Seaside OR - The Gateway 2010 committee will introduce a test version of the Passport to Seaside over the next six weeks. The Passport is an aerial map showing the exciting typography of the Seaside area from Tillamook Head across the eastern forestlands and follows the rivers to the estuary and the ocean.
Twelve major sites of historical and cultural interest are highlighted along a self-guided tour route that is easy to follow on the map. Background information is provided on each site and Passport users are then asked a question relating to each of the sites.
Alan Smiles, who spearheads the committee noted, "This is an excellent tool to promote the broader aspects of our town. It's great for kids - they learn some history, some science and have fun. If they answer all the questions on the Passport they can go to the Visitor's Bureau, Sunset Pool, or the Interpretive Center adjacent to North Gateway Park and get a prize."
The Seaside Passport is a prototype in what will become a series of passports showcasing the towns and counties of the area around the mouth of the Columbia River in both Oregon and Washington. The area is currently seeking a National Heritage Area Designation and hopes that the Passports will demonstrate a cohesiveness and true commitment to achieving the NHA.
National Heritage Areas do not create any new regulations or other restrictions on private or public property. They simply assist the areas in presenting the history and culture of a region. Last year National Heritage Areas, most of which are east of the Mississippi River, were responsible for 152,000 jobs and 8.5 billion in tourism spending.
Tom Horning, a local Seaside geologist, developed the Passport map and worked with Historical Museum member Gloria Linkey to write the background on each of the sites.
Testing of the route and the information program will be headed by Mary Blake, General Manager of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District. Blake said, "This is a another fun way to play in Seaside. We'll have local kids and families as well as visitors check it out for problems and improvements. As this becomes a community resource every third or fourth grade class should do the tour as part of the school curriculum."
Passports are available at The Seaside Visitor's Bureau, the Sunset Pool, the Gateway interpretive center and in several downtown locations including the Carousel Mall and the Seaside Downtown Development office. The City of Seaside Promotions Committee funded printing for the project.
The Gateway 2010 is a loosely organized group of Seasiders, many of whom attended a three-day National Heritage Area Designation seminar at Ft. Columbia in early March. The group is committed to bringing Seaside into the National Heritage Area and promoting the historical and cultural aspects of Seaside and welcomes anyone who would like to attend the meetings. For more information call the Seaside Chamber of Commerce.