Farmers invited to jump on geotourism site

AFP Correspondent

(Jan. 15, 2016) Farmers in Warren and Sussex counties who participate in agri-tourism have a new marketing tool.
The National Geographic Society, using a grant from the William Penn Foundation of $645,000, is creating a website and mapping to include sites in three states in the Scenic, Wild Delaware River Geotourism Program.
Any site within a 25- to 30-minute drive from the river from Portland, Pa., north to Hancock, N.Y., that attracts visitors can be placed on the website.
John Beljean of the National Parks Conservation Association explained any privately-owned business must be nominated by the owner or manager.
Beljean was speaking at an information session held at the Warren County Administration Building on Tuesday, Jan. 5.  The Wild Delaware is only one of many geotourism sites around the country. Each will has its own website and a map of interesting locations around the area. National Geographic is working with the National Park Service and with Beljean’s group, a non-governmental organization funded through private donations and dedicated to maintaining, sustaining and enhancing the parks and surrounding areas.
The website will provide information on where to go, where to stay and what to do, Beljean said.
Some stakeholders in the area formed a stewardship council and have been working on the geotourism initiative, Beljean said.
Among the 30 people who attended the meeting were a tree farmer and an employee of a winery.
County agriculture agent Kenesha Reynolds-Allie said he would send a email to every county farmer who participates in agri-tourism.
“They are going to have to create their own profile,” she said. “I will give them the information we heard today, but they can take it from there.”
Beljean said any site accepted to the website will receive a “badge” for their personal web page and a certificate and window cling designating its affiliation with the Scenic, Wild Delaware.
He said once a profile is on the website it can be edited or linked to a personal webpage or an account such as Flickr.
Websites can be edited by National Geographic staff and photos can be “tweaked” a little, but Beljean said photos should be the best resolution possible. He said 10 photos is the ideal number. Short video or audio files can also be accommodated.   The important thing is to tell people why they want to come to the venues, Beljean said.