Press Releases

July 28, 2016

Redesigned Website and Mobile App Released

Bonners Ferry, ID – With its 280 mile/450 km of breathtaking scenery and vibrant communities, the International Selkirk Loop is a popular destination for vacationers and travelers. Now the ISL has just released two new tools aimed to both lure travelers to the area and ensure they find the fun activities and outdoor recreation this magnificent area has to offer. Read More

October 25, 2010

“Day Hiking” Maps Released

Bonners Ferry, ID – Three separate day hiking maps for Northern Idaho, Eastern Washington, and the East and West Kootenay Region of British Columbia have been delivered to the International Selkirk Loop’s office in Bonners Ferry. The maps identify popular and interesting local hikes appropriate for all ages in each region. As a bonus, there are also strolls to local waterfalls. All in all there are 30 spectacular day hikes and 17 waterfall strolls. “This project was made possible from a Federal Transportation Grant through the National Scenic Byway program”, says Carol Graham, executive director of the Selkirk Loop. The maps are intended to be used by front line tourism groups such as visitor centers and chamber offices who assist visitors with participating in local activities. The maps also identify all public lands campgrounds. Stop by a local visitor center to pick up copies of these maps.

September 8, 2010

Benefit Golf Tournament October 2

Crawford Bay BC – Kokanee Springs Golf Resort will be holding a benefit golf tournament Oct. 2 to benefit the Selkirk Loop Tourism Society. “This is the last day golfers will be able to play the beautiful and challenging course” says Greg Garbula, manager of the resort. There will be hole prizes and draw prizes throughout the course. Tee time will be 11 am. The course is open only to tournament registrants. Check in starting at 10:30. Preregister via the Selkirk Loop’s office by calling 888-823-2626. Costs to the general public are 18 holes and cart for $85. Selkirk Loop members can play for $69. Happy hour is at 4:30 with a benefit dinner at the Springs Restaurant at 6 pm for $30 per person. Raffle drawings for gift baskets from communities and their businesses around the Loop. Kokanee Springs Resort is also offering a Stay and Play Package for $170 based on double occupancy which includes all of the above.

January 12, 2010

The Selkirk Loop a big hit with Motorcycle Riders

Creston BC – The popularity of the International Selkirk Loop as a motorcycle destination was reinforced at the Calgary Motorcycle Show this past weekend. The Selkirk Loop attended the show as an exhibitor for the first time and was surprised by the amount of interest and positive feedback from the motorcyclists attending the show. “Other exhibitors were coming to our booth to see what all the buzz was about due to the talk around the show by attendees who had already visited the booth”, said Carol Graham, Executive Director of the International Selkirk Loop.
The International Selkirk Loop region has been a regular destination for motorcycle riders over the last several years. The attraction of the Loop has been renewed since 12 women journalists from the US and Europe did a 5 day tour of the Loop on new 2010 Harley Davidson motorcycles in September 2009. The tour sponsored by the State of Idaho has already resulted in several articles focused on motorcycling around the Loop in magazines such as Quick Throttle, a US publication and Thunder Press the magazine for Harley Davidson owners. More articles are expected to appear in the coming months.

“Excitement about the Loop as a motorcycle destination is building. Based on our research, approximately 11% of visitors to the Loop were riding motorcycles in 2008 and we expect that number to increase significantly over the next few years. The Loop’s member businesses can expect more traffic this summer because of the recent articles and our attendance at the Calgary show”, said Graham. Supported by almost 400 member businesses and 65 communities throughout the region, the International Selkirk Loop has been successful in their economic development goal of diversifying the economy of the region into tourism, through the promotion of their scenic loop drive and ‘super side trips’.

September 16, 2009

Idaho Partners with Harley-Davidson to Host Female Motorcycle Journalists on Scenic Byway Tour

BOISE, Idaho – This Friday,12 national and international female motorcycle journalists will grab the handlebars of new 2010 Harley-Davidson® models and head out to tour one of the “Top 10 Scenic Drives” in the Northern Rockies.

