John Muir Geotourism Center by jolinmilioncherie

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									   John Muir Geotourism
  International Business Plan

 Sean Brownlee, Michael Cutino,
Brooke Greco, Katja Palm Løvslett,
Bradford Williams, Natasha Wright

Table of Contents
   Executive Summary ........................................................................................................................... 4
1.0 - Segment 1 ........................................................................................................................... 6
   1.1.0 - Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 6
     1.1.1 - Geotourism and Interpretive Centers ......................................................................................7
     1.1.2 - John Muir .......................................................................................................................................... 10
     1.1.3 - John Muir Trail ............................................................................................................................... 11
     1.1.4 - Coulterville ....................................................................................................................................... 12
     1.1.5 - Statement of Qualifications ....................................................................................................... 13
2.0 - Segment 2 ........................................................................................................................ 16
   2.1.0 - Political, Economic and Ecological Climate ............................................................... 16
     2.1.1 - Political Climate ............................................................................................................................. 16
     2.1.2 - Economic Climate .......................................................................................................................... 18
     2.1.3 - Ecological Climate ......................................................................................................................... 21
   2.2.0 - Tourism Trends and Forecasting Methods ............................................................... 22
     2.2.1 - Visitation Rates .............................................................................................................................. 23
     2.2.2 - International Visitor Demographics ...................................................................................... 27
     2.2.3 – International and Domestic Visitor Spending .................................................................. 30
3.0 - Segment 3 ........................................................................................................................ 34
   3.1.0 - Establishing the John Muir Geotourism Center ....................................................... 34
   3.2 - Recommendation for Property Acquisition ................................................................. 45
   3.3.0 - Financial Analysis............................................................................................................... 47
     3.3.1 - Capital Budget................................................................................................................................. 47
     3.3.2 - Pro Forma Cash Budget .............................................................................................................. 48
     3.3.3 - History Museum Analysis .......................................................................................................... 51
     3.3.4 - Visitor Center Analysis ................................................................................................................ 57
     3.3.5 - Train Property Analysis .............................................................................................................. 63
     3.3.6 – Forecast ............................................................................................................................................ 69
   3.4.0 - Product Assessment and Market Viability ................................................................ 74
     3.4.1 - Target Markets ............................................................................................................................... 74
     3.4.2 - Value Proposition .......................................................................................................................... 76
     3.4.3 - Branding............................................................................................................................................ 77
     3.4.4 - Social Networking ......................................................................................................................... 82
   3.5.0 - Competitive Analysis ......................................................................................................... 89
     3.5.1 - Marketing Strategy ....................................................................................................................... 95
4.0 - Segment 4 ...................................................................................................................... 110
   4.1.0 - Human Capital and Organizational Structure ........................................................ 110
   4.2.0 - Partnership Analysis ....................................................................................................... 115
     4.2.1 - Core Competencies Assessment of Stakeholders .......................................................... 119
     4.2.2 - Partnership and Stakeholder Recommendation ........................................................... 121
     4.2.3 - Partnership Agreement ........................................................................................................... 122
5.0 - Segment 5 ...................................................................................................................... 124

   5.1.0 - Methods and Limitations ............................................................................................... 124
     5.1.1 Availability of Data ....................................................................................................................... 124
     5.1.2 Budget Expectations .................................................................................................................... 124
     5.1.3 Marketing Assessment ................................................................................................................ 124
     5.1.4 Partnership ...................................................................................................................................... 125
   5.2 - Final Recommendations .................................................................................................... 126
Appendices ............................................................................................................................. 129
   Appendix 1 ....................................................................................................................................... 129
   Appendix 2 ....................................................................................................................................... 134
   Appendix 3 ....................................................................................................................................... 139
   Appendix 4 ....................................................................................................................................... 143
   Appendix 5 ....................................................................................................................................... 150
   Appendix 6 ....................................................................................................................................... 153
   Appendix 7 ....................................................................................................................................... 154
   Appendix 8 ....................................................................................................................................... 155
   Appendix 9 ....................................................................................................................................... 157
   Appendix 10..................................................................................................................................... 159
   Appendix 11..................................................................................................................................... 162
   Appendix 12..................................................................................................................................... 163
   Appendix 13..................................................................................................................................... 165
   Appendix 14..................................................................................................................................... 166
   Appendix 15..................................................................................................................................... 168
   Appendix 16..................................................................................................................................... 169
   Appendix 17..................................................................................................................................... 172
Works Cited ........................................................................................................................... 174

Executive Summary
        John Muir‘s Historic Route, a path that traces the physical steps John Muir took
during his walk of nearly 300 miles from San Francisco to Yosemite in the spring of
1868, passes through the now historic and often overlooked gold rush town of
Coulterville, California. John Muir‘s legacy as an environmentalist, his route to
Yosemite, the town of Coulterville, and the natural wonder of the surrounding area
provide the inspiration for the John Muir Geotourism Center business plan.
        The Graf-Pulvino Charitable Fund, the Sierra Business Council, and the Sierra
Foothill Conservancy commissioned this study to determine the feasibility and long-term
financial implications of creating a geotourism destination for tourists in the town of
Coulterville. The John Muir Geotourism Center is intended to support and promote the
legacy of John Muir, increase visitation to the community, and generate additional
economic activity in the region.
        The idea of geotourism, first coined in 2002, can be seen as a combination of
ecotourism and sustainable tourism, an idea of traveling to immaculate, untouched areas
in nature while maintaining respect, responsibility and having a low impact on the
environment. Geotourism focuses on the uniqueness of an area, works to sustain the
environment, and aims to educate and motivate the everyday outdoor enthusiast.
        Since our involvement in the John Muir Geotourism Center project, we have
conducted multiple interviews and have received first hand opinions on the value and
potential of the geotourism movement, the future trends of tourism in Mariposa County,
and the support behind the Geotourism Center Project. Our team has researched tourism
trends and financial data from the past twenty years in order to strategize and forecast our
pricing and marketing strategy.
        Our research and analysis have influenced our business strategies and
recommendations in the following report. The main focus of our studies includes:

      Political, economic and ecological assessment to determine the business climate
       of the region. Our findings concluded:
           o Current weak economic conditions encourage more domestic travelers to
               visit national parks in an effort to reduce vacation expenses.
           o County and local policies, organizational relationships, and local
               community support create a favorable business climate for the
               development of the Geotourism Center.
      International and domestic tourism trends were used to forecast future visitation
       rates and potential revenue for the Geotourism Center. Our findings concluded:
           o 25% of visitors to Yosemite are international travelers and the primary
               groups we will focus on are: UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Canada,
               Australia and Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark).
           o Improving visitor data for Coulterville to include on-site digital visitor
               records and annual visitation forecast reports will allow for efficient
               management of the Geotourism Center.

      Various logistical considerations including a property needs and location
       assessment, financial analysis of start-up costs, and pro forma activity to
       understand the financial sustainability of the center. Our findings concluded:
           o The Geotourism Center is best suited to be located at adjacent to the
               History Museum.
           o At a moderate visitation growth rate of 3.5%, the total initial costs are
               estimated to be $35,940 and the cash budget total expenses are estimated
               to be $22,820, for a total start-up cost of $58,760 in year one. Net surplus
               in year two is estimated to be $6,374.
      Product assessment study to determine an effective geotourism and John Muir
       branding. Our findings concluded:
           o The John Muir Geotourism Center brand must express admiration for the
               environment and promote nature conservation. John Muir‘s values and
               respect for nature will show through in the activities and message the John
               Muir Geotourism Center promotes.
      Market viability study to determine how to attract the international and domestic
       target markets through a specific marketing strategy. Our findings concluded:
           o The John Muir Geotourism Center should advertise to a specific segment
               of international and domestic tourists, promoting outdoor activities
               associated with Mariposa County and Yosemite along with conservation
               and sustainability of the environment. This should be done in cooperation
               with the Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau.

         Our studies have concluded the John Muir Geotourism Center must be conscious
of the limitations evident in Coulterville such as limited infrastructure, road restrictions
for bus travel, and limited overnight accommodations. Yosemite and nearby
communities offer similar expeditions and activities to the Geotourism Center. This
provides an opportunity for the John Muir Geotourism Center to complement such
programs with an off the beaten path experience. The creation of the John Muir
Geotourism Center will add value that is focused on making Coulterville stand out
amongst surrounding towns in the Yosemite area. Our target market includes both
international and domestic travelers, from avid hikers to novice adventure seekers, and
those who value sustainable traveling and environmental conservation. We are confident
the John Muir Geotourism Center will complement the culture and natural beauty of
Coulterville and its surrounding region.

1.0 - Segment 1
1.1.0 - Introduction
          Ken and Teri Pulvino, the Sierra Business Council, and the Sierra Foothill Conservancy
have teamed together to create a John Muir Geotourism Center in Coulterville, CA that will
attract both national and international tourists. In order to create a successful international
business plan for this venture, our first step has been to research the various aspects of the
proposal in order to create a foundational understanding. These include the definition of
geotourism, examples of other geotourism destinations and locations, the history of John Muir
and the John Muir Trail, information about Coulterville, and background on all three partners;
Ken and Teri Pulvino, the Sierra Business Council, the Sierra Foothill Conservancy. Below is a
map of where Coulterville is seated in Mariposa County, California1.

