Free, creative photos of the Lake Roosevelt area, video links to YouTube and pre-scripted social media posts are among the tools that the National Parks Service (NPS) is sharing with local businesses to celebrate the centennial of national parks and increase visitors this summer. The social media tools are available to local businesses because they are important “partners” in the national parks experience, according to NPS staffer Brandon Cadwell.
“Your businesses provide everything that we don’t, from lodging and meals to gas and snacks,” said Cadwell at a “Digital Day Camp” event at the Kettle Falls Library on May 12. “So we consider businesses near the national parks to be important partners.”
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Parks Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments in the U.S. and those that would be established. The legacy of that act created parks that over 306 million visitors went to last year, said Cadwell who works at Lake Roosevelt that is managed by NPS. Locally, that generated significant revenue.
“Last year, 1.2 million visitors came to Lake Roosevelt and spent $50 million in the region that supported 697 jobs. Of those 1.2 million visitors, 400,000 people accessed Lake Roosevelt through Kettle Falls,” Cadwell said, noting that visitor counts are usually made through visual clicker counts and plugged into an algorithm.
Of those visitors at Kettle Falls, Cadwell added, 70 percent comes from Lake Roosevelt visitation, meaning those visitors are going to need the services local businesses provide.
As part of his presentation, Cadwell shared tools that NPS has developed to promote the centennial, including video clips on YouTube, attractive pictures of Lake Roosevelt from various points in Stevens County and ideas about how to generate business traffic using social media.
“We are trying to connect with the next generation. We have learned that lots of white, retired people go to national parks so we need to connect with young people in order to keep this legacy going because you don’t protect what you don’t value,” said Cadwell. “As we are doing that, we also want visitors to utilize and appreciate what local businesses have to offer.”
Cadwell said in addition to providing free promotional materials, NPS can also offer some assistance in photoshopping already existing photos to add the NPS centennial logo or in helping develop social media posts.
Shelly Stevens of Tri-County Economic Development was also on hand to help workshop participants get up to speed on how to use Facebook for their business.
To access the free promotional materials from NPS, contact Brandon Cadwell at Brandon_cadwell@nps.gov or call 509-754-7866.
By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff