The communities surrounding Clarks Hill Lake have benefited nicely from teaming up three years ago. This weekend's ESPN Women's Bassmaster Tour visit to Wildwood Park is a tangible example of what can come from efforts to increase exposure of our community's largest natural asset.
But awards are nice, too - and the partnership landed a good one this past weekend.
At the Governor's Tourism Conference in Albany, Gov. Sonny Perdue presented the Partner Agency Tourism Champion Award to the partnership that includes Columbia, McDuffie, Lincoln, Wilkes and Warren counties.
The partnership won the award in part for demonstrating good use of a state tourism grant - primarily, luring a Bassmaster National Championship event to Wildwood park last summer, along with a laundry-list of other tourism promotional efforts.
"This recognition from the governor and our tourism peers shows how essential it is that we continue to pool our resources and work together to represent our region at a national level," says Beda Johnson, executive director of Columbia County's Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Clarks Hill Partnership was the brainchild of Jim Whitehead, who represented the partner counties in the state Senate. The only surprise is that no one thought sooner of the idea of getting the counties around the lake on the same page in promoting tourism.
The only thing missing from the partnership at the moment is a full Clarks Hill Lake - in fact, lake levels have fallen so low that the re-extended Wildwood Park "mega-ramps" are again out of service.
But with a brand new award in hand to symbolize their success, the partnership is well on its way to bigger and better things in attracting the cleanest industry possible to our community.
Just add water.
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