    Map retrieved from

1.1.1 - Geotourism and Interpretive Centers
        Geotourism is a relatively new term coined originally in 1997, but it did not reach the
public lexicon until the early 2000s (Höckert, 2010 and ―Geotourism and Sustainable Travel‖,
2011). The generally agreed upon definition of geotourism is ―tourism that sustains or enhances
the geographic character of a place‖ (―Geotourism Charter‖, 2011). Geographic character,
however, is not as simple as it seems and encompasses numerous aspects of the destination
including its environment, culture, heritage, aesthetics, and the well being of its residents.
Geotourism is slightly different from sustainable tourism and ecotourism in that it borrows
tenants of each and combines them in a single all-encompassing approach. From sustainable
tourism, it incorporates the principle of keeping the destination unspoiled for future generations
and goes further by adopting, from ecotourism, the notion that revenues should be directed
toward active conservation efforts. It is designed to bring together all elements of a place‘s
distinctive assets by engaging across stakeholder groups, creating knowledge exchange between
hosts and visitors, and ultimately increasing economic activity and supporting the overall
integrity of the destination.
        The tourists that travel to geotourism destinations are referred to as geotourists or
geotravelers. Geotravelers are a unique and growing numbers of tourists that prefers to patronize
locally owned businesses and seek out authentic cultural and natural experiences during trips
while avoiding large resorts, standardized communities, chain restaurants, and common
branding. Geotravelers visit destinations not merely to pay for and have these types of
encounters, but also to know that their financial support helps preserve the local historical
structures, customs, cuisine, artisan, and natural environment. According to a breakthrough
geotourism study conducted by the Travel Industry of America in 2003, geotravelers tend to
vacation frequently and are well educated, environmentally and socially conscious, and typically
affluent (Cook et al., 2003). The study placed geotravelers into three primary market segments:
geo-savvies, urban sophisticates, and good citizens. Together, the three groups encompass more
than one third of adult travelers in the United States. Their particular characteristics are outlined
in Table 1.

Table 1 – Overview of Geotraveler Categories

       Category                     Description

                                  One in four below 35
                                  Adventurous flair
                                  Half live in large cities
     Geo-savvies                  Affluent but most not at peak earning potential
                                  Seeking educational experiences
                                  Willing to pay more to preserve a destination‘s
                                  Highly educated and most likely to hold executive or
                                   managerial occupations
                                  Two of three prefer high-quality facilities and fine
 Urban Sophisticates              Affinity for cultural and arts events and ―charming‖
                                  Most willing to pay more for cultural and historical

                                  Older, well educated, affluent but less extravagant
                                  Cultural and environmental awareness in everyday
                                  Most likely to donate to historical, cultural and
    Good Citizens                  educational organizations
                                  Support regulation over and limited access to natural
                                   and historic areas

       Interpretive centers are the gateways for geotravelers to engage their destination by
providing information on the experiences they seek and offering the resources necessary to take
full advantage of their journey. ‗Interpretive center‘ is a generic term but describes any location
involved in the dissemination of knowledge related to natural and cultural heritage (i.e. parks,
zoos, museums, nature centers, aquaria, gardens and historical sites) (National Association of
Interpretation, 2011). Numerous public and private entities manage interpretive centers
including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forestry Service,
city associations, fish and game organizations, and non-profits and foundations, among others.
Most interpretive centers subsist on a model that relies on the financial support of not only
visitors, but also partnering organizations and philanthropic contributions to remain in operation.

Therefore, the greatest challenge for interpretive centers is to remain financially viable through
revenue generating activities in order to end the cycle of dependence on outside contributions.
       Below are two examples of other geotourism movements in the United States, the
first is in the American Southwest and the second is in Vermont. Both projects provide a
good example of how geotourism can offer a unique way to experience the natural beauty
and historical significance of an area.
Table 2: Geotourism Centers
  Geotourism             Description          Highlights               Relevance           Website

                                              Unlike any other         Coulterville may
                                              mapping project, a       also benefit from
                         Collaborative        favorite local           a similar
                         partnership          restaurant, farm,        geotourism
                         launched in July     winery, hiking or        strategy of         www.
   Four Corners          2010. Geotourism     biking trail,            targeting a         fourcorners
  Region, American       forums: people       swimming hole,           variety of          geotourism
     Southwest           can nominate         museum or artist         growing travel      .com/
                         historical events,   gallery are samples      niches. A           index.php
                         traditions,          of the type of           participatory
                         distinctive          nominations National     mapping project
                         businesses, and      Geographic and its       in the area
                         natural sites.       project partners will    surrounding the
                         (Thomas, 2010)       be seeking. The web      John Muir
                                              site will target a       Geotourism
                                              variety of growing       Center would be
                                              travel niches—           beneficial in
                                              adventure and nature     highlighting
                                              tourism, cultural        what the area has
                                              heritage travel and      to offer for both
                                              agritourism—and          domestic and
                                              allow for residents to   international
                                              select the one-of-a-     tourists.
                                              kind places integral
                                              to a distinctive
                                              character of place.

                                                                          The John Muir
                                                                          Center and the
                           Geotourism            The unique Northern      land of the Bean
                           MapGuide project      Kingdom website          Creek Preserve
                           in collaboration      contains Geotourism      may benefit from
                           with CSD and          Offerings as well as     a similar strategy
                           NG Maps. Over         Geotourism               to the Northern
                           150 site              Packages. "In            Kingdom in            www.
            Northern       nominations for       Vermont‘s Northeast      Vermont.              travelthe
            Kingdom,       the map have          Kingdom we create        Offering    
            Vermont        been collected,       vacation experiences     "Geotourism           /geotourism.php
                           highlighting          that allow visitors to   Experience
                           cultural, natural,    share that which we      Vacation
                           and historic          value most about our     Packages" in the
                           attractions.          home in such a way       Coulterville area
                           (Northeast            as to preserve and       may be very
                           Kingdom Travel        protect the region for   useful in
                           and Tourism           generations to           attracting
                           Association, ND)      come."                   tourists.

1.1.2 - John Muir
         John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland on April 21st, 1838. He grew up on a farm under
a strict father, spending most of his days wandering the woods and fields of the family‘s
property. After going to college at the University of Wisconsin, John traveled throughout the
northern United States and Canada. He did odd jobs to get by and during one of those jobs at a
metal shop in Indiana he suffered an eye injury that changed his life. After recovering, he
decided to change the direction of his life and dedicate it to getting to know nature and the
wilderness better. He began with a thousand mile journey from Indianapolis to the Gulf of
Mexico. From there he traveled by boat to San Francisco via Cuba and Panama (John Muir,
         It is the time John Muir spent later in his life, directly involving himself in the creation of
many of our National Parks that earned him the name ―Father of our National Park System.‖ He
spent much of his time after the creation of these parks in conserving and protecting their
boundaries and contents. This protectionism spawned the formation of the Sierra Club by Mr.
Muir and his supporters. The Sierra Club played a major role in ensuring the continuation of the

parks and their preservation not only in the Sierras, but also throughout California and most
importantly on the battlegrounds of Washington, D.C. One of the more famous battles was
against the creation of the Hetch Hetchy Valley Damn that would provide a reservoir for San
Francisco‘s growing population. John Muir served as the Sierra Club‘s founder and president
until his death in 1914 (John Muir Bibliography, n.d.).
       John Muir will forever be known as one of the most famous and influential
conservationists in America‘s history. He devoted the majority of his adult life to studying the
natural world around him and spreading his word to the people of the world through his
extensive writings. It is this dedication that continues to ensure the survival and conservation of
our most natural wonders (John Muir, n.d.). Throughout the course of his lifetime he wrote over
300 articles and compiled 12 books. Many more have been written about him and his life since
the time of his being (John Muir, n.d.).

1.1.3 - John Muir Trail
       The John Muir Trail is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. It stretches from
the Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley (North) to the summit of Mount Whitney (South), reaching
215 miles. Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the continental United States at 14,496 ft.
(Schauer, n.d.). Although the official trail ends at the top of Mount Whitney, hikers have to
continue an extra 11 miles to Whitney Port to finish the hike (―Pacific Crest Trail‖, n.d.). The
trail passes through Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park and also includes
several mountain passes: Donohue Pass, Muir Pass, Mather Pass, Pinchot Pass, Glen Pass and
Forester Pass (Schauer, n.d.) Due to crossing three national parks, the many mountain passes,
and extreme wildlife, the John Muir Trail is considered one of the top hiking trails in the United
States. A map of the John Muir Trail is included below:

           During the time of 1868-1869, John Muir walked from San Francisco to
Yosemite, along what we today know as Highway 132. This hike is referred to as the
Historic Route and passes through the town of Coulterville (―John Muir Highway‖, n.d.).
John Muir, the Historic Route, and Coulterville‘s location along this route provide the
inspiration for the John Muir Geotourism Center project. The map of the Historic Route
is included below (Thomas, n.d.):

1.1.4 - Coulterville
           Coulterville is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, 20 miles north of
Mariposa. Settled in 1850, this quaint town has a population of around 200 and covers
about 3 square miles2. Now known as a mining town, Coulterville is made up mostly of

    As noted on the Welcome to Coulterville sign.

