Attracting tourists to Mariposa County without Yosemite

Business owners in Mariposa County have been through a lot in recent years, from the Ferguson rockslide that closed Highway 140 to the hantavirus and the rim fire in Yosemite.
October 9, 2013 10:17:49 PM PDT
Business owners in Mariposa County have been through a lot in recent years, from the Ferguson rockslide that closed Highway 140 to the Hantavirus and the rim fire in Yosemite. But they've survived those challenges, and they're determined to survive the closure of the National Park as well.

Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch in Mariposa may be quiet now... But will soon be packed with nearly one hundred Google employees from the Bay area.

"We've got in fact tomorrow, got 47 from Google and the following day a group of 50," Bryan Imrie said.

Reaching out to corporations is just one way the small family business is trying to make up for the international and out of state tourists who have cancelled their plans because of Yosemite's closure. They've also reduced prices and increased marketing efforts in the Central Valley.

"We're creating opportunities that once the park opens they'll still be there and people will have actually looked at Mariposa a little more as a destination. We say Yosemite is the icing on the cake, but we're still a good dish you want to come and try," Victoria Imrie said.

The local tourism bureau is busy promoting Mariposa County through social media -- and has even created a web page filled with "government shutdown specials." It includes offers such as 10 percent off all wine at Casco oaks, 10 percent of purchases at Yosemite gifts, and no sales tax at Chocolate Soup and Miriam and Company.

"I'm offering a tax free purchase on everything. As you walk in the door, that's what you're going to get plus a lot of chocolate maybe. I really love to give chocolate to people," Miriam Costello said.

Costello said she's still getting a lot of customers who end up in Mariposa because they can't go into the park, and her goal is to keep them coming back to the unique and resilient community.

"We have to learn to just go with it and not be frightened by what happens, but put your best foot forward and grow and grow and help one another," Costello said.

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