Cameron’s Corner: Our rising tide

“A rising tide floats all boats.”  There really isn’t a truer statement both in the realms of proverbial quality and literal, indeed rising tides do float boats.  The North Coast Citizen readers who know me personally know how involved in area tourism I am, after creating my own sightseeing tour company in 2011 I have developed a way to check the pulse of the industry that is, surprisingly, the area’s biggest.
Believe it or not, per the numbers, tourism is the biggest game in town.  Beating out the classic big-three industries of dairy, timber and fishing but not in the way one might expect.  Tourism is more than just a tour company, or a vacation rental home.  Tourism is restaurants.  Tourism is bars, coffee shops, storefronts.  Tourism isn’t just the slow RV’s that bog down highway 101 every summer, tourism is flyfishing, surfing, rockhounding and trail hiking.  Tourism is the lifeblood of our county and I do hope to not ruffle any feathers in saying so, because my point goes deeper.  Tourism is the big-three.
The Tillamook Cheese Factory is the number-one (or two depending on the year) most stopped at location for tourism in the entire state.  With roughly 1.1 million visitors a year who choose the cheese its safe to say our dairy industry is what brings people to our small coastal communities in droves.  In addition the timber industry also is a point of curiosity to folks with the Tillamook Forest Center offering a very impressive museum and interpretive point for visitors wishing to know more about the state forest and the agriculture.  Finally the fishing industry brings loads of off-seasonal visitors to try their hand with the Chinook and Coho runs that grace our riverbanks every bumper season, and lets not forget the ongoing clam, oysters and muscles that also make a culinary draw for Tillamook County.
When visitors are here they spend money, according to the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce every dollar spent tends to circulate approximately seven times before leaving the county.  This is a number we as a county are working to rise, the more a dollar changes hands the more financial opportunity local businesses have.
Ultimately we’re all in this rising boat together, and a rising tide affects us all, the tide of visitorship is coming whether we like it or not as we aren’t too far away from the city.  And just as with great power comes great responsibility, with great population comes an even greater one if we are to preserve who we are to passers by.