Caucasians, Latinos, and Native Americans (US Census Bureau, 2010).
          Coulterville‘s proximity to Yosemite National Park has allowed the town to
prosper from tourists passing through on their way to or from the park. The one hotel in
town, Hotel Jeffrey, is a historic building under construction that lets people get a feeling
of the western life in the late 1800‘s and early 1900‘s. Keeping with the old western
theme, the Coulterville Café is the one restaurant in town that offers homemade quality
food to families passing through. To keep the locals entertained, there is also one saloon
in town for late night banter and an opportunity to meet the townsfolk.
          Although Coulterville is known to some as a ghost town because of its low
population and old western feeling, it offers tourists the experience of what life might
have been like in the early 1900s. Locals in Coulterville often reenact gunfights and
other important happenings that were carried out in the region. You can also see the
―Hang Tree‖ where their lynchings and executions were carried out (Coulterville, 2011).
          Coulterville has as much to offer as one would expect a town with a population of
201 people. However, with its location being so close to Yosemite National Park and its
well-preserved, old western atmosphere, there are ways in which more tourism can be
brought to the town in order to generate revenue and increase the town‘s economic

1.1.5 - Statement of Qualifications
Ken and Teri Pulvino
          Ken and Teri Pulvino both come from successful careers in the software industry.
Having worked with major Silicon Valley companies in the past such as Apple, IBM, and
Hewlett-Packard, Ken and Teri have recently put more of a focus on the education of
youth and endorsing economic sustainability. The Graf-Pulvino Family Fund currently
works with the Bay Shore Christian Ministries on the Board of Directors and both Ken
and Teri volunteer at the Greeley Hill Youth Ministry (ToMarket, 2010). To further the
promotion of economic development and sustainability in Mariposa County, Ken and
Teri control the Graf-Pulvino Charitable Fund and use this fund to support projects
throughout the area. These projects include the funding of docent training at the
Coulterville Museum, purchasing and donating the Bean Creek Preserve to the Sierra

Foothill Conservancy, as well as working with the Sierra Business Council and the Sierra
Foothill Conservancy to promote John Muir and geotourism.

Sierra Business Council
       The following information is from the Sierra Business Council website (2011).
The Sierra Business Council (SBC) was established in 1994 and is made up of 700
individuals and businesses. Its aim is to demonstrate that vibrant communities,
prosperous economies, and healthy ecosystems are not competing interests through
pioneering projects that foster community vitality, environmental quality, and social
fairness. With a focus on economy, environment, community, and leadership, SBC
works on creating change, providing solutions to challenges, and creating opportunities.
Its mission is to empower the Sierra Nevada to become the best place to raise a family,
seek adventure, engage in community, grow a business, learn, and find meaningful work.
It gives residents and visitors the opportunity to improve their lives, renew their spirits,
and prosper in health as well as wealth.

       The SBC provides the following services:
              Downtown Improvements
              Heritage Economy Projects
              Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy
              Conservation Planning
              Sustainable Forestry
              Ecosystem Service Markets
              Carbon Footprint/Offset Projects
              Visual Preference Surveys
              Land Use Policy Research, Analysis, and Project Design
              General Plan Updates

               Fair Labor Practices
               Affordable Housing
               Educational Forums
               Leadership Training

Sierra Foothill Conservancy
         The purpose of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy (SFC) is to protect foothill land.
It started in 1996 with the goal to protect two properties: the McKenzie Table Mountain
Preserve and the Mary Elizabeth Miller Preserve at Black Mountain (known as the
McKenzie and Miller Preserves, respectively). Since then, they have acquired three more
pieces of land: 825 acres on the side of Tivy Mountain in 1999, the Austin and Mary
Ewell Preserve on Fine Gold Creek in 1996, and most recently, the Bean Creek Preserve
in Greeley Hill just outside of Coulterville. The goal of these acquisitions is to provide
local support and management of these pieces of land in order to preserve the natural
environment, provide local educational and recreational activities, create a setting for
scientific research, and maintain the beauty of nature (Sierra Foothill Conservancy,
         The Sierra Foothill Conservancy keeps cattle on the preserves because the grazing
helps preserve the natural plants and wildlife. The cows graze on annual grassland that
has no added hormones or antibiotics to produce high quality beef. This beef is cut and
sold in Fresno, Prather, North Fork, Oakhurst, and Mariposa (Sierra Foothill
Conservancy, 2000).
         Another source of income generation is the hikes and classes given on the
preserves. Each month Sierra Foothill Conservancy plans a variety of different hikes and
classes pertinent to the season. They include different activities for each of the age
groups and provide a variety of hikes with varied degrees of difficulty. The different
monthly activities are published on the SFC website (Sierra Foothill Conservancy, 2000).

2.0 - Segment 2
2.1.0 - Political, Economic and Ecological Climate
       To provide an analysis of risks and opportunities associated with international and
domestic geotourism trends, we will first review the political, economic, and ecological
climate of the Yosemite National Park area. Yosemite National Park expands nearly
1,200 square miles in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The park was
established in 1899 when the U.S. Congress passed the National Park Bill at the urging of
John Muir (Sierra Club, 2011). Today, Yosemite is open all year for domestic and
international visitors to enjoy its vast natural wonders and its diverse cultural history.
Visitors can tour historic mining sites and towns, hike famous trails such as Half Dome,
or explore nature by floating down the Merced River. With over 800 miles of trails, 20
miles of paved walking and biking paths, and capacity to accommodate over 10,000
visitors in campsites and lodges, The National Park Service proclaims Yosemite to be
―not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, strength of granite, power of
glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra‖ (National Park
Service, 2011).
       The High Sierra is at the heart of many interests and values. Visitors who are
venturing into Yosemite‘s wilderness or areas outside of the valley to indulge in the
experience may come across a number of small towns scattered across the Sierras. One
such old western town in close proximity to Yosemite is Coulterville. The Historic Route,
a hike that traces the steps of John Muir‘s route from San Francisco to Yosemite, passes
through Coulterville and provides the inspiration for the John Muir Geotourism Center
project (Sierra Nevada Geotourism Map Guide, n.d.).

2.1.1 - Political Climate
       Yosemite National Park is managed by the National Park Service (NPS).
Organizations such as the Yosemite Conservancy, the Yosemite Institute, the Ansel
Adams Gallery, the DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, National Geographic, the Sierra
Foothill Conservancy and the Sierra Business Council have formed partnerships with

Yosemite National Park to help the National Park Service fulfill its mission to conserve
Yosemite‘s resources and ―provide for the enjoyment of the park‖ (National Park
Service, 2011). Outside of the National Park limits, Coulterville and many other
communities have demonstrated a commitment to preserving the beauty of both the
environment and heritage of the Sierra Nevada. In small communities and counties in the
High Sierra, the local Chamber of Commerce is of great importance in matters of
environment, infrastructure, legal reform, the economy, education, and workforce. The
Chamber (including committees, subcommittees, task forces, councils, etc.) seeks to
strengthen the competitiveness of the local economy and is a key player in the
development and implementation of business policies (US Chamber of Commerce,
2011). Our area of focus is Coulterville, which is located in the northern area of Mariposa
County near state highways 49 and 132.
       Mariposa County is a gateway to Yosemite, and the county seat is the historic
town of Mariposa, which sits about one hour outside of Yosemite National Park on
Highway 140 (Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, 2004-2010). Mariposa
County‘s Chamber of Commerce is currently focusing on strategies to enhance and
leverage the county‘s five key assets which include Yosemite National Park, Mariposa
County's Heritage Economy, University of California at Merced, Home Enterprise, Rural
Home Industry, and Rural Quality of Life. Small businesses and self-employed
individuals may find the Mariposa County government to be friendly. For example, the
government does not require business licenses and it upholds zoning laws to encourage
rural home industry entrepreneurs. Such businesses and individuals certainly have a
strong influence in the local economy.
       The John Muir International Business Plan (IBP) Team was fortunate to have the
opportunity to visit the Chamber of Commerce of Coulterville. The Chamber is located in
downtown Coulterville and shares the physical building space with the Visitor Center and
a cafe that is scheduled to open soon. This building is located on the same street as the
town‘s other two likely tourist ‗stops‘: the saloon and the History Museum. Lester
Bridges, the Chamber of Commerce‘s Executive Director; Joy Kitchel, the current office
manager of the Visitor Center; and John Shimer, a History Museum Board member, all
hold important and influential positions within the community and are dedicated to the

prosperity of local businesses, the tourist center, and the overall well-being of
Coulterville. Such key community figures are further discussed in the financial analysis.
In the spirit of ―small town‖ Coulterville and geotourism, successful projects and
progress in the community must consider the input and have the full support of the local
leaders and community members.

