Crater Lake National Park, Ore. – Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is spending the week touring Oregon’s ‘7 Wonders’.
Wyden says he’s focusing on ways to expand and enhance Oregon’s recreation and tourism economy.
Senator Wyden kicked off his ‘7 Wonders’ tour at Crater Lake National Park Tuesday…
“It means you get to the Wallowas, you get to the gorge, you get to all of our special places.”
Wyden met with about 40 tourism-related business owners from southern Oregon.
Jim Chadderdon of Discover Klamath says tourism is big business…
“Tourism in Klamath County is nearly 150 million dollars a year.”
Some of the business owners asked for help in streamlining the permitting process.
“A lot of the permits and the forms, you couldn’t do the work online.” Explains Senator Wyden. “That’s just absurd.”
Other ideas included designating the Lava Beds National Monument as a national park, restoring commercial air service to the Crater Lake / Klamath Regional Airport, and improving access to recreational areas.
“For example, if you could just keep the roads open a little bit longer up here, that would make a big difference.” Stated Wyden.
Wyden says he hasn’t forgotten the public outrage over national park shutdowns due to sequestration in 2013…
“And their message to elected officials was: ‘Just stop messing with the special places.”
Wyden will continue his tour through the fourth of July weekend.
‘Travel Oregon’ estimates that tourism generates over 10 billion dollars each year in the state, and provides jobs for over 100,000 people.