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California’s outdoor writers flock to Auburn, Placer County

By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal
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They came. They saw. They were conquered – by Placer County’s outdoor attractions.

That was the consensus of local tourism industry spokespeople after 58 writers and photographers with the Outdoor Writers Association of California were treated to a variety of opportunities to explore and learn about Placer County’s outdoor amenities as part of the group’s conference Sunday and Monday in Auburn.

Bob Semerau, association president emeritus, had praise Tuesday for organizers and Auburn attractions.

“Experiencing the broad spectrum of outdoor adventure opportunities to be found in Placer County has given the membership a real appreciation for this lovely part of California,” Semerau said. “Fly fishing the middle fork of the American River with Grady Garlough of Rise Up River Trips highlighted the pristine and wild natural beauty to be found throughout the region. And the fishing was awesome.”

Mora Rowe, Placer County Visitors Bureau executive director, said Tuesday that many facets of the county’s outdoor tourism-based industry were presented to the organization in tours and recreational opportunities.

They included bass fishing on Folsom Lake, a tour of ancient geology and watersheds in the Foresthill area and target practice at the Auburn Trap Shooting Club. At the Auburn Quarry near Cool, experienced rock climbers were offered the opportunity to climb a cliff.

“What I loved was all the energy, whether it was fishing, climbing, shooting traps – and all the operators showed a great sense of community,” Rowe said. “We rolled out the red carpet.”

This is believed to be the first time the Outdoor Writers have held their twice yearly conference in Auburn.

Event participant Karen Killebrew, an Auburn area resident, said that Outdoor Writers Association board members believed it was the largest conference attendance in several years.

The Visitors Bureau partnered with several entities, including the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and county Office of Economic Development, to play host to the non-profit group’s spring conference. The conference was based out of Auburn’s Holiday Inn, which recently underwent a $5 million renovation.

“Everyone I talked to said they were looking forward to returning soon to Placer County to discover more,” Killebrew said. “As a former OWAC member I am very proud of the impression that Placer County Visitors Bureau, our activity operators, speakers, landscapes and especially the Holiday Inn made on participants. Our love for where we live, work and recreate was communicated very clearly.”