CRAFT Case Study: Canyons & Plains Regional Heritage Task Force

Canyons & Plains Regional Heritage Task Force, in the Canyons & Plains travel region, was awarded a Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) Recovery Mentor program by the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) in fall 2020 to advance recovery efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this CRAFT Recovery Mentor program was to engage with Canyons & Plains regional tourism stakeholders to develop a content marketing plan to collaboratively promote and celebrate the bicentennial of the Santa Fe Trail in 2021.

Canyons & Plains Regional Heritage Task Force is a heritage tourism development organization located in Southeast Colorado, representing seven counties—Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Las Animas, Otero, and Prowers. The non-profit group promotes visitation to and stewardship of the unique historical, natural, and cultural assets of Southeast Colorado among resident, state, national, and international audiences.

CRAFT Recovery Mentor Program Results

Canyons & Plains was paired with Dave Santucci, a CRAFT Mentor with experience in rural tourism marketing, destination marketing, stakeholder engagement and tourism product development to achieve the following outcomes: 

  • Collaborative development of an editorial calendar, summarized in Canyons and Plains Deliverables Document and detailed in a Trello Board, covering twelve months of story headlines and descriptions based on Canyons & Plains partner input.
  • Development of content parameters that provide guidance on story length, social media content, and email marketing.
  • Collaborative development of a press release and targeted media distribution list for announcing the bicentennial commemoration.
  • Development of a distribution plan, for the editorial calendar, including a tiered approach to budgeting from minimal budget to a more robustly budgeted approach.

"We are very grateful to the Colorado Tourism Office's CRAFT Recovery Mentor program providing us with the opportunity to work with Dave Santucci to develop a campaign to bring attention to the Bicentennial Commemoration of the Santa Fe Trail here in the Canyons & Plains Region during 2021.  The history of the trail runs deep in southeast Colorado as the Santa Fe National Historic Trail courses for 180 miles from east of Holly to south of Trinidad. Working with Dave we developed stories to help spread the word about the trail's history and encourage visitors to come to our area to see historic sites and walk in trail ruts to connect to the past. Our very first post generated nearly 15,000 engagements as we build up to the Bicentennial Santa Fe Trail Symposium hosted in our region in September of this year. We now have a roadmap to continue that engagement as the pandemic comes under control and folks are ready to get out and explore the wide open spaces crossed by the historic Santa Fe Trail." -Rick Wallner, Board President, Canyons & Plains 



About CRAFT Recovery Mentor

The CRAFT Recovery Mentor program provides up to 50 hours of mentoring for Colorado tourism partners to advance one or more tourism strategies that bolsters their response to a recent crisis or natural disaster. 


Rick Wallner,
Board President