Organized by the Idaho Division of Tourism, the women’s ride will feature The International Selkirk Loop, one of only 27 “All American Roads” named in the National Scenic Byways Program.

The four–day, 705-mile excursion along the picturesque Selkirk Loop meanders through northern Idaho, then heads north into British Columbia, and finally crisscrosses back along the eastern edge of Washington.

The women will be riding a variety of new 2010 Harley-Davidson motorcycles courtesy of the Motor Company and will beaccompanied by Jen Gruber, Product Communications Manager from Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Gruber will be offering insights about the new models, as well as the growth of women in the sport of motorcycling throughout the trip. “I’m excited about the opportunity to tour such a unique and breathtaking part of our country alongside other female motorcyclists,” said Gruber.

Other riders on the tour will include editors from publications such as Quick Throttle, Cycle News, Motorcyclist and Bike the Best, to name just a few. All are seasoned bikers who are looking forward to exploring the route and sharing their experiences.

Genevieve Schmitt of Women Riders Now said she also is looking forward to the trip. “When it comes to motorcycling, it’s the journey that matters and all the adventures one experiences along the way.”

According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, one of the biggest shifts taking place in motorcycle riding today is the growth and impact of female riders. Since 1998, the number of women riding motorcycles has grown 36 percent, with the majority holding technical/professional jobs or college degrees.

In organizing this event, Idaho Division of Tourism partnered with Harley-Davidson Motor Company; Spokane, Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau; and hotel/restaurant partners along the International Selkirk Loop to assist in facilitating and accommodating the media ride.

“We love combining niche markets such as scenic byways, motorcycling, fall foliage and girlfriend getaways in one creative promotional effort,” said Karen Ballard, Idaho Division of Tourism Administrator. “It is so rewarding to expand the reach of our great tourism product and once again illustrate our brand, Adventures in Living with our collaborative partners, Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies and Harley Davidson.”

Those who are interested in following the group of female writers, riders along their journey on the Selkirk Loop can get updates @ twitter.com/visitidaho beginning Friday, Sept. 18.

For more information, including the full itinerary, writer bios and photos from the ride, visit www.visitidaho.org/cruisingtheloop beginning Friday, Sept. 18.

August 28, 2009

The International Selkirk Loop and Rotary Clubs join to present a new international bicycle ride

Creston, BC – Just as autumn colors are coming into their peak, bicyclists will take to the quiet byways of the renowned International Selkirk Loop for an inaugural five-day bike tour dubbed ‘The WaCanId Ride’.

The ride, slated for October 1-5 this year, traverses the states of Washington and Idaho, and the Province of British Columbia, offering bicyclists a scenic ride along lakes and rivers amid the towering Selkirk Mountain range, dotted with charming towns along the way. “This is a benefit ride, with monies raised going to participating Rotary Clubs of District 5080 in communities along the route, said Carol Graham, Executive Director of the International Selkirk Loop, “and we are excited to be a partner in this event”.

The WaCanId ride covers 550 kilometers/340 miles and riders may participate as individuals or in teams, proceeding around the Loop at their own pace. Riders may choose to begin at any one of seven starting points: Creston, Nelson, Fruitvale or Castlegar in British Columbia; or Newport, Washington; and Sandpoint or Bonners Ferry in Idaho. To top it off, cyclists’ gear will be transported by local Rotary groups during the ride, making the hassle of “what to pack” that much easier.

One rider looking forward to the WaCanId is Mel Dick, a Sandpoint, Idaho resident who has logged over 10,000 miles last year on a coast-to-coast benefit ride of his own. “I’ve ridden all over the U.S. and this is a ride I am truly looking forward to doing,” said Dick. “The ride has the potential to be one of the great all-time rides in terms of scenery and charming communities – all with an international flair.”