2.1.2 - Economic Climate
         The economy of Mariposa County, and subsequently Coulterville, is dependent on
tourism, recreation, and retirement. Yosemite offers the greatest economic opportunity
for all of Mariposa County - both directly through employment at the park or related
services and indirectly through the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) (Larsen, &
McLaughlin, 2007). As shown in Appendix 11, in Mariposa County, the amount of
revenue generated from the TOT tax has increased an average of seven and a half percent
since 2008, and reached $11.4 million dollars in 2010 (Dean Runyan and Associates,
2011). In 2010, the National Park Service employed 1,123 people during the summer
and 743 during the winter in Yosemite. In addition, the DNC Parks & Resorts employee
count reached 1,800 in summer and 1,100 in winter for 2010 (National Park Service,
         In line with state and nation wide budget constraints, the possibility of future
budget reductions in the National Park Service creates a risk of cuts in park staff and
visitor services, which could have a direct negative effect on employment opportunities
for Mariposa County residents. The June 2011 unemployment rate for Mariposa County
was 11.3%, which is the highest rate the county has seen in June for over 20 years
(Employment Development Department, State of California, 2011). Appendix 12
provides calculations for the average unemployment rate by month as well as a graph
displaying unemployment rates since 2006. Employment data was obtained from
California‘s Employment Development Department, and due to the seasonality of
employment in the region, we maintained month-to-month comparisons of the data
because it provides a more accurate view of economic activity than a year-to-year
calculation. As Appendix 12 displays, unemployment rates have been on the rise and
additional employment opportunities, especially in the winter season, are greatly needed.

For example, we estimate that almost 400 jobs were ―lost‖ in the winter of 2010 for
Mariposa County residents, an increase of over 60% of seasonal job loss since 2006.
       It is important to recognize that a struggling economy, increased unemployment
rates, and reduced park services does not equate to decreased visitation in National Parks
(Grossi, 2010). Per Jim Gramann, a visiting chief social scientist and Texas A&M
University professor working temporarily with the National Park Service, studies show
that national parks see increases in visitors in bad economic times because ―people save
money by going to national parks‖ (Grossi, 2010). The theory is that in hard economic
times, travelers adjust their travel destination to lower cost options; e.g. to save money, a
family may decide to go on a camping trip instead of on a cruise. National Park officials
reported that California residents who decide to visit Yosemite in an effort to save money
save half or more in vacation costs (Grossi, 2010). This theory appears to hold true in
Yosemite. By looking at visitation rates to Yosemite listed below, we can see that 2008
(the start of the economic crisis in the U.S.) marked an increase in visitors and a
continuing upward trend.

                             Yosemite Visitation Rates
         Year                      Numbers of Visitors       % Change
         2010                      4,047,880                 7.67%
         2009                      3,737,472                 8.19%
         2008                      3,431,514                 8.16%
         2007                      3,151,343                 -2.90%
         2006                      3,242,644                 -1.90%
         2005                      3,304,144                     -

*Data retrieved from Park Statistics provided by the National Park Service, 2011.

       In light of the struggling economy and the possibility of further cuts to park
funding, the importance of local government and communities in maintaining visitor
services is great - especially since there has been an increase in visitors to the park since

2008. Small communities, such as Coulterville, have an opportunity to strengthen the
tourism industry by offering new or improved tourist services. In addition to tourism, the
local government encourages small businesses, light manufacturing, land development,
and home enterprises throughout the county to help diversify the economy and provide
employment opportunities. The agriculture sector in the county consists mostly of raising
livestock, producing wine grapes, and cultivating custom gardens (Mariposa County
Chamber of Commerce, 2011). Mariposa County boasts that their ―exceptional quality of
life‖ is a major competitive asset for the local economy and aims to preserve that quality
of life with appropriate business opportunities. Mariposa County‘s ―quality of life‖ is
characterized by a relaxed rural lifestyle, low cost of living, and the ecological richness of
the area. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Mariposa County is largely
responsible for a strategy to preserve and enhance this quality of life through the arts,
tourism, and retirement (Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce, 2011).
       In 2007, an Economic Vitality Strategy and Implementation Plan for Mariposa
County was drafted with the intent of revitalizing Mariposa County. The plan details how
the local government, businesses, and community members can make Mariposa a year-
round tourist destination and how to best develop new businesses. Of particular relevance
is the strategy to ―expand, link, network and communicate the Mariposa County
experience‖ (Larsen, & McLaughlin, 2007). The strategy is focused on creating new
visitor experiences involving:

      Cultural, Historic, Artistic Venues & Events
      Natural Resources Venues & Events
      Marketing the Experience to promote Yosemite and Mariposa County as
       destinations for international tourists, especially with the use of Web-based
       marketing strategies

       The concept of a John Muir Geotourism Center in the county fits smoothly within
the strategy laid out four years ago. As mentioned, small town efforts are of seemingly
greater importance now considering the economic budget constraints on the National
Park Service and the increase in visitation rates since the writing of the strategy in 2007.
A collaborative effort among public and private entities to create a geotourism center in

Coulterville would contribute to the economic development of the region. The essential
elements of quality economic growth for areas like Coulterville have remained
unchanged since the 2007 report. Such elements include community consensus on
direction and desired outcomes, strong political will and leadership, and synergy between
the various public, private, and non-profit investments of people and resources (Larsen &
McLaughlin, 2007). As we further explore the concept of a geotourism center in
Coulterville, we will take these essential elements of economic growth into careful
       The diverse natural resources of Mariposa County offer various opportunities for
conservation and recreation to coexist. Conservation is necessary for the protection of
Mariposa County‘s natural resources, the beauty of its environment, and its future
prosperity. The Mariposa County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD) is a local
leader in conservation and acts as a steward by providing technical assistance to
landowners, hosting informational activities, fundraising, and developing cooperation
among many conservation and natural resource organizations (Mariposa County
Resource Conservation District, n.d.).

2.1.3 - Ecological Climate
       Conservation issues include soil, water, air, wildlife, fish, plant, timber, mineral,
geological, scenic, historical, recreational, and economic resources on private lands of
Mariposa County. Conservation is particularly important in the less populated areas of
Mariposa County, where one can feel the true spirit of the High Sierra in magnificent
vistas, woodlands, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, large acreage ranches, vineyards, and
farms (Larsen, & McLaughlin, 2007). In the rural areas of Mariposa County, a prominent
force in conservation efforts is ranching/farming operations. Conservation of the natural
resources of the county and the preservation of the county‘s farming and ranching culture
are closely intertwined. In recent years, ranchers and farmers have started to embrace
agritourism, conservation easements, and open-space zoning. Population size is an
important influence on resource use in an area. Mariposa County, with a low population
count of approximately 18,000 people in 2008, has a moderately projected increase in
county population between 2005 and 2025 (McKendry, 2010). With an increasing

population and increasing tourist traffic, conservation is necessary to maintaining the
region‘s rich ecological value and cultural heritage. Our study touches on how such
efforts can be effectively shared with domestic and international travelers. One such way
of sharing the ecological importance of the region is through docent tours. A docent
training program was recently started in Coulterville in an effort to have an organized
docent service capable of leading or recommending nature walks, organizing hikes,
guiding geology interpretations and tours, and recommending local farms and experts for
horse riding, bicycling, boating, fishing, kayaking, wine tasting, etc. Docent
qualifications include: ―background knowledge in fields such as botany, birding, geology,
local Native American culture, etc.; the ability to communicate effectively both orally
and in writing; comfort in working with diverse audiences; and enthusiasm about sharing
the story of John Muir and his passion for the world around him‖ (Shimer, 2011).

2.2.0 - Tourism Trends and Forecasting Methods
       To effectively create a John Muir Geotourism Center in Coulterville, we need to
understand the past, current, and future tourism trends in the region. We will start by examining
overall historical, present, and forecasted visitation rates to Yosemite National Park and the
surrounding area (specifically Mariposa County and Coulterville). Next we will consider the
demographics and primary reasons for travel for the main domestic and international tourists
visiting the United States, California, Yosemite National Park, and Mariposa County.
Additionally, we will present the money spent in Yosemite and surrounding areas in terms of
length of stay, accommodation type, and commodities purchased. Based upon our findings, we
will attempt to identify both the international and domestic tourism trends that shape our
business plan and marketing strategy for a geotourism center in the town of Coulterville.

2.2.1 - Visitation Rates
       An interesting way to consider Yosemite National Park‘s historical visitation trends is
through the ―million marker‖ for annual visitors. For example, 1954 was the first year that
Yosemite received 1 million visitors. Subsequent breakthrough years for 2, 3, and 4 million
visitors per year were 1967, 1987, and 1996, respectively (National Park Service, 2011).
       Visitation rates began to fall in 1996 in what Mr. Hentz referred to as a tourism
depression (J.Hentz, personal communication, June 29, 2011). As previously suggested, such
decreases in visitation could be attributed to a strong economic climate in which families chose
more expensive vacation options. Another reason for decreased visitation to Yosemite is the
destructive flooding of the Merced River in the winter of 1997, which badly flooded motels,
campgrounds, utilities and sewage treatment facilities and closed the Yosemite Valley for
weeks (Grossi, 2010). Also, just two years later in October of 1999, tourism to Yosemite
dipped again when four murders (both inside and just outside the park) plagued the international
media. Low visitation persisted until 2008 when the annual percentage change in the number of
visitors was a positive number for the first time in 12 years. As the dollar weakened, trips to the
United States for international tourists became a better value (Grossi, 2010). And as mentioned
previously, visitation was enhanced by domestic travelers who shifted travel destinations to
accommodate tightened budgets. Three consecutive years of strong increased growth in
Yosemite National Park visitation rates (8.16% increase in visitation in 2008, 8.19% visitation
increase in 2009, and a 7.67% visitation increase in 2010 (National Park Service, 2011)) is a
promising sign for Yosemite‘s tourism industry. The National Park Service (NPS) currently
forecasts park visitation on an annual basis for two years into the future. The annual visitation
data from the past five years are collected and a trend model for park visitation data sets is used
(National Park Service, 2011).
       Our research has revealed that visitor traffic and use data are not always available in
small towns such as Coulterville. Even in more prominent towns such as Mariposa where local
tourism statistics are available (with data in most recent reports dating from 2009), detailed
information about the origin, interests, and impacts of visitors are difficult to obtain. Lack of
funding, personnel, and access to available methods of data collection and analysis may be the
reasons why Coulterville tourism data has not been collected and examined more adequately.
Regardless of the limitations presented by availability and quality of data, it is essential to the

