Breckenridge focuses on its heritage

Bob Berwyn
Special to the DailyBreckenridge has over 250 registered historic buildings, including the Carter Museum pictured here. A new heritage center seeks to better brand and market the town's historic and cultural assets.

BRECKENRIDGE – Poised at the crest of a wave of interest in heritage tourism, a group of volunteers and professionals is preparing to launch the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance in a big way.The alliance, initially funded by the town to the tune of $360,000, was established to spearhead a heritage tourism program in the Breckenridge area. The organization, operating out of the historic Gaymon Cabin, is governed by a volunteer board of directors: Neide Cooley, Larry Crispell, Rick Hague, Bonnie Kirschenbaum, John Warner and Wendy Wolfe.The search is on for an executive director, with the application period closing Nov. 20. Board president Rick Hague said he’s already received about 80 resumes, and is hoping that a few more locals express an interest in the position. Heritage tourism is already a big part of the Breckenridge scene, but the new organization will help develop a more consolidated and focused vision, said town spokesperson Kim DiLallo. Part of the focus is on the town’s 150-year anniversary in 2009, which will help provide a catalyst for creating a long-term heritage tourism program, DiLallo said.Master planThe Breckenridge Heritage Alliance grew out of the recommendation from the 2006 Heritage Tourism Master Plan. In the fall of 2005, the town determined the need for a coordinated heritage effort and engaged the services of two experienced heritage-tourism consultants to study current efforts and develop a plan. Initial programs for 2007 include coordinating with the Summit Historical Society, the Saddle Rock Society (owner of the Barney Ford House Museum) and other groups – both nonprofit and private – to develop a seamless, quality experience for visitors. Board president Rick Hague said heritage tourism is not just about the historic mining era.”It includes everything we have at present, that evolved over time,” Hague said. Aside from the obvious historic elements like mining relics and historic Victorian district, he mentioned skiing, the arts district and even local theater as falling under the heritage umbrella. “We want to celebrate everything Breckenridge has become,” he said.”We chose our name very carefully. We want the public to perceive us as an umbrella that many different organizations can come together under. This isn’t just about the 150-year anniversary … it’s about developing a quality heritage tourism program,” Hague said.Some early efforts will focus on branding the various programs that exist to lend a common feel to the programs and marketing, he said. Right now, there are more than 20 different schedules of events and activities in the area, he said. Private businesses will also be a big part of the effort, he added, using the Yankee Boy Mine and local restaurants as examples. For starters in 2007, Hague said he hopes to focus on working with the Summit Historical Society and the Saddle Rock Society to get consistent scheduling for tours and operations at existing historic sites, including Iowa Hill and the Barney Ford Museum.”We’d like to get all the sites open six days per week,” he said.For more information about the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance and the search for an executive director, contact Kim DiLallo at the town of Breckenridge at (970) 453-3187, ext.1, or Breckenridge Heritage Alliance president Rick Hague at (970)547-9262. Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado CO

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