The International Selkirk Loop is one of the “Top 10 Scenic Destinations in the Northern Rockies” named by the U.S. Department of Transportation, one of five “Best of the Roads” named by Rand McNally 2009, and the “West’s Best Scenic Drive” by Sunset Magazine. Because the route follows river and lake valleys, the grades are gentle to moderate with only a couple of steeper climbs. The early October ride dates are generally dry with high temperatures typically in the 15o C/60o F range – which, if they hold true, offer especially pleasant biking conditions.

“This is a great shoulder season opportunity for our member businesses to support the riders with discounts on products and services”, says Graham. Riders will also receive a WaCanId Ride Pass, good for discounts at participating member businesses, plus a just-published “Cyclist’s Guide to the International Selkirk Loop,” with route maps and detailed elevation profiles for each segment of the Loop printed on all-weather paper.

Get more information at www.SelkirkLoop.org or register online at www.WaCanId.org

August 28, 2008

Washington’s Scenic Byways Receive Interpretation Award

Newport, WA – The International Selkirk Loop along with Washington’s other National and State Scenic Byways in attendance received a 2009 National Scenic Byway Award for a project that serves as a successful model for other byway organizations and corridors at the National Scenic Byway Conference in Denver, CO on Aug. 24. Only 8 such projects across the country were selected for this award.

The award for interpretation was for Revisiting Washington CD and Website. Revisiting Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State is a revisitation of the original Washington guidebook written in 1941, complete with the historic content but updated with current field notations and digital navigational tools. Revisiting Washington also includes a rich collection of images and graphics, historic audio and video selections, and a colorful scrapbook of roadside Washington.

Conceived as a Federal New Deal project during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the guides were part history, part cultural record and part travel maps. Over a period of almost a decade, thousands of writers, artists, photographers, mapmakers and professional wanderers traveled the country’s roadways in a remarkable effort to “record the landscape of the American mind.”
The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation undertook this project to help promote historic preservation and heritage tourism throughout the state by updating this classic guidebook.
“When revisiting this interactive online guidebook, it surprised me to discover all that remains as well as the unparalleled beauty and variety of Washington’s natural and historic resources that resonate along its byways” says Carol Graham, Executive Director of the International Selkirk Loop. The project and interactive CD can be viewed at www.revisitingwashington.org
Sandra Balch, Byway Leader for the Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway SR 112 National Scenic Byway will personally deliver the award plaque to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation in Seattle, WA. Sandra along with the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byway Coordinator submitted the nomination.

July 22, 2009

The International Selkirk Loop Named A Top 10 Destination.

Bonners Ferry, Idaho – The International Selkirk Loop (ISL) has been included as one of the top ten destinations in the “Northern Rockies”. This United States driven initiative,” The Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies” has been unveiled as North America’s newest destination for domestic and international travelers who seek an authentic experience with scenic beauty, wildlife and recreation that delivers a connection with the environment, a variety of cultures and North American history. “We are very excited that the ISL has been chosen to participate in what is expected to be one of the most significant destination marketing initiatives in North America for the next two years”, says Carol Graham, Executive Director of the International Selkirk Loop. “We expect that this will generate thousands of visitors to our region and particularly to our member businesses around the Loop”.

The Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies spans five U.S. states (i.e., Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon) and two Canadian provinces (i.e., British Columbia and Alberta) and is composed of four All-American Road, National Scenic Byways; 10 National/Provincial Parks and Recreation Areas; and four connecting National Historic Trails:

  1. International Selkirk Loop All-American Road (WA, ID & B.C.)
  2. Hot Springs Circle Tour (B.C.)
  3. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Loop (MT, ALB & B.C.)
  4. Montana Scenic Loop (MT)
  5. Northwest Passage All-American Road (ID)
  6. Hells Canyon All-American Road and National Recreation Area (OR & ID)
  7. Salmon-Sawtooth Scenic Byways (ID)
  8. Yellowstone-Grand Teton National Parks Grand Loop (WY, MT & ID)
  9. Beartooth Highway All-American Road (MT & WY)
  10. Circle the Continental Divide Driving Tour (WY)

National Historic Trails:

  1. David Thompson Historic Route (B.C., MT, ID & WA)
  2. Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail (WA, ID & MT)
  3. Nez Perce National Historic Trail (OR, ID, MT & WY)
  4. Oregon Trail (OR, ID & WY)

Whether travelers fly in to several nearby airports and rent vehicles or drive their own cars, RVs or motorcycles, The Top 10 Scenic Drives offer breathtaking scenery, up-close-and-personal wildlife and the quintessential All-American experience for both domestic and international visitors. This destination provides an ideal setting for reconnection with family and friends, in addition to the opportunity to strengthen life balance and re-evaluate life’s priorities – providing an overall transcendent experience.

This new destination offers nearly every outdoor activity a traveler could image, from hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing and hunting to skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, horseback riding, golfing and birdwatching – to name a few. Visitors will also enjoy the access to many dining options, artisans and wineries, as well as cultural and historical centers.

The Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies ultimately provides a unique combination of vacation for pleasure with an educational experience that creates memories to last a lifetime. To ensure that its pure and natural state is preserved for many generations to come, this destination supports the principles of green travel and offers opportunities for visitors to volunteer in its communities, so that travelers leave each “stop” on The Top 10 Scenic Drives an even better place than they found it. For more information on sustainable travel, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable.

About The Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies

The Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies was originally created in 2005 after the International Selkirk Loop and Northwest Passage Scenic Byway joined the Beartooth Highway and Hells Canyon Scenic Byway in achieving All-American Road (AAR) designation – the highest designation in the U.S. National Scenic Byway system. The destination is built upon its four AARs; 10 National Parks and Recreation Areas; and four connecting National Historic Trails and includes more than 100 key partners, including State, Provincial, Regional, Local and Tribal organizations, as well as State and Federal Agencies and private businesses, organizations and individuals. For more information about The Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies, please visit the Web site at www.drivethetop10.com.

April 16, 2009

The International Selkirk Loop receives significant new funding.

Creston, British Columbia – The International Selkirk Loop (ISL) has received $120,000 in new funding from Western Economic Diversification under the Community Economic Diversification Initiative (CEDI), a component of the federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program. “This new funding will be used to further develop and enhance tourism within the communities around the Loop in order to help diversify their economies, which is the purpose of the Loop”, said Carol Graham, Executive Director of the ISL. The project activities will include market research, new route signage on three of the ‘Super Side Trips’, development of a niche market related to cycling and some web enhancements”.

“We are very pleased to receive this funding for several new marketing related projects,” stated John Reed, President of the International Selkirk Loop board of directors. “This will add to the benefits of the Loop to our member businesses and assist the organization in becoming more self sustainable.”

The International Selkirk Loop was formed in 1998 as a non-profit corporation in the US and as a non-profit Society in Canada in 2001. Recognized as a model of cross-border cooperation between two states and two countries, the Loop is governed by one board of directors comprised of small business owners from Washington, Idaho and British Columbia. The primary purpose of the Loop is to diversify and enhance the local economy through the promotion of tourism along its route, with a view toward stabilizing the economies of small communities who have lost their resource based industries.

Since its inception, the Loop has drawn the attention of nearly 400 business owners that now make up its growing membership, as well as the media, with numerous articles in many publications including Sunset magazine, Northwest Travel, Acura Magazine, Rand McNally Road Atlas – selected 2009 “Best of the Road” (US & Canadian editions), Highways Magazine, Express Jet’s inflight Magazine, and MotorHome Magazine, not to mention the many thousands of travelers each year. The Loop annually produces regional travel guides and highway maps distributed throughout the US and Canada. For more information on The International Selkirk Loop, please visit: www.selkirkloop.org

May 2, 2008

Regional Collaboration Launches New Birding Tourism Experience

Bonners Ferry, Idaho – A collaborative partnership of area tourism industry organizations, nationally and internationally recognized birding and wildlife centres, tourism operators and regional funding groups, have just recently launched a new birding circle tour experience, ready to hit the market this summer.