planning and management of the Geotourism Center to in some way assess visitor fundamentals
such as visitation volumes, seasonal visitation disparities, affects to local resources, and quality
of the visitor experience.
       Database searches and first hand interviews with the Tourism Bureau and the
Coulterville Visitor Center provided very few details about Coulterville and limited data about
the town of Mariposa. Therefore, we turned our research to the tourism forecasts of the U.S.
National Park Service for inspiration. A summary of Yosemite Forecast Visitation Reports as
provided by the NPS Public Use Statistics Office is included in section (Yosemite
visitor growth rates) as well as several graphic displays and actual versus forecasted visitation
rates over time. As we analyzed such visitation numbers over time, we considered methods in
which we could use this data as a benchmark for our visitation forecasts for the John Muir
Geotourism Center in Coulterville. Fortunately, several years ago the NPS Park Planning and
Special Studies Program and the NPS Social Science Program organized a focus group to
provide information on trends in visitation, forecasting, recreation, and tourism demand
modeling (National Park Service, 2003). Although the study was completed several years ago,
we reviewed it to gain an understanding of the commonly accepted methods of forecasting in
this industry. The purpose of the focus group was to assist the NPS with creating visitor
centers, similar projects, and other park facilities that are ―cost-effective and of appropriate
scope and size‖, and therefore we deemed it relevant to our study (National Park Service, 2003).
We found the following conclusions of the study most pertinent to our considerations of
forecasting tourism visitation rates in Coulterville:

      Trend line extensions work well for projections of visitation two to three years
       into the future.
      Long-term forecasts of Visitor Center or related facility use is best determined by:
      Qualitative methods: One approach is to consider how large scale changes, such
       as major lifestyle, infrastructure, or environmental changes to Coulterville or
       Yosemite National Park, may affect visitation in the future.
      Normative forecasting: This approach begins with the statement of a goal of a
       desired future condition for a specific time. The second element of the method is a
       detailed analysis of how to reach the goal. An example of relevant normative

       forecasting may include a five percent annual net increase in visitation to the
       Geotourism center in Coulterville for the first three years of operation.
      Marketing: Creative, innovative, and effective marketing schemes can greatly
       influence the number of visitors a site, such as the John Muir Geotourism Center,
       receives. Our strategic marketing plan outlined in this report can effectively
       position and market the center and the region.
      Continuous Research: Most important in forecasting Yosemite park visitation and
       use of visitor facilities is accurate and continuous research. The collected data
       should track visitor trends (who they are, where they are from, etc.) and correlate
       such trends with factors known to affect visitation and facility use (perhaps travel
       costs or extreme weather conditions).

       Although a trend line extension would be useful in predicting the next several
years of visitation growth rates, we believe this type of calculation would be most
beneficial using data from the past five years of visitation rates in Coulterville. To the
best of our knowledge, Coulterville data only dates back to 2008, and the process of
collecting and recording this data is still new and the accuracy and reliability of the data
is questionable. Therefore, we are using Yosemite National Park trends as a benchmark
in determining our initial projected visitation rate changes in Coulterville. As can be seen
in the visitation analysis calculations below, we calculated the average growth rate of the
last five years of actual visitation rates in Yosemite National Park to be 3.5 percent. We
will use this rate as our moderate expected growth rate of visitation to the Geotourism
Center. We then calculated the standard deviation of visitation rates for the last five
years and found this to be 5.65 percent. We applied this standard deviation to the average
visitation rate of 3.5 percent to determine a pessimistic and an optimistic outlook of
potential variation in visitation rates. Therefore, the worst and best-case scenarios are -
2.15 percent and 9.16 percent respectively.

Benchmark calculations for Coulterville Visitation Growth Rates:

 Year               # Visitors         % change            5 yr. mean         5 yr. st. dev.

 2010               3,901,408          4.39%               3.50%              5.65%

 2009               3,737,472          8.92%               2.77%              5.75%

 2008               3,431,514          8.89%               0.41%              4.96%

 2007               3,151,343          -2.82%              -1.27%             1.76%

 2006               3,242,644          -1.86%              -0.75%             1.57%

*Data source: National Park Service Public Use Statistics Office, 2011

        In our financial analysis section, we provide three separate scenarios based upon
these visitation growth rate estimates derived from actual Yosemite visitation data
because we wanted to provide a more expansive range of possible outcomes for visitation
in Coulterville. We highly recommend that Coulterville visitor statistics be collected and
recorded digitally (e.g. spreadsheet) in the future. This will allow for future studies to
more accurately forecast the Geotourism Center visitation rates using trend line
projections from trusted Coulterville data.
        To further expand on the importance of data collection, it is necessary to address
the role of visitor centers in this process. Visitor centers throughout the region are vital to
the collection of data regarding the visitation to the region. The current visitor tracking
method for centers is through center logbooks. These physical hard copy logbooks are
sent to the Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce where the total number of visitors
for each month is put into a computer system. This makes it easy to track the amount of
visitors, but not the demographics, age, gender etc. of visitors once the logbooks are sent
to Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce. A modernized, electronic approach to
collecting this data would greatly assist in identifying current and future markets.
        As previously mentioned, since 2007 the County has been focusing on a plan to
revitalize the economy and this has indirectly led to an effort to improve in data
collection. As indicated, the visitor centers in both Coulterville and Mariposa collect data

on the number of actual visitors to the centers as well as the number of phone calls they
receive on a monthly basis. The Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce produced a
report of visitation trends using data collected from 2008-2011 (Mariposa County
Chamber of Commerce, 2011). The report concluded that in 2010, the Coulterville
Visitor Center noticed a decrease in visitation by 3,517 visitors in the previous year. On
the other hand, the Mariposa Visitor Center noticed an increase of 7,381 visitors in 2010,
an increase of 18 percent over the previous two years. As the methods of collecting and
reporting this data are improved, this data will be very useful for future tourism and
visitation trend forecasting.

2.2.2 - International Visitor Demographics
       In line with the historic Yosemite visitation rates previously mentioned,
California‘s overseas visitor rates began to decline in the late 1990s and saw increases in
the mid-2000s. More specifically, 26.6 percent and 20.7 percent of all U.S. tourists
visited California in 1997 and 2004, respectively (CIC Research, Inc., 2010). In a 2010
study conducted for the California Travel and Tourism Commission by CIC Research,
Inc., the total number of overseas visitors to the United States in 2009 was 23.8 million,
and 4.8 million such visitors included California as a destination on their trip. These
tourist numbers were down 6.3 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, from 2008. Of
particular interest to our study is that in 2009, almost 40 percent of overseas travelers
indicated that a visit to a national park would be included in their leisure recreation
activities (CIC Research, Inc., 2010). International visitor interest in national parks is
especially important because it validates our theory that a John Muir Geotourism Center
in close proximity to Yosemite National Park may attract international interest.
       To narrow our focus on the international visitors to Yosemite, a total of 33
countries were represented in the visitors to the park in 2009 (University of Idaho, Park
Studies Unit, 2010). International visitors make up approximately 25 percent of total
visitation to the park, which is a significant number and provides us with substantial
reason to further research this international visitor group. The international tourist groups
to Yosemite in 2009 were: United Kingdom: 14%, Germany: 13%, France: 11%,

Belgium: 11%, Canada: 7%, Denmark: 7%, Australia: 7%, Netherlands: 5%, Spain: 4%,
Sweden: 3%, Switzerland: 3%, Norway: 2%, Italy: 1%, Brazil: 1%, 19 other countries:
11% (University of Idaho, Park Studies Unit, 2010). To provide a clear understanding of
the characteristics of these tourist groups, we have created the following matrix:

 Country of     Visitation     Attitudes and Opinions of            Analysis in terms of
                              California and Yosemite and
   Origin         YNP                                                    Coulterville

   United          14%       See California as a land of          Coulterville and the
  Kingdom                    contrasts and extremes in terms      surrounding area offer a
                             of landscape, attitude, and          land of extremes. Both a
                             culture (Smith & Company,            scenic and old-western
                             2007).                               look and feel is a great
                             Scenic beauty and visitor safety     contrast in terms of other
                             are highly regarded among            California destinations.
                             tourists. Campground
                             availability and airport proximity
                             are of no importance (An
                             Exploratory Study, 2000).

