PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory recently won a “Best New Idea” achievement award for its efforts to inform locals and visitors alike on the Upper Clackamas River Corridor’s latest happenings.

In Sept. 2020, the Riverside Wildfire severely damaged the southeastern part of Mt. Hood National Forest. As a result, a large section of Highway 224 was shut down. This included the Upper Clackamas River Corridor where many would go fishing, hiking, camping and more.

Earlier this year in February, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced that Highway 224 would reopen by May 2022, along with a number of recreation areas.

Traffic flows and parking areas were also affected by the wildfire. Due to potential threats of landslides and fallen trees, staff would have to conduct routine temporary halts to prevent those issues.

Mt. Hood Territory, the brand behind Clackamas County Tourism, soon realized that they needed a platform to inform people about the changes happening to the area.

Mt. Hood partnered with the United States Forest Service, ODOT and Portland General Electric to create a web page where people could access this information. The web page features regularly-updated FAQs, a map that highlights the area’s open sites, links to additional information on the neighboring community Estacada and more.

“With our ability to reach audiences, this project was a natural way for Mt. Hood Territory to support land managers and local communities who had information that needed sharing and were concerned about public safety,” Jim Austin, Development and Community Relations Lead at Mt. Hood Territory, said.

Mt. Hood Territory also collaborated with the Estacada Chamber of Commerce to put together an informational kiosk that people could access in person. The kiosk includes large prints of the recreation map and information on local businesses and stewardship from Mt. Hood, Columbia River Gorge Region and Travel Oregon.

The USFS also received a large map of the area, which was placed at the newly opened portion of Highway 224.

Because of these efforts, the Destination Marketing Association of the West presented Mt. Hood Territory with one of the four “Best New Idea” awards given to destination marketing organizations. Mt. Hood accepted the award at the DMA West Education Summit in Ventura, Calif., last month.

“It was a great honor to accept this award on behalf of all the partners who worked on this project,” Austin said. “This effort helped bring together many organizations and it successfully kept visitors informed.”