Four-season haven

Jamie Bennett
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Organized, packaged experience key to exploiting tourism opportunities: Mercer

Deer Lake councillors Lori Humphrey, left, and Sheila Mercer take part in the Monday, May 5, 2014 Deer Lake council meeting.

The Deer Lake area’s appeal as a must-visit snowmobiling destination is well known.

But if Deer Lake Coun. Sheila Mercer has her way, the town could soon be a four-season haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Mercer raised the issue during Monday’s regular meeting of Deer Lake council.

With snowmobile trails already being used during the winter, she said the town should explore marketing the trails for ATV users. Mercer said such a scenario could entice those who own hunting and fishing lodges to become involved, since it would be more economically beneficial.

“It would fill in the gaps,” Mercer told The Western Star after the meeting.

“We’re scrambling to tap into the existing market and to attract more.”

Part of this plan would involve standardizing guides for all seasons in much the same way as fishing and hunting excursions. It would also include giving tourists a place to rent snowmobiles or ATV’s, something that isn’t currently available.

“Right now there’s no provincial program to license snowmobile guides ... and we’d like to see that established,” she said. “Now you have to ask around and find someone who’s willing to do it.

“Now, it’s hit or miss ...there’s no standard or uniformity to what’s being offered.  People are coming anyway so we might as well be able to offer them something we can market.”

Marketing the area is just what the town had in mind when it hired Ernesto Fuentes to develop a video highlighting winter activities in the Deer Lake region.

Mercer told council she’s seen and been impressed by the video, which soon will be posted on the town’s website.

“It’s very beautiful,” she said. “Before we put it on our website we want council to see it — it’s not quite ready yet.”

The next council meeting is slated for May 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Geographic location: Deer Lake, Western Star

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