  Germany          13%       Display unique admiration for        Geotourism in
                             California as a leader in ecology;   Coulterville fits nicely
                             64% of German travelers agree        within the unique
                             that California has many places      German interests of
                             to explore off the beaten track      ecology and off the
                             (An Exploratory Study, 2000).        beaten track
                             See California as a land of          opportunities.
                             contrasts and extremes in terms
                             of landscape, attitude, and
                             culture (Market Condition
                             GmbH, (2010).

 Scandinavia       12%                                          Coulterville‘s scenic
  (Norway,                   Scenic beauty, educational         beauty and the
 Sweden and                  maps/brochures, and quality        educational value of the
  Denmark)                   roads to and from the park are     Geotourism Center and
                             three main qualities visitors from National Geographic
                             this region value (University of   mapping projects should
                             Idaho, 2009).                      be emphasized to attract
                                                                this international crowd.

    France           11%        Scenic beauty and visitor safety        French visitors have the
                                are most important. Educational         opportunity to
                                programs and interpretive               independently explore the
                                programs in English are of least        trails surrounding
                                importance (An Exploratory              Coulterville and relish in
                                Study, 2000).                           the beauty that John Muir
                                                                        once fell in love with.

   Belgium           11%        Scenic beauty is very important         Coulterville‘s scenic
                                while also valuing good roads in        beauty should be
                                the park. Airport proximity is          emphasized to attract this
                                not highly important to visitors        international crowd. Its
                                from Belgium (An Exploratory            ―in-the-wilderness‖
                                Study, 2000).                           atmosphere will also
                                                                        pertain to Belgian

    Canada            7%        California seen to merit multiple       Coulterville‘s scenic and
                                visits given its abundance of           old-western look and feel
                                things to do, see, and experience.      is a great contrast in
                                Four main themes about                  terms of other California
                                perception of California: unique        destinations. The
                                lifestyle, abundance or best of         complete John Muir
                                the best, Hollywood, feeling of         Geotourism Experience
                                affinity or kindred spirit (Smith       should be marketed as the
                                & Company, 2010).                       best and most authentic
                                                                        experience worth reliving

   Australia          7%        California is considered a              Coulterville‘s scenic and
                                ‗distance holiday‘. San Francisco       old-western look and feel
                                is a common gateway and often           is a great contrast in
                                a jumping off point for other           terms of other state or
                                state or country visits in the          country destinations. The
                                same trip (Smith & Company,             complete John Muir
                                2010).                                  Geotourism Experience
                                Scenic beauty, quality,                 should be marketed as the
                                transportation, and comfortable         best and most authentic
                                accommodations are highly               experience worth
                                valued. They have minimal               stopping in Coulterville
                                interest in campgrounds (An             for.
                                Exploratory Study, 2000).
*As reported by independent tour operators from each country and as indicated within Smith & Company
Market Research, LLC. Citations included within matrix text above.

       The above analysis provides us with a foundation for our target markets listed in
the Product Assessment and Market Viability section of our report. We will focus on the
seven markets in the matrix because these international groups may be interested in the
offerings of the John Muir Geotourism Center.

2.2.3 – International and Domestic Visitor Spending
       When analyzing tourism trends, it is essential to get a clear understanding of
where money is being spent, how money is being spent, and who is spending it. By
analyzing data from the National Park Service, the California Travel and Tourism
Commission, and data collected from the University of Idaho Park Studies Unit, we can
create a pricing strategy and forecast the amount of revenue that will come into the John
Muir Geotourism Center. Due to a lack of studies being done, it is difficult to find
information on what international countries are spending money in Yosemite and how
much they are spending. However, there have been studies in the past that give us a
general idea of what is being spent in Yosemite as well as more recent studies on what
international tourists are spending in California. Therefore, we are analyzing these pieces
of available data to determine the financial inflows in the area and appropriate pricing
schemes for the Geotourism Center.
       Looking at the big picture of international tourist spending, the California Travel
and Tourism Commission released a study in 2010 that showed how much each
international country spends in California. Canada, Germany, United Kingdom,
Australia, and France are among the top 10 countries that spent the most money in
California. Canada spent the most with $1.5 billion and the United Kingdom was the
second highest at $680 million. Australia spent around $550 million, while France and
Germany spent around $350 million. It is also worth noting that all of these countries
saw an increase in spending from 2009 to 2010. These spending increases ranged from
3% in the UK to 39% in France (CIC Research, Inc., 2010). While this information is
useful in getting a broad idea of what money is being spent in California by international
tourists, we need more specific data on what these countries are spending in Yosemite.

       In 2000, the National Park Service released a study that focused on international
spending within the National Park system. They then broke this information down on a
park-by-park basis. While this information is a bit dated, it is the only relevant
information to our knowledge released in the past 10 years regarding how much each
specific international country has spent in Yosemite National Park. Among the top five
countries that spent the most were United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Germany.
The United Kingdom was estimated to have spent around $7 million that year, while
France and Germany spent $5.3 million and $4.6 million, respectively. Australia spent
around $1.4 million the same year (An Exploratory Study, 2000). While Australia‘s
spending is lower than the other three countries, it is still greater than the majority of
countries surveyed. Also, in 1997 and into 1998 the Australian Dollar was extremely
weak compared to the US Dollar, about 1 USD/1.5 AUD. This could be a factor in the
low Australian spending in Yosemite at that time. As mentioned previously, Australia
had spent around $550 million in California in 2010, one of the highest spending
countries in the California Travel and Tourism Commission‘s studies. If you look at the
exchange rate in 2010, it is 1 USD/1.1 AUD (Historic Exchange Rates, 2011). This is a
much more favorable exchange rate and could be a relative explanation as to why tourism
from Australia has risen in the past 10 years. Today, the exchange rate is even more
favorable for Australia, being at 1 USD/0.93 AUD. This information creates more
incentive to include Australia in our target market, along with Canada, United Kingdom,
Germany, and France. While the area of Yosemite and Mariposa might be coming out of
a tourism depression, countries with a strong currency to the US Dollar will want to take
advantage of this opportunity and travel to California.
       The international information collected and analyzed provides us with valuable
insight as to how to form our target market. On the financing side, however, we need to
look at general data of how and where money is spent in Yosemite and its surrounding
areas. This information will help us with our pricing strategy as well as help forecast
future spending in the area, see section and The Yosemite National Park
Visitor Study done by the University of Idaho Park Studies Unit released a study in April
of 2010 showing how much money visitors are spending inside and outside of Yosemite,
along with what they are spending their money on. This information is useful in

identifying trends, analyzing the financial inflows, and developing a plan to generate
revenue. Before looking into what is spent in the surrounding areas, it is important to see
if the bulk of tourist money is spent inside Yosemite National Park.
       The same study as mentioned above shows that the majority of visitors, fifty-
seven percent, spend up to $200 inside the park. Twenty-three percent of visitors spend
up to $600, while a small ten percent spend $1,000 or more inside the park. Most of the
money spent inside the park is for hotels, but seventy percent of people who visited did
not spend any money on hotels. While forty-nine percent of visitors spent money at
restaurants and bars inside the park, it is worth noting that less than one percent of money
spent inside the park was for donations and eighty-five percent of people who visited did
not spend any money on donations. Only four percent of money spent was on guide fees
and only nine percent of all visitors spent up to $100. Although only five percent was
spent on admission fees, fifty-six percent of all visitors spent up to $25 (National Park
Service, 2011).
       This data shows us that although hotels present a large portion of where money
was spent, few people spent money to stay in the park. More of the visitors are willing to
spend money on admission fees and restaurants. The statistics of money spent on guide
fees show us that while the John Muir Geotourism Center may depend somewhat on
donations and/or grants, the costs for hiking tours and docent packages need to be kept
low. Our goal is not to attract people away from what Yosemite has to offer, but to work
with Yosemite and offer more recreational options for visitors to choose from. While this
information of how much money is spent inside Yosemite is important, the Geotourism
Center needs to focus more on how much money is spent by visitors once they get
outside of the park.
       Data on how much money was spent outside of Yosemite National Park covers
the surrounding towns that serve as gateways into the park. The study shows that while a
smaller 31 percent spend up to $200 outside of the park, a larger 33 percent spend up to
$600 after leaving or before entering Yosemite. Thirteen percent of visitors spend over
$1,000, which is a slight increase compared to the amount of visitors spending this much
money inside Yosemite. This data averages out to about $529 spent per visiting group
outside of the park and $191 per person. Similar to money being spent inside the park,

the majority went to hotels and restaurants while 11 percent went to transportation
expenses (National Park Service, 2011).
       Hotels make up for 49 percent of the money being spent outside of the park, while
almost half of the visitor groups that came to Yosemite spent up to $400 on lodging. This
data, when compared to money spent in the park, shows us that more visitors prefer
lodging outside of the park. Because hotel spending went up to $600 in the park and only
$400 outside, it is fair to assume that more people spend money on hotels in surrounding
areas because they are relatively cheaper.
       Three main revenue-generating activities the Geotourism Center wants to focus
on are guided hikes, Range of Light and National Geographic Merchandise, and other
miscellaneous recreational activities. This study shows that only about 10% of visitors
spent between $50 and $100 on guided activities, recreational activities, and ―all other
purchases‖. The vast majority of money spent outside of the park goes to lodging,
restaurants, and transportation costs (National Park Service, 2011).
       While this information can be discouraging, the goal of the John Muir Geotourism
Center is to increase those percentages. One of the main reasons why there is little
money spent on guided hikes and other recreational activities is that the surrounding
towns have limited offerings. This does not mean there is an absence of places to hike
outside of Yosemite National Park. The primary goals of the Geotourism Center are to
expose the beauty surrounding the Park and to offer an educational and adventurous
experience to those seeking more.

