The Mon Forest Towns Partnership, a collaborative between 12 gateway communities located in and near Monongahela National Forest, the USDA Forest Service, USDA Rural Development, West Virginia University and the Woodlands Development Group is about to launch its first marketing campaign. The goal of the campaign is to highlight the natural beauty of the region, the abundant recreational opportunities, and all that makes each of the Mon Forest Towns unique. The partnership needs one’s help.
The 12 communities include Cowen, Davis, Durbin, Elkins, Franklin, Marlinton, Parsons, Petersburg, Richwood, Seneca Rocks, Thomas and White Sulphur Springs.
A central piece of the marketing campaign will be the creation of an electronic guidebook that lifts up local artists, businesses, and the towns. What makes this guidebook different is that it will be created from input provided by those that live in and around the Mon Forest Towns. To lend one’s perspective and knowledge to the guidebook, please complete a short survey at https://forms.gle/dxkhtU4BFrPQswci7.
What is a person’s favorite place for a meal? What would one recommend off the menu and why? What can a person share about local shops or a business that is unique to one’s town? Is there a particular element of public art in the town that should be highlighted? These are examples of the questions that will be used to create the ultimate guidebook for the Mon Forest Towns region.
The campaign is called “Find Your Way to the Mon” and it relies primarily on photography of the landscape – both micro and macro—that exemplifies feelings of awe, wonder, and connection with nature. Does a person have photos that one would like to share and make a part of the “Find Your Way to the Mon” campaign? If so, photos can be shared by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Images may be used as a part of the digital guidebook or for print materials, such as brochures, magazine ads, or even a billboard. For these reasons, high resolution photos are preferred (as high as one can go).
In the “Find Your Way to the Mon” campaign, the iconic sign that greets visitors as they enter the Mon National Forest becomes the passport to the Mon Forest Towns experience. It’s a welcome mat and a gateway. Referencing the shapes and fonts of the sign tells viewers that they are departing their regular life and entering a place of heightened connection to nature, wonder, and culture – that is accessible and within reach.
“The Mon Forest Towns Partnership recognizes the benefit of working together to market the national forest and the towns as a region. A region that is a cherished destination for anyone longing to escape the hassle of the city or for anyone looking for epic outdoor recreation,” said Chelsea Faulknier, chair of the Mon Forest Towns marketing committee.
Because the hallmark of the “Find Your Way to the Mon” campaign is the stamped wooden sign graphic, there’s a lot of flexibility in how the campaign can uplift local artists, feature local businesses, and share what makes each town unique. Rather than an image of a landscape or scene from the forest, images featuring the work of a local artist, a product or scene from a local business, or a scene or iconic landmark from one of the Mon Forest Towns can also be used as the background of the design.
“Each of the Mon Forest Towns is rich in history, art, and culture,” said Sam Felton, mayor of the Town of Marlinton and chair of the Mon Forest Towns board of directors. “By shining the light on these aspects of our towns, we will add detail to the story of the region and the campaign.”
The Mon Forest Towns Partnership hopes that this campaign will empower area residents and partners to be ambassadors for their communities. It was designed to inspire people who already live in the region to visit and enjoy the other Mon Forest Towns and the forest itself, as well as attract visitors from outside the region. Together, everyone can create and build on the sense of pride in and uniqueness of the region for the people who live here. Please help highlight the best of your Mon Forest Town by completing the short survey at https://forms.gle/dxkhtU4BFrPQswci7.
More information is available at monforesttowns.com.