Geotourism Initiatives

Geotourism, a term popularized by National Geographic, refers to tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the wellbeing of its residents. Geotourism incorporates sustainable tourism and the conservation of place, culture and history.

In 2008, Travel Oregon and Washington embraced the concept of geotourism through the Central Cascades Geotourism Initiative. Since the launch of the initiative website and map guide, Travel Oregon has signed on to the National Geotourism Council along with eight other regions in the U.S. Travel Oregon hopes the geotourism initiative will encourage travel to lesser-known destinations and bring attention to America’s greatest places that lie off the beaten path.

Central Cascades Region
The citizens of the Central Cascades are intimately connected to the land. Farmers and ranchers rely on the soil to nurture their crops and livestock, and urbanites enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, hiking and biking. Accordingly, Central Cascades residents have been trailblazers in land conservation and sustainable tourism.

Hundreds of Oregon and Washington residents recommended their favorite sustainable tourism spots to help create the Central Cascades Geotourism Map Guide. Several resonant themes about the region emerged, including cultural and geological history, recreation and natural bounty. We asked a handful of citizens to speak to these defining themes, and have included their responses here. We hope they will help you gain a greater familiarity with the heart and soul of this diverse and beautiful region.

Learn more about the Central Cascades Geotourism Initiative at