3.0 - Segment 3
3.1.0 - Establishing the John Muir Geotourism
       The acquisition of commercial space for any brick and mortar operation is an
essential part of the planning process. This section, split into three sub-sections, will
discuss a series of options and recommendations for acquiring the future site of the John
Muir Geotourism Center in Coulterville, California. First, a general needs assessment for
the property is necessary to gain a more thorough understanding of what the enterprise
will require based on several functional areas. The needs assessment will be followed by
an analysis of potential properties that meet these predetermined requirements. The most
viable of these properties are:
      Sharing existing commercial space with the Northern Mariposa County History
      Sharing existing commercial space with the North County Visitor Center
      Leasing an available property for the Geotourism Center to exist independently
For the latter alternative, a review of the most promising potential site, referred to as the
Train Property, will be provided. Finally, the section will determine procurement needs
of the Geotourism Center including capital goods, maintenance, repair services, and
operating supplies.

3.1.1 - Property Needs Assessment
       To understand what the Geotourism Center will require in terms of space and
amenities, it is essential to first determine what functions the space will serve. Based on
the John Muir Geotourism Center Blueprint developed in Section, the space will
need a reception and cashier area, a place for exhibits and product displays, an
audiovisual and technology area, and potentially a room or space designated as a tour
staging area. For future expansion, we must also consider the possibility of creating a
small kitchen or cafe. A unique challenge, however, will be to maintain an authentic

historical environment, while offering patrons access to amenities such as internet access,
washroom facilities, and an adequate and comfortable seating and waiting area.
       To determine the space needed to accommodate the visitors in the John Muir
Geotourism Center, we can estimate the required space based on its anticipated functional
areas (Obringer, 2011). The following assessment covers the primary functional areas of
the John Muir Geotourism Center facility that will be necessary to accommodate its
visitors. The different categories are organized in descending order of importance and
each alternative will be weighted as such where the options will be compared and

The Main Area
       This space will be the most widely utilized and highly trafficked area for the
Geotourism Center. It should be designed to accommodate any employees on staff as
well as the average number of visitors at any given time. Individual visits will be the
most common and, while they may be sporadic and consisting of small groups or families
of 4-5 people or fewer, when larger tours or events take place the main area should
comfortably hold 10 or more visitors. For 6-8 visitors and one staff member, the
suggested space requirement is between 200-300 ft.2 in total. Therefore, to comfortably
house larger groups and additional staff members, the minimum space requirement for
the main area of the Geotourism Center should be between 400-500 ft.2. It is important to
note that this minimum threshold does not consider additional space requirements for
product displays, artifact exhibits, or multimedia terminals.

Indoor Exhibits and Product Displays
       For the John Muir Geotourism Center to succeed, it should smoothly incorporate
aspects of a museum or history center, a learning and activity center, and a book and eco-
friendly store. This multi-faceted endeavor will therefore require more additional floor
space than would a typical reception area. Our general guidelines suggest that in a
traditional office environment, space planning should allow for a minimum of seven ft.2
for a standard filing cabinet. Given the need to include different sized displays for
museum exhibits and shelves to hold books, maps, and other merchandise, we
recommend that a at least 15 ft.2 be allocated for each unit utilized for this purpose.

Assuming five to six primary displays and merchandising areas, the Geotourism Center
will need to be equipped with an additional 75-90 ft.2. Depending on space availability
and budget constraints, this additional square footage could be taken out of the 400-500
ft.2 total recommended in the previous section. However, the Center should maintain a
500 ft.2 minimum, including displays and merchandise, to properly accommodate its
visitors. Thus, the current suggested size is 475-590ft.2 in total.
Technology Area
        Additional real estate will be required to create a space that will be utilized as a
multimedia and research hub for the Geotourism Center. Though this is not a necessary
part of the Center and may be considered a luxury, its presence is vital for the location for
several reasons. First, it will assist the Center in truly fitting its description as a learning
center. Second, it will likely create a competitive advantage given that Coulterville
currently has a scarcity of internet access. Finally, it has the potential of creating an
additional revenue stream as a result of using the terminals and the subsequent printing of
maps and other resources. It is generally expected that library and meeting room space of
this type will allow for between 15-25 ft.2 per person. Along with the requisite computer
equipment, we expect a minimum total of four multimedia terminals to utilize 100 ft.2 of
space. This allocation of floor space will still provide enough room to allow for a wall
projector display or interactive map wall for visitors. As this is more of an optional
component, it will likely become part of the center in the future rather than in the
immediate renovations of the location.

        Given the nature of the Geotourism Center and its unique service offerings,
including tours, interactive exhibits, and educational sessions, it is advisable for the
location to have an on-site public washroom. For any guests that may participate in tours
or take advantage of the on-site exhibits and technology, the convenience of a public
washroom will be important to their visit. The Geotourism Center does bypass the
federal and state laws requiring public washrooms for food-serving establishments but
still must make a washroom available for public use if it is needed (―California Health
and Safety Code‖ 2011). The Geotourism Center is, however, required by law to have at

least one on-site washroom for employees, which could also serve as the public
       For any tourist destination, convenient parking is essential. A significant portion
of visitors to the John Muir Geotourism Center will be FITs, also known as fully
independent travelers. These individuals or small groups, up to nine, contrast the
traditional tour operator designed travel by arranging their own transportation and tours
for a particular destination. This phenomenon relates to parking insofar as the facility
will need to accommodate several cars and recreational vehicles (RVs) at one time.
Ideally, the Geotourism Center will have on-site or nearby parking that can
accommodate five to six passenger vehicles, two to three RVs, and at least one large tour
bus. This requirement translates into a conservative estimate of 2,200 ft.2 necessary for
parking space.
       To conclude this assessment, based on the projected needs and functional areas of
the facility, the John Muir Geotourism Center should exist in a commercial property with
a minimum of 700 ft.2 for internal space, plus the space required for at least one
washroom. Parking is also important, but Coulterville as a community has public parking
space throughout its Main Street area, near the park and Jeffrey Hotel, and on side streets,
so this is not as high of a priority. Nonetheless, the recommended property would benefit
greatly from a minimum of five dedicated passenger vehicle spaces and at least one space
for oversized vehicles such as RVs and tour buses.

3.1.1 - Potential Sites for the John Muir Geotourism Center
       Our team has gathered information on three primary options for the location of
the John Muir Geotourism Center based on the functional areas and requirements
described above, property availability in Coulterville, cost, feasibility, available human
capital, and other resources.

Option 1 – North Mariposa County History Museum
       As of now, the History Museum expansion effort is in its infancy. The Board just
recently approved the purchase of a unit directly adjacent to the History Museum, which
will expand the overall facility by approximately 600 ft.2 (J. Shimer, personal
communication, August 10, 2011). This space would serve as the home of the
Geotourism Center. The Geotourism Center would pay a small monthly rent to occupy
the space and have the advantage of sharing some costs, such as utilities, with the History
Museum. While the 600 ft.2 does not meet the size requirements as recommended
above, its proximity to the History Museum and the partnership arrangement will offset
any difficulties associated with the limited space. For example, the washroom facilities
are already accessible by the public in the History Museum and would be shared by the
Geotourism Center. Though dedicated parking is limited outside of the History Museum,
it is sufficient to accommodate at least five passenger vehicles. Oversize vehicle parking
is located directly across the street next to the Coulterville Park where RVs and buses
would have access.
       The official asking price of the property and ultimately of the History Museum
expansion project is still unknown. Based on the most recent real estate sales in
Coulterville and the current asking price of other properties in the community, we can
assume that the purchase price will fall between $60,000 and $70,000. An additional
sum up to the purchase price will be required to renovate and prepare the unit for
occupancy. The History Museum has expressed its willingness to make this investment
and integrate the Geotourism Center into the newly purchased unit (J. Shimer, personal
communication, August 10, 2011). Mr. Shimer expressed that the center could potentially
consider integrating under the management and administrative control of the History
Museum‘s Board of Directors and their current staff of a paid office manager and
volunteer employees. At this location, the Geotourism Center will be responsible to
cover any additional overhead that it incurs as a part of the History Museum and any
other costs unrelated to the History Museum, including transportation, information
technology, and additional operating expenses.

        Mr. Shimer has expressed full support and interest in the John Muir Geotourism
Center plan. Mr. Shimer is a Coulterville local and holds significant clout within the
community and surrounding area. Contingent on Board support, Mr. Shimer has offered
to accommodate the Geotourism Center in the expansion plans of the History Museum at
little to no cost.    Furthermore, Mr. Shimer hopes to assist in the staffing of the
Geotourism Center by reallocating some of his human resources at the History Museum
to the new project. The History Museum is currently engaged in a docent training
program designed to lead learning experiences related to their exhibits and artifact
displays beyond the confines of the History Museum in the form of guided tours to
famous John Muir legacy sites. Given the alignment of the efforts of the History
Museum and the mission of the Geotourism Center, Mr. Shimer would play a vital role in
the establishment and ongoing operation of the Geotourism Center if this site were
chosen (J. Shimer, personal communication, July 12, 2011).

