National Geographic puts Sierra Nevada, Auburn on new map

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Sierra Nevada events, outdoor adventures and local culture focusing on geotourism are being highlighted in a new National Geographic map. Working in partnership with the Sierra Business Council and Auburn-based Sierra Nevada Conservancy, the Washington, D.C. geographic society is providing more than 1,300 recommendations on the website from hundreds of local submissions. The partnership has also published a two-by-four-foot, double-sided map injected with more than 250 points of interest and 17 events to highlight some of the variety of insider-recommended attractions that dot the 3,000 square miles of the Sierra Nevada. ?It?s like sitting down with locals and finding out what?s unique,? Pete Dufour, Sierra Nevada Conservancy spokesman, said Wednesday. The completion of the Sierra Nevada Geotourism project is being celebrated with an invitation-only reception Friday in Sacramento, but copies of the free print map are already out in the community for pickup and the website is up and running. Bed and breakfast inns, scenic vistas, Sierra wineries, historic sites, cultural events, volunteer opportunities and recreation spots are among the categories the Sierra MapGuide covers. The map, which conforms to National Geographic?s high print-quality standards, contains photos, travel tips, highway routes, topographic features and a QR scan code to connect smart phones to the website. Nicole DeJonghe, program manager for the project for the Truckee-based Sierra Business Council, said the nonprofit council found the geotourism map and website the perfect fit. ?We have a mission to work on projects with environmental, economic and social goals,? DeJonghe said. ?This program has all three.? The list of Auburn-area locations that are part of the website?s recommendations includes Nicholson Blown Glass, Codfish Falls, the Auburn Art Walk, the Auburn Big-Time Pow-wow and Jazz at 800 featuring Jimmy Robinson. The map provides short descriptions of Auburn?s Bernhard Museum Complex, Lincoln?s Historic Downtown District, the Mountain Mandarin Festival at the Gold Country Fairgrounds and Colfax as part of its 250 entries. DeJonghe said recommendations are continuing to come in for new events and opportunities. Geotourism is being defined by the mapping partnership as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place ? its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents. ?One thing we would really like to see more of is volunteer opportunities to engage people and their interaction with the Sierra,? DeJonghe said. ?That could range from river cleanups to trail building to service projects.? Get a map The new National Geographic Sierra Nevada Geotourism maps are already available at the newly relocated Placer County Visitors Center at 1103 High St., in Downtown Auburn. Among the other locations the National Geographic lists as pickup points are the Auburn Seniors Center, Placer County Water Agency headquarters, Colfax Railroad Depot, Meadow Vista and Auburn libraries, and the Tahoe National Forest?s American River District Ranger Station in Foresthill.