Gallup Journey November 2010

Page 40

H. Haveman

On the Map: National Geographic Geotourism Project

photo by Richie Diesterheft

photo by Joel Mills


henever we’re on a road trip, we usually try to find a mom-and-pop diner when it’s time to eat. Regardless of the appearance of the restaurant itself, a full parking lot is usually a good sign. The food is greasy and good and we leave with satisfaction, knowing that we experienced some of the best that Small Town, America has to offer. If only there were a map to point us to these gems more often . . .

Noreen Simplico Pot

This project is a grassroots initiative, dependent on local residents. 40

Travelers to the Four Corners Area will soon be in luck. National Geographic Maps is joining with organizations in Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico to highlight the world-class natural, historical and cultural attractions of our area. National Geographic Maps is a division of the National Geographic Society and has been producing maps for the magazine and other Society groups for the past 95 years. This project is a grassroots initiative, dependent on local residents to identify those places, events, and activities that represent the region best, resulting in a high-quality MapGuide and interactive website branded by National Geographic. MapGuide projects have already been published for Baja California, Greater Yellowstone, Redwood Coast of California, Sonoran Desert, and several more locations. The project aims to protect the world’s distinctive places and contribute to the economic health of communities by promoting “geotourism.” Geotourism is defined as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place – its environment, cultures, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” This kind of traveling involves local communities in providing the visitor with an authentic, enriching experience. In return, residents benefit economically and are encouraged to protect and preserve their natural and cultural assets.