grown too thick and cumbersome, ironically in an effort to stem the very behavior the militants exhibit.

Unfortunately, news coverage of this far more prevalent side of the story is meager let alone coverage of ranchers seeking reasonable solutions compared to the overly simplistic “hate government” narrative.

Like I’ve said before, my parents and ancestors were very conservative philosophically but they had no patience for ne’er-do-wells especially if veiled as armed militants.

They appreciated the role of the commons and were suspect of anyone with a sense of entitlement.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Five Generations Began with a Cub River Dugout

My earliest of five generations of Idaho roots trace to a temporary dugout my 2nd great grandparent Neeley carved into a hillside.

It was a little more than three miles up the Cub River from the fort at Franklin, where it flows down out of a canyon near where it is then joined by Maple Creek.

The headwaters of the Cub River are formed from a mountain spring now encompassed by the Cache National Forest.  But it is better known for willows, and remains a habitat for Moose and other large mammals.

I assume from looking at the area, near a crossroads they named Nashville, that the Neeley’s farmed and ranched rich bottomland.

But Armenius Miller Neeley, who went by A.M., also worked as a lineman for the telegraph when lines were extended first to Franklin in 1868 and then up Cub River Canyon and across the mountains to Paris, Idaho in 1871.

Most famously, though, he was an interpreter with the Bannock and Shoshone peoples long indigenous to that area for at least part of the year, following a “calling” or designation from Mormon leaders.

Coincidentally, both of my grandmother Adah’s grandfathers served as interpreters with Native American people indigenous to Cache Valley, as did one of my maternal grandmother’s father and grandfather further south for the Paiute and Hopi nations respectively.

My great (x2) grandfather Neeley was born in eastern Illinois where his native upstate New Yorker parents had settled in the 1820s and then returned there after a brief stint in 1830 when they unsuccessfully also tried to settle Wisconsin.

Both sets of his grandparents became Mormons in 1832, within two years of the formation of that faith.  His parents followed by the time A.M was born in 1836.

Including another ancestor who had become only the 31st member of that faith, this means there are roots on both sides of my father family tracing back to the first thousand converts to that faith, something rare among its now 15 million worldwide.

While we both became inactive nearly all of our adult lives, we respected that being Mormon can be as much about a culture as a faith.

Following conversion, my Neeley ancestors migrated across Illinois to its western edge where other Mormons gathered for a short time, creating the settlement of Nauvoo from a swamp.

By the time it vied for the second largest city in Illinois, they were forced to flee for the safety of the Rockies in 1846.

My 3rd great grandmother “Betsy,” whose father had fallen during Missouri’s at Haun’s Mill massacre a few years earlier, died on the banks of the Missouri River in route to he West.df5b1e91-ba12-4602-bdc3-2b63cc3caa04

Barely 14 years old, my 2nd great grandfather Neeley made it across the Rockies by 1850.

Shortly, he migrated north first near Brigham City before marrying my 2nd great grandmother, Susan Morgan, a Welsh immigrant.

She was just 15 and he was 19.  By 1862, they pioneered across the 42nd parallel into what would be named Idaho, even before it had been organized into a territory.

They would have probably moved back temporarily in 1863 to the safety of the rectangular fort of Franklin during an attempt by A.M. and others to mediate with the Shoshone after a settler shot and killed a brave.

But soon sixty cavalry troopers rode through the fort and what is called the Bear River Massacre ensued a few miles north on what is now US 91 near what, a few years later, would be settled as Worm Creek, now called Preston.

History tells me that my 2nd great grandparents the Neeley’s and Shumways were among the Franklin settlers that tended to wounded soldiers and Shoshone in the aftermath of what is the largest massacre by the U.S. Army.

Susan died during childbirth in 1877, a few months after dispatch riders had galloped into Franklin where they first telegraphed the news of Custer’s massacre to the East.

A.M. re-married a widow named Clark who hailed from near Spartanburg, South Carolina.  She famously smoked a corn cob pipe.

My line of Neeley’s eventually migrated north along the Henry’s Fork where my grandparents met and where my father, me and my sisters were born.

Also not far off US 91/89, it is the furthest north point along more than a thousand miles of what I call the Meridian of my DNA, because it is along this route that my ancestors created dozens of settlements from 1847 until the end of the Frontier was declared 5 decades later.

But my grandmother Adah knew here grandfather A.M. very well.  He didn’t pass until she was in her late teens and and ventured further north along the eastern edge of Idaho.

