Refuges Awarded Grant from the Colorado Tourism Office to Drive Visitor Spending Around the Monte Vista Crane Festival

MONTE VISTA, Colorado, November 2021 — The Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges was awarded a $28,000 marketing matching grant from the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) to fund an enhanced marketing program for the Monte Vista Crane Festival with the goal of increasing visitor stays and spending during and around the annual series of events each spring.  

With the funds from this grant, The Friends of the San Luis Valley National Refuges will launch a variety of efforts to enrich the Monte Vista Crane Festival. To enhance economic activity throughout the typically slow months of February, March, and April, during which the migration takes place, other unique experiences in the San Luis Valley will be promoted alongside the Festival, encouraging tourists to extend their stay. To diversify local support for the Festival, local outreach will be made to excite community members about the value of cranes and their habitat. Finally, to increase awareness around San Luis Valley’s unique environment, there will be an effort to educate the public on why cranes depend on this space for successful migration between wintering grounds and breeding grounds. 

“With this grant, The Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges, Monte Vista Crane Festival Committee, strive to encourage diverse tourists of all ages to come experience and learn about Sandhill Cranes and their link to wetlands and agriculture,” said Deb Callahan, President of the Friends of the SLV National Wildlife Refuges and co-chair of the Monte Vista Crane Festival Committee. “We hope once tourists experience the festival they will extend their stay beyond the three-day Monte Vista Crane Festival to take advantage of all the unique experiences available in the San Luis Valley.” 

The grant program awards funding to eligible applicants for projects that promote the state as a tourism destination, supporting CTO’s mission to “drive traveler spending through promotion and development of compelling, sustainable travel experiences throughout our four-corner state.” Additionally, these grants may be used for marketing projects that support better destination management such as educating visitors on how to recreate responsibly.  

Project work will begin in January 2022 and will spur future economic development and  recovery for the tourism industry throughout the year and beyond. The CTO’s Marketing  Matching Grant Program awards grants up to $40,000 and applicants must demonstrate a 2:1  match, including an in-kind match of up to 20 percent. 

To learn more about the Monte Vista Crane Festival and the Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges, please visit mvcranefest.org.