Exploring, giving

Butte County’s tourism board gears up for some additions, changes; a few ways locals can donate to October’s causes

One of the projects I oversee here at the CN&R is Discover Butte County. It’s a little daunting because there’s so much to do in this region and things change constantly, so keeping up on it all and not leaving important things out is always a challenge. This local visitor guide is also one of my favorite projects to work on, as it affords me plenty of reasons to get out of the Chico bubble and experience cool new things.

Our region has its own travel initiative, Explore Butte County, which has a hefty budget (over $1 million), as it’s funded through the tourism business improvement district (TBID) that launched in December 2015. I recently took a survey it’s sponsoring online that’s geared toward those in the hospitality industry but is applicable to anyone who interacts with visitors to our county. I urge others to take it, too (incentive: a $100 Visa card to one lucky winner), and to leave comments about what you think should be highlighted in our area.

The purpose of the survey (you can find it at tinyurl.com/ButteCountyCTA) is to inform Explore Butte County’s new certified tourism ambassador program. It seems like a step in the right direction, as I have been underwhelmed with the group’s progress thus far.

Its website (explorebuttecounty.com) is beautiful, but lacking in substance. Examples: It offers one itinerary that sends people to three different pumpkin patches in one day and a map of places to shop in Chico has just two options. Its list of Butte County communities includes Clipper Mills (population 142) but not Gridley (pop. 6,704), as Gridley hotels didn’t sign on to the TBID. The good news is, Explore Butte County knows this—a website analysis was offered at last week’s board meeting and an upgrade will soon commence. (Personal suggestion: Add links to local news sources on the site!)

Cars for a cure Are you in the market for a new vehicle? If so, you could get a little more for your buck with Oroville Auto Center’s Think Pink event running through the month of October. For every car and truck sold this month, the center will donate $100 to cancer research and treatment. Last year, the first year of the Think Pink event, that equaled $11,000. Not too shabby!

In similar car-cure news, there will be a car show/fire-truck pull on Saturday (Oct. 20) in the Chico Mall parking lot to benefit the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer initiatives. Teams of 10 pullers as well as people wanting to participate in the car show can register online (go to chicomall.com and click on “events”). The event is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and also will feature food trucks and ice cream.

More dogoodery In addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In honor of the latter, 12 local Allstate agents recently held a donation drive to gather toys and kitchen items for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services. An added value: Because of the drive, they also were able to secure $10,000 for the nonprofit through the Allstate Foundation Helping Hands Grant program.