Branded the Two Nation Birding Vacation, this self-drive vacation tour follows along the award-winning International Selkirk Loop, and explores over 20 spectacular bird watching areas within the great Pacific Flyway, including a Ramsar site and nationally designated wildlife refuges. The official tour begins in Creston, touring much of the south Kootenay Rockies region, then heads south into north Idaho and northeast Washington, before finishing back in Creston.

“It started as a small community tourism opportunity identified, and turned into an international eco-tourism experience,” exclaimed Alan Burt, owner and operator of Kristina Creek B&B in Yahk, and project team member. “Early on it was evident there was a huge eco-tourism and birding market out there, especially in the UK, and we knew our area had the experiences to meet that demand.”

As a result, groups such as the Tourism Action Society in the Kootenays, the International Selkirk Loop, the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area and the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, came together to bring the opportunity into reality. With initial funding support from the Regional District of Central Kootenay, under the UBCM – Community Tourism Program Grant, and the Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Development Program, the Two Nation Birding Vacation was born.

Thanks to the project funders the Two Nation Birding Vacation has developed a tour booklet, tour map, bird species checklist and a website to help residents and visitors explore birding around the region.

Visit www.twonationbirdingvacation.com for more information, and to download a copy of the tour map and booklet.

April 21, 2008

TWO NATION BIRDING VACATION LAUNCHED

A new ecotourism tour by the International Selkirk Loop

The International Selkirk Loop, one of America’s Byways, has launched a new ecotourism project, the Two-Nation Birding Vacation Tour. The tour includes three National Wildlife Refuges and over twenty four key birding sites in Canada and the US, home to over 250 species of birds. The tour, designed to attract birders from across the US, Canada and Europe, includes a just published 32-page pocket sized Birding Booklet complete with a bird list including when, where and frequency of occurrence and route map. The Booklet encourages the visitor to plan a two week visit in order to fully appreciate the region by exploring the variety of amenities that the International Selkirk Loop has to offer. An accompanying website also includes a list of bird species, a downloadable interactive map, and where and when to see them. Visit www.twonationbirdingvacation.com for more information.

The Birding Booklet was originally designed to be a give away piece at the “Worlds Largest Birding Fair” in the UK later this summer. “The group has again applied for booth space this year when we failed to get in last year, with the hopes of breaking into this very prestigious event”, says Carol Graham. Never the less, there are plans to direct mail close to 1,000 booklets to birding clubs in the UK, Canada and the US as well as follow up placement of strategic advertisements in key Birding Magazines.

This booklet and the UK initiative has been a cooperative project between the International Selkirk Loop and Tourism Action Society of the Kootenays (TASK), in cooperation with the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Columbia Basin Trust, Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, and Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge.

The International Selkirk Loop is a 280-mile scenic route through Northern Idaho, Southeastern British Columbia, and Northeastern Washington, and has recently been selected as one of only five “Best of the Roads” in North America by Rand McNally Road Atlas. For more information on the International Selkirk Loop, visit www.selkirkloop.org

September 20, 2008

International Selkirk Loop reaches millions of travelers

Nelson BC – The International Selkirk Loop held its 9th Annual General Meeting at the Prestige Lakeside Resort in Nelson. Carol Graham, Executive Director for the organization presented highlights and accomplishments achieved during the past year. One of the key highlights was the media exposure the Loop received during the last 12 months. More than 10 articles and stories about the Loop reached an estimated 5 to 7 million readers in publications such as AAA tour books, Rand McNally’s 2009 Road Atlas, Good Sam Club’s Highways Magazine, Express Jet’s Inflight Magazine “ExpressLane”. “This type of exposure would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in equivalent advertising and is definitely more effective”, said Graham. The entire annual report can be found online at www.selkirkloop.org in the Media Section.

