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Council plans video, tourist guide for county's recreational activities

By Katie Demeria

WOODSTOCK -- The Shenandoah County Tourism Council is taking strides to show off the many outdoor activities the county has to offer.

At the latest council meeting, members discussed two upcoming projects: a video featuring sports like skiing, hiking and kayaking, and an outdoor recreation guide to be made available to tourists.

The video is likely to be released this fall and the guide in the spring of 2015, according to Director of Marketing and Tourism Jenna French.

"This was one of my goals when I started with this office," French said. "I think a lot of people identify Shenandoah County with the outdoor recreation here, in addition to the history and the vineyards. But, I felt that we don't have that well represented here."

French said she was spurred to move forward with the guide because in the last few months she has been inundated with calls from tourists asking what outdoor activities were available.

"As it stands, when somebody calls me up and asks about hiking trails, I end up having to send them multiple printouts and PDFs from different websites," French continued. "I think this will be a great resource we can use."

She added that the guide will help save money in the long run when considering what it costs to send out stacks of papers to visitors.

Funds are available in the budget for the outdoor recreation guide due to leftover visitors guides from last year. With about 19,000 old guides left, and 75,000 new ones printed this year, it seems unlikely that the council will have to print visitor guides again until the fiscal year 2016.

While those extra funds could be used toward the recreation guide, French has also applied for a Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Grant.

"We want to make sure we take advantage of those opportunities where there is money available for us to use other than using our taxpayer dollars," French said.

Hank Zimmerman of Shenandoah Valley Productions is producing the outdoor recreation video. It will be used, French said, to advertise what the county has to offer. Many websites are now allowing for 15- to 30-second commercials "at really good prices," according to French.

Zimmerman is creating the promotional video in three stages -- the first will exhibit people strapping on hiking gear, baiting a hook or launching a kayak. The second will be the action, with a kayak shooting down the rapids, for example, and the third stage will be people giving each other high fives.

"That would tell a natural story with minimal dialogue, just really good, punchy music and good effects," Zimmerman said.

To learn more about the guide or video, email French at jfrench@shenandoahcountyva.us.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com

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