Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

November 2, 2013

Be proud of our heritage and embrace tourism

I recently had the opportunity through the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Allegany! program to sample all of the great tourism venues in Allegany County. It was a great day and I was amazed at the variety and the scope of things to do — many of which I had never experienced, even though I have lived here for 30 years.

As our group was touring we were discussing the problems faced by our tourism board and how hard it is to generate monies to support the tourism movement. I’ve noticed that any time we discuss the problems of Allegany County I hear the same complaints and solutions suggested. We need big industry and manufacturing to bring back the jobs. While that would be ideal, it is not going to happen.

On my way home from this great day, I had an epiphany. I grew up in a small tourist town. We were very successful with our tourism monies and I realized it was because the whole county bought into the idea. We didn’t have a lot of industry to depend on. We treated our tourists like they were the best thing since sliced bread, because in a sense, they were. They were our bread and butter.

Our schools supported the resources we offered. As a child growing up in that town, I knew and had participated in everything we were trying to promote. All the locals did! This county is still successful and has grown leaps and bounds in the thirty years I have been away.

I believe this is the direction that Allegany County is going. As citizens of this county, we need to embrace this new direction. Instead of complaining about no jobs or that our town is dying, we need to pitch in and figure out how to promote our county as a destination. The up and coming place to be. We have a heritage. Get involved with tourism. Be proud!

I encourage all of the residents of Allegany County to go on to the website www.mountainside.com to find out what is going on in your community. Take advantage of what we have. Teach your children why it is great to live here.

And the next time you hear someone complain that’s there nothing here, enlighten them to our treasures!

Cynthia McCutcheon

Barton

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