Organization: Travel Oregon – John Day River Territory
Serves: Gilliam, Sherman, Wheeler and Grant Counties
Meet Conrad Hock:
Conrad grew up in Eugene, OR and stayed for college at the University of Oregon, studying Social Science with a focus in globalization, environment and policy. While in school he co-founded a youth sports league called Eugene Middle School Ultimate. The creation and other volunteers of this organization inspired him to pursue other means of community building and non-profit development. Conrad has a deep love for the state of Oregon and all of its self-contradictions: from lush Willamette Valley to the big-sky high desert, from metro Portland to unincorporated areas in Wheeler County. He plans on learning as much about these areas as he can in order to best serve the wide state.
Community and Organization:
From Biggs to Prairie City, the John Day River Territory is a region of Eastern Oregon beginning just south of the Columbia River. Outside of Grant county, there are no incorporated areas of over 800 people. With low populations comes beautiful landscapes, and the John Day River Territory is not short on scenic drives. From the rolling, golden fields of wheat in the north to the bare blue basin and Painted Hills, to the lush greenery of the Malheur Forest, there is a different color landscape around every turn. Home to rafting, hiking, scenic bikeways and ancient history, the JDRT is an outdoor paradise. Travel Oregon works to increase awareness of the JRDT as a tourism destination.
Conrad Hock of RARE AmeriCorps will act as the region’s tourism development specialist, acting as a catalyst for the region’s tourism economy. Tourism is a new project for the locals of the four county area, and Conrad’s first priority is to find what role tourism plays in the lives of the local people. Plenty of organizations have began planning stages, including the Eastern Oregon Visitors Association, and Conrad is ready to put boots on the ground to help locals improve traffic coming in to their hometowns. He will be putting together travel itineraries, supporting the development of agritourism in the area, and increasing the online presence through social media and website development.