A.M. died two months after the creation of Cache National Forest a bit further up the Cub River as a nurturing influence below.  Coincidentally, it was also, just as the Targhee National Forest was created in back of the ancestral ranch where I spent my early years.

Grandma Adah told me stories A.M. while I was growing up and also left historical sketches that illuminate details whenever I fail to recall them.

I sure wish I had asked her a lot more questions.  To compensate, I weave these narratives for my young grandsons and their descendants to come.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Triggering Personal Change

Right now my partner and I are half way through a month-long “wine fast.”

It’s also, coincidentally, the anniversary of when we also added twice a week strength training to our exercise regime a year ago under the guidance of an excellent personal trainer.

We’re what is called moderate drinkers, according to dietary guidelines, sticking exclusively to red wine.

A recent study conducted over two decades found that moderate drinkers were more than 40% less likely to die within that timeframe.

Drinking red wine doesn’t mean you will live longer -- nor does weight training or taking a daily brisk walk -- but the latter two may mean you may die a whole lot better.

Studies have shown though, that fasting from alcohol for even a month (we chose February for a reason that should be obvious) has health benefits such as lowering liver fat by as much as 20% as well as cholesteral and blood sugar by an average of 16.

Alcohol (and obesity) can cause your liver to process fat differently.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we cut back from two glasses to one at dinner in March even though my liver tested normal before this wine fast.

Either way, my doctor will probably be as happy when I have my annual physical in March, as he has been with the fact that exercise over the last several years has normalized my triglyceride levels.

For anyone who reads regularly, you’re probably wondering how I can be descended from five generations of Mormons, dating to back to that faith’s first 30 members and drink alcohol, or for that matter coffee.

For the last forty years I have mostly been Mormon in culture only.  But you might be surprised to know that abstinence from alcohol or coffee or tea hasn’t always been associated with being a Mormon.

Living what is called the “Word of Wisdom” did not become a litmus test for members of that faith until the 1920s, nearly a hundred years from when it was first revealed during a time when similar dietary concerns were commonplace.

In fact, coffee and wine were provisions on the vanguard wagon train west in 1847, which included three off my ancestors.  Others who followed over the next ten or so years even planted vineyards.

I’ve already written about the tobacco chewing prowess of one of my pioneer ancestors.  One of my grandfathers on the other side, who was born in 1888,  still drank coffee and beer while I was growing up.

He’s either smiling or shaking his head as I write that drinking coffee and red wine have now been found to actually have health properties.

With all due respect, the most prevalent dietary vice among Mormons is definitely sugar.

But I digress.

I average 3 miles a day of brisk walking now, and that includes at least a 2-miler even after weight training.

So what brought about this change regarding exercise?  I grew up playing all kinds of sports but as an adult I was better known for a quarter-pounder a day with fries, often twice a day.

It isn’t the Fitbit I wear.  I’ve had one since they came out but wearing it didn’t increase my exercise.

The first sign of a thin layer of film in one of the carotid arteries in my neck was a wakeup.

Having a partner who shifted gears with me has also been a major influence.

Unlike some in a recent study here in Durham, tracking activity on a wearable has not made it a chore.  In fact, using a Fitbit to track various daily goals has made it fun and measurable.

Measurability is a key to motivation, at least for me.

It is also educational.  I’ve never thought much about “active steps.”

It is now a proven metric by several sources and studies that getting at least 10,000 steps each day is good for you.  The average American gets 5,100.

Just as important, or even more important for me, is the metric called “active minutes.”

The CDC recommends about 30 per day but defines them in increments of 10.  So Fitbit awards active minutes after 10 minutes of continuous moderate-to-intense activity such as walking at a brisk pace.

Moseying or sauntering doesn’t count and I shoot for at least 100 a day, hoping to get my heart rate, during walks, up into the cardio or even peak zone for at least 30 minutes each day.

Some weeks now I average about 150 “active minues” a day.

Coupled with this was avoiding sugar as much as possible and using another app to zero in on and then maintain my caloric balance.

I’m a few months from turning 68.  For people over the age of 65, the CDC recommends two and a half hours of moderate-intensity activity a week, about a two mile brisk walk at my pace.

Also recommended is strength training two or more days a week covering all of the major muscle groups.

So we’re doing more than okay by those standards.

Some people live their last 20, 30 or even 40 years sick, in poor health, with limited mobility and with a variety of ailments that impede their quality of life.

