Sustainable, Low-Impact Tourism

We designed the Wander Applegate website for visitors to learn more about our beautiful valley. We have so much to love here: hiking trails, wildflowers, river parks, wineries, farms, historical sites, a gorgeous lake, and a sense of community.

Wander Applegate logo

Applegate Valley is a destination worth some vacation time, and travel trends outlined in a Destination Management Plan conducted in the Applegate in 2021 indicate that our valley is poised to receive a significant uptick of visitors.

This is great news for our local economy. Still, at the listening sessions conducted throughout the Valley in 2019-2020, Applegate residents made it clear that when it came to nurturing tourism, some boundaries are essential.

The Applegate Valley Vision outlines four criteria for tourism put forth by residents during the listening sessions conducted in 2019/2020. Tourism must be low-impact, conscious, community-led, and attractive to diverse visitors. Our goal is to ensure that tourists to our valley are a force for good.

The sustainable Destination Management Plan for the Applegate Valley is intended to benefit the artists, farmers, and food producers; public and private land managers; event producers; and outdoor enthusiasts that make the Applegate Valley special.  Recommendations from the plan include: 

Culinary/Agritourism

Grow the valley’s reputation as a high-quality local food destination.

  • Bundle locally made food and sell in picnic baskets at the gateways, at wineries, and at a kiosk along Highway 238
  • Cultivate a list of producers willing to create on-farm experiences, support visitor readiness, and aggregate and market experiences when ready
  • Encourage educational experiences that generate supplemental income for producers and lead to farm stays
  • Create an Applegate Valley Food Trail that serves as a companion to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail and builds off of work done to create the Rogue Valley Food Trail
  • Support use of the Applegate Valley logo on regional food products
  • Build partnerships with wineries that showcase local foods at point of purchase (local food picnic baskets, a la-carte goods) through chef dinners and events
  • Leverage resident food influencers to expose their audiences to the Applegate Valley’s culture of food and artisanal products

Wine Tourism

Support success and expose wine travelers to the rest of the cornucopia.

  • Develop relationships with vineyard and winery owners and operators to support their success
  • Create an overlapping network of wine producers, farmers, and artisans that helps expose wine enthusiasts to local food and art
  • Create an event series that pairs local wines with seasonal and boutique foods
  • Create a referral network by hosting local familiarization tours for front-line staff
  • Produce visitor-friendly marketing materials and distribute at wineries
  • Leverage wine influencer trips to the Applegate by providing tailored culinary experiences and on-farm experiences
  • Encourage wineries to create boutique lodging opportunities for visitors

Arts & Artisan Culture

Connect the visitor economy and the arts and artisan community.

  • Support the creation of a gathering place and makerspace at each end of the valley
  • Encourage the creation of educational experiences for visitors
  • Convene artists and artisans to further define a regional brand
  • Explore applying the Applegate Valley logo to regional food products
  • Package art and sell in gateways
  • Integrate art into the growing network of alternative lodging options
  • In partnership with wellness experts, create a complimentary suite of treatments and market them collectively

Outdoor Recreation

Improve access to outdoor recreation to encourage longer stays and return trips.

  • Partner with local trails organizations and land management agencies, especially the BLM, to prioritize and develop trailheads, trail connectors, and new trails
  • Identify possible access points for the Applegate and Little Applegate Rivers, with a focus on BLM, USFS, and State of Oregon parcels
  • Explore easements or land donations that will increase public access
  • Engage ODOT to assess feasibility of a continuous path for active transportation along the valley floor; prioritize building sections of path that provide critical links
  • Coordinate with local historical organizations to highlight points of interest

Events

Leverage, wine, lavender, and paragliding events to disseminate visitors throughout the Applegate and inspire return visits. Create new events to bolster awareness of the valley’s many offerings.

Existing Events

  • Partner with paragliding event producers and local landowners to create temporary overnight lodging during events
  • Expand events into festivals that encourage overnight stays in the valley and dining at local restaurants, food carts, and producers
  • Liaise with county officials to allow permitting of temporary group camps and RV sites

New Events

  • In partnership with food producers, create a shoulder-season event to showcase local products, e.g., Applegate Harvest Festival
  • In partnership with artists and artisans, create a shoulder or off-season event to showcase local art