Boulder City ~ Fun in the Rural Sun

Written and submitted by Jill Lagan, CEO, Boulder City Chamber of Commerce

As I write the title of this guest column, I immediately worry about sunscreen disclaimers.  However, when it comes to summer, vacations, family time, and a simply slower pace, I suppose fun in the sun…responsibly, is still a great opportunity to take a deep breath and re-center our busy lives.  I can’t think of a better place to find an enjoyable balance of activities like outdoor adventure and indoor shopping or dining, than in charming Boulder City.

All the rural communities surrounding the Las Vegas Valley have amazing offerings and are great neighbors to get to know.  Outdoor recreation plays a significant role in rural communities and holds great importance for several reasons.

Economic Impact: Outdoor recreation can be a vital economic driver for rural areas, such as Mesquite, Laughlin, Overton, and Boulder City. It attracts visitors from both nearby Las Vegas and distant regions, contributing to local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, outfitters, and equipment rental services. This influx of visitors stimulates local economies, generates job opportunities, and supports small businesses, thus enhancing the overall economic vitality of rural communities.  As former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman once stated at a Boulder City Tourism Commission meeting, the health of the communities in the surrounding area is essential for the overall health of Las Vegas.  He further explained that Vegas is the center hub of the wagon wheel and that if any one spoke is broken, the wheel simply does not turn.

Tourism and Destination Appeal: Rural areas often possess unique natural landscapes, scenic beauty, and abundant outdoor resources. These attributes make them attractive destinations for tourists seeking recreational activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, and water sports. The presence of outdoor recreation opportunities can help position rural communities as desirable tourist destinations, encouraging visitors to explore and spend time in these areas.  What better way to provide our visitors to Southern Nevada with a well-rounded experience, than to offer them excellent entertainment and nightlife in Las Vegas and the following day, come out and enjoy scenic drives, water sports, golfing, etc.  So many opportunities to build an itinerary that will leave the guest with great memories.

Health and Well-being: Quality of life for our residents is also essential.  How can we expect our employees to perform at their best if they do not also find great escapes in their own backyard.  Outdoor recreation provides opportunities for physical exercise, mental rejuvenation, and overall well-being. Engaging in outdoor activities promotes a healthier lifestyle, reduces stress, and improves mental health.  Additionally, the availability of recreational spaces encourages social interactions and fosters a sense of community among residents. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman stated at the US Conference of Mayors Small Business Roundtable that our smart phones are a great tool, but not a substitute for real living. We need human connection for a full life. So, we can use our phones’ maps to get us to the rural communities, take pictures of the memories we are creating, and then just stop and take a deep and intentional breath, as we enjoy time with the ones that matter, in a place that matters.

Conservation and Environmental Stewardship: Rural areas often encompass valuable natural resources, including forests, rivers, mountains, and wildlife habitats. Boulder City has found itself placed right between the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. By promoting outdoor recreation, communities can raise awareness about the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship. Encouraging responsible use of these resources through activities like guided nature walks, educational programs, and sustainable tourism practices such as the Dark Skies programing throughout the State of Nevada, can help protect and preserve the natural environment for future generations.

Cultural and Historical Preservation: Many rural communities have a deep connection to their natural surroundings, traditional ways of life, and historical significance. Boulder City played a key role in the eventual growth of Southern Nevada. As we claim to be the “town that built Hoover Dam”, we recognize the importance of sharing our history, telling the great story of those that came before us, and inviting guests to come and experience the taming of the Colorado River while floating down the flat water below the Dam, through the Black Canyon as they are educated about the Southwest’s first designated water trail that runs 30 miles to Eldorado Canyon. Outdoor recreation can help preserve and promote local cultural and heritage tourism.

Diversification of Rural Economy: Outdoor recreation provides an opportunity for rural areas to diversify their economic base. Traditional industries may face challenges from time to time. (Hint: remember the pandemic) Outdoor recreation can offer an alternative source of revenue, of open space, and of ways to improve mental health.  By investing in recreational infrastructure, promoting ecotourism, and supporting outdoor businesses, rural communities can reduce their reliance, and the State’s reliance, on a single industry and create a more resilient and sustainable economy.

Get out the sunscreen (I should own stock in some brand) and plan to enjoy rewarding outdoor recreation in rural communities. Not only will you get to know your neighbors better, but you will also be contributing to economic growth, community well-being, environmental conservation, and the preservation of cultural and heritage tourism. Have fun while you grow closer to yourself and family, unwind, explore, and discover Boulder City. By recognizing and capitalizing on the natural and manmade assets the surrounding areas possess, you make memories, you support and build up small businesses, and you play a part in assisting rural areas to leverage outdoor recreation in achieving a balanced and prosperous future in Southern Nevada.




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