CRAFT Case Study: Poudre Heritage Alliance, Denver & Cities of the Rockies

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), the coordinating entity of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA), in the Denver & Cities of the Rockies 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 assist the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) to build stronger awareness of the Cache La Poudre National Heritage Area (CALA) with industry partners and create a roadmap for diversifying revenue opportunities by developing new tour product(s) in partnership with local operators. The work also included interfacing with the two other National Heritage Areas in Colorado, South Park and Sangre de Cristo, to build brand awareness and capitalize on a recent National Park Foundation grant for collaborative marketing of the Colorado Heritage Journey project.

As a result of this project, the Poudre Heritage Alliance is better positioned to build its reputation as an outdoor recreation destination and respond to the new traveler preferences that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Poudre Heritage Alliance is also in a stronger position to develop a strategy for integrating its tour product(s) into the international travel trade industry in the future. 

CRAFT Mentor Program Results

The Poudre Heritage Alliance was paired with Barb Bowman, a CRAFT Mentor with experience in destination sales, marketing, and management.  

  • Development and prioritization of a list of tourism opportunities to further build brand awareness for CALA. 
  • Outreach to Visit Fort Collins and Visit Greeley and Estes Park to identify their awareness of CALA and recommendations for future promotion. 
  • Convening stakeholders from all three National Heritage Areas (NHA) and a representative of the Rocky Mountain Guide Association to discuss the development of collaborative revenue generation from tour products.
  • Development of a project plan and scope of work for the National Park Foundation grant that PHA was awarded for the Colorado Heritage Journey project. The plan focuses on building a strong partnership among the three Colorado NHAs in order to develop broader brand awareness.
  • Convening international tour operators such as Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours and domestic tour operators such as Leisure West to promote the inclusion of CALA in future tours. 

“Working with our CRAFT Recovery Mentor, Barb Bowman, to support our Colorado Heritage Journey project and overall tourism development gave us the organizational confidence and industry competence to build our brand awareness and offer interpretive guiding services to visitors. Barb was understanding of our tourism development challenges as a small, fast-paced non-profit and offered thoughtful solutions. She successfully supported our goals while helping us to envision and build a roadmap to a bright future in tourism and emerging into the travel trade. Barb’s industry wisdom, catalyst attitude, and advocacy for heritage tourism will be missed, but the impact she made at the Poudre Heritage Alliance will never be forgotten." -Linden Pearshall, Poudre Heritage Alliance


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.


Kathleen Benedict,
Poudre Heritage Alliance