WE seem to recall Mike McFarlane Whatcom County Parks claimed that tourism was way up too, with park visits (uses) way over a million per year.
One of the main reasons WE found this interesting, is that 1st term County councilman Rud Browne and others keep pushing the theme that this county should become a “recreation destination”. You've heard all the hyperbole, “world class parks,” however ridiculous, whatever the expense. WE wonder, is there any reason to believe that their fantasy represents the actual will of the people? WE've lived here for a long time. Dear reader, do you know many people who would say that recreation is the county’s #1 industry (industry?), or that it should be? Sure, the ski area people want the ski area to keep being what it is. We have “summer people,” and there are a few (very few) restaurants that sell a few tourist trinkets (mugs, shirts, etc.) But how many people honestly think this whole county could (or should) “sustain” itself on tourism? Was there a vote?
We have hordes of Canadians shopping down here. What percentage of our total sales tax revenue does that represent? What about sales revenue? Even so, farming is still huge in the north county (berries & milk). If traffic (trade) follows the Canadian dollar, God help us all. How dependent are we on that, pray tell?
Lacking a Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or Disney World (do they want to build one?), what is going to bring in people from far and wide? Mt. Baker is a fine regional ski area for locals who like to ski without the expense of traveling all the way to Whistler, Sun Valley, or Switzerland. But to make Mt. Baker a world class ski area would take massive development (development!) by capitalists and other "environmental rapists". Ditto for world class biking (mtn. biking isn't exactly an enviro-friendly proposition, and neither is hiking or horsey riding, from what WE've heard from most conservationists).
So are these people hypocrites, dreamers, or tyrants, who want to force the citizens of Whatcom County to implement their personal dreams and asspirations with our tax dollars? We already have a mechanism for that. It's called free market capitalism, and it requires smaller government, fewer, reasonable and consistent regulations, and objective environmental science. Yeah, WE said it! Badap!
We already have people lined up to develop other things that would bring prosperity (maybe not tourism) to the area. And we already know what those things are. What's so great about tourism? People tromping through our natural habitat? Can you have successful tourism when we control every aspect of where and what the tourists can go and do?