Tapping into Camas-Washougal tourism

Camas and Washougal are great towns with lots to offer and lots of potential.

This was one of the overriding themes emphasized during a town hall meeting in Washougal on Saturday, where among the discussion items was promotion of the city’s current festivals, events, businesses and activities, as well as the possibility of developing new opportunities and attractions.

Many ideas were bounced around. Washougal city officials and citizens suggested a fishing derby, boat races, car shows and scavenger hunts. Discussion also centered on working to promote at a regional level what is already available in the “gateway to the Gorge.”

Camas representatives attended the meeting as well, including Brenda Schallberger from the Downtown Camas Association. After a great deal of hard work, this group has been successful in its efforts to promote downtown Camas and establish a series of popular events including First Fridays and other activities.

While Camas has partnered with Washougal in other endeavors including the merger of its fire departments and the formation of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association, efforts to promote tourism have largely remained separate.

With the two cities being so closely tied, in proximity as well as character and composition, it may be time to start looking more seriously at a partnership that would establish a more focused effort on promoting all that Camas and Washougal has to offer visitors.

Saturday’s joint meeting attended by so many active groups and individuals who have a stake in promoting the area as a tourist destination could be a great first step in lighting a fire under a potential collaborative effort. It is an effort that has the potential to have a direct impact on the area’s current and future economic vitality.