We’re hoping (and there is research to back it up) that by staying strong, active and healthy, although we may not live more years, we will be ale to add quality to all those years in front of us.

We’ll see.  What started as an interest in losing weight, improving tests and toning some muscles has turned into a complete life style change.

And we couldn’t be happier.

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Incredible Market So Many DMOs Overlook

People were amazed when it first became apparent in the late 1990s, that Durham, North Carolina drew a higher percentage of visitors through the jointly owned Raleigh-Durham International Airport than any other city in its vast service area.

Studies a few years earlier had also confirmed that the vast majority of these visitors as well as overall visitation to Durham were point-to-point, meaning that the “Bull City” was their ultimate destination and they were not just passing through nor only tacking it on as a stopover.

Many DMOs and even more state and local officials obsess with airports as gateways, but on average, nationwide, including places such as Durham, more than 85% of domestic person-trips taken, including the overwhelming majority of those taken for business including conferences, are done as road trips.

Fully half are instate.

This isn’t counting visitors from within a 50 miles radius, although studies show that Southerners are inclined to travel as far as 244 miles round trip for a day trip, or up to 122 miles each way.

This is the sweet spot that many Destination marketers miss, especially small, emerging destinations where it should be the strategic focus.

It is useful to focus on Gen X and Baby Boomers because more than half of Millennials feel they don’t have the time for even a day trip, and even then it is primilary a foodie trip (35%.)

So studies of road-trippers focus on people who are 45+ years old where the incidence for leisure road trips is between 85% and 89% although it is people in their 60s who are the most active road-trippers.

Only a third of road-trippers fully plan their trips in advance and only half try new new destinations.  But while for men driving it is the destination that matters, women are more given to relaxation and rejuvenation.

An exception may be road-trippers who use vacation rentals, where half of women drivers put the “pedal to the metal” while 29% of male drivers are open to the “long and leisurely” route.

Outside of trips for year-end holidays, road trips potential overall is evenly spread from May through October. 

Making road-trippers unlikely to being “intercepted” enroute is that 72% stick only to the main roads - while 5% take scenic routes and 23% take a combination.

Billboards are especially useless for this purpose because 73% of road-trippers now use GPS including 43% who have in-dash systems.  Google is the other preferred app for pit stops along the way.

It is more likely that a destination can appeal to the 30% of road-trippers who look beyond the ultimate destination by reaching them online as they search popular end-desintations, more so on the outbound leg than the return.

Cities or towns town are the most popular destinations, followed by a friend or family members home.  Cities in the South are twice as popular as beaches and seven times more popular as mountains.

Only 2% take cross country road trips such as you have read about on this blog and only 1% starts off with no particular destination in mind.

For those who are open to stop-overs, a destination might appeal to 29% for a park or beach for a little over three hours.  The same percentage is open to stopping in a city or town along the way for up to 4 hours.

Local culture falls next in popularity with museums appealing to 15%, winery tours (8%), concerts/theater (5%) and sporting events (3%.)

But remember, even in these instances, any stops in route are more likely outbound than on the return and 4-in-10 make absolutely no stops enroute.

For nearly three-quarters, road trips are their favorite way to travel and 87% make them three times a year. 

DMOs for unfamiliar destinations are best advised to focus on nearby cities for demand and then for day trips and short weekends until that demand can justify additional capacity.

Any advertising done by a DMO trying to encourage stops enroute or in an an attempt to draw day trips or short weekend road trips from residents of nearby cities needs to be online, not on billboards, with a focus on search results.

Remember 3-in-4 use GPS and more and more move that direction each year.  They are more and more likely to be annoyed by roadside blight.

So a priority must be ensuring the regular submission of indepth GPS data for streets and highways as well as continually prodding and assisting all tourism related businesses, organizations and events to secure and “own” their online/GPS “real estate.”

Many states, including North Carolina, still seem to perpetuate the illusion that road trips are serial in nature and/or that visitors to a destination can be lured into driving to other communities for things easily found where they are visiting.

In part, this is why so many communities still engage in predatory marketing.

But that model hasn’t been aligned with consumer behavior for 50-70 years, if ever.  Travelers via all modes very rarely venture more than seven miles even within their primary destination.

DMO marketing doesn’t have to be “rocket science” but hubris, including that among local officials as well as misinformation from other DMOs, can make it a lot more difficult.

Focusing on instate road-trippers may lack sex appeal but it is a very lucrative strategy for destinations of any size.