Two awards for service were given out to people who were considered to have volunteered their time and energy over and above any expectations. Janet Ebert of Crawford Bay, BC who resigned from the Board of Directors last year was recognized for her services over a period of six years. Michael Rowland of Kootenay Bay, BC was given an award for his contributions over five years as Board President, Canadian Vice President and Canadian Operations Director. In accepting the award Rowland says, “I have very much enjoyed the time that I have been involved with the Loop. I am stepping down from the Board because I am running in the elections for the RDCK, Regional Director for Area A and want the time to focus on the job should I be elected.”

Four new people were elected to the Board of Directors for the International Selkirk Loop; Jeanne Law, Artistic Director of the Cutter Theatre in Metaline Falls, WA., Chris Evers, Co-owner of Eagles Landing RV Resort Community in Cusick, WA, Donna Cormie, Owner of Between Two Rivers Vacation Rental and Glacier Soapworks in Kaslo, BC, Robin Goldsbury, Owner of Dock ‘n’ Duck Tavern & Grill in Balfour, BC. There are five returning Board members: John Reed of Redstone Golf Resort in Rossland BC, Panny Taylor of Coldwell Banker Real Estate in Nelson BC, Carolyn Deshler of Blue Diamond Marina at Priest Lake ID, Lisa Gerber of Big Leap Creative in Sandpoint ID, John Linch in Priest Lake ID, Dean Cummings the Pend Oreille County Commissioner in Newport WA, and David Bull in Colville WA.

Media Contact: Carol Graham, Executive Director
The International Selkirk Loop
208-267-0822
info@selkirkloop.org

April 23, 2007

INTERNATIONAL SELKIRK LOOP BRINGS OVER $1 MILLION TO THE REGION IN 2006

The International Selkirk Loop has completed the final phase of a tourism study developed to learn more about the visitors traveling the Loop and to measure the effectiveness of the organization’s marketing efforts. Key data has revealed the economic impact the Loop brings to the region to be $1.15 million dollars for the 2006 season and a return on investment of $22 to $44 per dollar spent on advertising.

“We are very pleased with the results of the study and have identified key opportunities for growth,” explained Selkirk Loop executive director Carol Graham, “this type of research is invaluable in determining how our past marketing efforts are measuring up, and now we can use this information to develop a strong marketing strategy for future efforts.”
According to Graham, the economic impact number is a very conservative one because it accounts for only the people that received Loop information after January 2006 and traveled in the 2006 season. “It is not possible to know every traveler that drives the loop, therefore, an accurate number is not available. While we know we can back up the fact that travelers spent $1.15 million dollars in the region last season, I can pretty safely say that number is, in reality, significantly higher.”
Additional key findings from the study show that the Selkirk Loop leveraged their $9,000 in media advertising to gain a value of anywhere from $186,000 (conservatively) to $376,000 (optimistically) in media exposure. The result is a return of $22 to $44 on every $1 spent on advertising on behalf of the member businesses.
The majority (83%) of visitors said the Selkirk Loop Traveler’s Guide influenced their decision to come. Baby boomers, who are now retiring, traveling, and are more affluent than ever, are the primary visitors to the Loop. Couples without kids or empty nesters are traveling from Idaho, Washington, California, Alberta and British Columbia. Their primary purpose for the trip is for sightseeing and relaxation, and the most popular destinations include Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry, the Kootenay Lake Free Ferry, Nelson and Creston. On average, visitors reported that they spent about $460/day on lodging, meals, entertainment and shopping.

A complete set of results is available to the public at www.selkirkloop.org in the media section.

The Loop is a scenic drive that circles around the Selkirk Mountains through Northern Idaho, Northeastern Washington and southeastern British Columbia. It was founded in 1999 to enhance economic development in the rural communities it passes through. Only six years later, in 2005, the Loop received the All American Road Designation making it one of the top scenic drives in North America.

A draft marketing strategy has been developed to capitalize on the data which includes an advertising and public relations plan, an internet and website plan with a virtual tour using cutting edge technology as well as new concepts such as niche markets (i.e. “trails” for birding).

Once adopted, the plan will be implemented by a set of five specialized project committees. Members interested in participating are encouraged to get in touch with Carol Graham.