Option 1-North Mariposa County History Museum
               Advantages                                 Disadvantages
      Existing Traffic – sharing grounds         Distinction and Self-
       with History Museum that already            Sustainability – the Geotourism
       has established visitor traffic.            center will face challenges in
      Community Influence – Mr.                   distinguishing itself as a separate
       Shimer‘s connections and influence          entity from the History Museum
       in Coulterville will help offset any        and may become dependent.
       negative reaction to the Graf-             Timing – the property acquisition
       Pulvino Charitable Fund‘s origins           of the History Museum is
       outside Coulterville.                       underway, and the new unit will not
      High-Level Support – high-level             be ready for immediate operation.
       support and excitement from                Integration – there may be an
       History Museum board members                opportunity for the Geotourism
       and volunteer staff.                        Center to integrate more fully into
      Mission Alignment – both                    the History Museum, thereby
       organizations striving to increase          forfeiting management,
       visitation to Coulterville to support       administrative, and financial control
       geotourism and John Muir‘s legacy.          to the History Museum.
      Social Capital – existing social           Potential Space Limitations –
       capital exists between clients and          with only 600ft.2, the Geotourism
       History Museum management and               Center may be limited in its
       personnel.                                  ability to execute some desired
      Reasonable Cost – sharing costs             functions of the operation.
       with the History Museum makes the
       cost structure in this location

Option 2 - North County Visitor Center (Shared) 5007 Main Street
       The North County Visitor Center consists of one large single room of
approximately 800 ft.2. As of now, the Visitor Center shares its unit with a small coffee
shop operation taking approximately half of the available space. This limitation creates a
problem for the potential integration of the Geotourism Center. As stated in our property
needs assessment above, the minimum space requirement rests at 475 ft.2 when excluding
consideration of the technology area. That said, the Geotourism Center would have very
little independent space within the Visitor Center and would be forced into integration to
efficiently and effectively utilize the space, as opposed to a split arrangement in which
the Geotourism Center would have its own area within the unit. The Visitor Center does
have a non-public washroom that could be utilized by patrons when requested.
Additionally, the Visitor Center has 15 passenger-vehicle spaces located directly along
the building‘s storefront. It should be noted that these spaces are not dedicated to Visitor
Center patrons but available to all community visitors. Oversized vehicles would be
forced to park around the corner near Coulterville Park, but given the modest size of the
community, this inconvenience is negligible.
       The Visitor Center in Coulterville is under the administrative and management
control of the Mariposa Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber pays approximately $450
per month to lease the unit and cover utilities expenses. The total for rent alone is $300
per month. Lester Bridges, Executive Director of the Chamber, expressed his interest and
enthusiasm in sharing the space with the Geotourism Center and dividing the cost burden
between the two organizations. He made it clear that he would be willing to negotiate the
specific dollars and cents of the arrangement if and when the site is chosen (L. Bridges,
personal communication, August 2, 2011).
       Joy Kitchel, the current office manager of the Visitor Center and only paid
employee, has expressed interest in the John Muir Geotourism Center project on
numerous occasions. She has a vast wealth of knowledge of the region geographically,
historically, and culturally. Ms. Kitchel currently manages a staff of five volunteers at
the Visitor Center who would also be a resource to the Geotourism Center if this site
were chosen. Ms. Kitchel is a local resident and has dedicated herself to the
advancement of the region through tourism and her work at the Visitor Center. Similarly,

Lester Bridges provides experience in this area but is further removed given his primary
location in Mariposa. Collectively, these two individuals hold significant influence in the
community and greater region. Particularly, Ms. Kitchel has already begun building a
library of John Muir texts, information, and merchandise and has investigated hosting
tours to the well-known John Muir legacy destinations in the area.

Option 2- North County Visitor Center
               Advantages                                 Disadvantages
      Lowest Cost Option – sharing               Space Limitations – the Visitor
       space with the Visitor Center is the        Center location does not meet
       least expensive option                      minimum space requirement for the
      Integration – the Geotourism                Geotourism Center‘s required
       Center‘s operations could be easily         functional areas
       integrated into the existing Visitor       Distinction and Self-
       Center as they will offer similar           Sustainability – in this
       products and services                       arrangement, given the space
      Existing Traffic – the Visitor              limitations, the Geotourism Center
       Center already maintains foot traffic       would be required to fully integrate
      High-Level Support – enthusiasm             its operations with those of the
       and support from Mariposa                   Visitor Center leading directly to
       Chamber of Commerce‘s Executive             challenges involving brand identity,
       Director and the Visitor Center‘s           differentiation, and dependency
       staff                                      Management Control – the
      Market Resource Access –                    Geotourism Center will exist under
       inexpensive access to pre-existing          the management control of the
       marketing efforts of Mariposa               Mariposa Chamber of Commerce
       Chamber of Commerce and                    Financial Control – limited
       Mariposa Tourism Bureau                     financial control over the
      Mission Alignment – both                    Geotourism Center may limit its
       organizations striving to increase          potential and the possibility of
       visitation to Coulterville to support       expanding the project
       geotourism and John Muir‘s legacy

Option 3 - Train Property - 4996 West Street
       At 900 ft.2, the train property is the best-suited location in terms of space
requirements of the three options. It is also unique as the property consists of two
separate units: a train caboose situated on a small section of track and a train boxcar
behind it. Both units are suited for living quarters and, though it is for sale as a
commercially zoned property, the space is currently used as an individual residence. The
front train unit is equipped to serve as the main area for the Geotourism Center housing
reception and the primary displays and exhibits. The rear unit, connected by a wooden
deck, could feasibly hold the technology area and the washroom. Despite the address, the
property is directly on Highway 49 next to the History Museum. The property also has
an area for dedicated parking, which would suit a minimum of five passenger vehicles
and one oversize vehicle. Additional public parking is located directly across the street
near the iconic Hotel Jeffrey.
       The current owner has listed the train property at $79,000. The owner stated that
she is willing to consider a lease with the future occupant but that the financial details of
that particular arrangement would be decided upon at that time (E. Stallings, personal
communication, August 1, 2011). . Assuming a five percent fixed interest rate mortgage
over 360 months with a $9,000 (11.3 percent) down payment, purchasing the property
would require a monthly payment of $375.78. This rate is reasonable, however, as
making such a significant long-term investment leaves the John Muir Geotourism Center
exposed to additional, and maybe unnecessary, financial risk.
       The train property option requires the establishment of an independent
management team and staff since it will not directly share physical resources with
another organization. Based on our conversations and interactions with relevant
stakeholders at the History Museum, Visitor Center, Tourism Bureau, Chamber of
Commerce, Sierra Business Council, and the Sierra Foothill Conservancy, we can only
assume that their excitement and enthusiasm for the Geotourism Center will translate into
some sharing of resources and expertise.

Option 3- Train Property
                Advantages                                    Disadvantages
       Unique and Historic Property –                Large Investment and Financial
        the caboose and boxcar already                 Risk – this option requires a
        create interest for Coulterville               significant long-term financial
        visitors but cannot be accessed                commitment and therefore carries
        because it is currently used for               significant financial risk for the
        residential purposes                           client in contrast to the partnership
       Independence – without a                       options
        partnership the Geotourism Center             Few Shared Resources – there is a
        retains full control over its                  void in the potential sharing of local
        management and financial decisions             resources both human and physical
        leaving it indefinite room to grow            Outsider Risk – creating the
       Meets Space Requirements –                     Geotourism Center independent of
        sufficient space exists for all                existing Coulterville organizations
        functional areas and parking needs             may be viewed negatively by the
        of the Geotourism Center                       community given the client is not a
       Adjacent to Popular Sites – the                local/resident
        Train Property is located in the lot
        next to the History Museum and is
        at the busy intersection of Main
        Street and Highway 49

3.2 - Recommendation for Property Acquisition
        Options one and two are locations in which a space sharing partnership with
existing organizations would be arranged. This benefits the Geotourism Center by
allowing it to take advantage of existing infrastructure and resources as well as sharing in
the cost burden associated with occupying and maintaining a commercial property.
 Furthermore, when considering sharing options, a mutual space will give the Geotourism

Center access to existing visitor traffic, thereby reducing some of the need for marketing
and outreach.
       In contrast, sharing space with an existing occupant could create a competitive
disadvantage for the Geotourism Center. Ultimately, given the broad mission of all three
entities to increase the economic activity for Coulterville and the surrounding area and
disseminate historical knowledge and an appreciation of nature to its patrons, and
considering the already collaborative relationship that exists between the three
organizations, it does not appear that a competitive environment would stifle these
potential relationships. We therefore assume that sharing space will be mutually
beneficial for all relevant stakeholders.
       The final option, option three, is considered as an alternative to sharing space in
the form of a lease or purchase of property, which would give the Geotourism Center a
home of its own. The site was chosen based on the most current real estate market in
Coulterville, budget considerations, and space availability. An independent space would
give the Geotourism Center full autonomy to create, operate, maintain, and grow its
operation. Financial risk exposure is a key concern with these options since it will likely
require a larger initial capital expenditure to renovate and prepare the facility as well as
higher monthly payments.
       Our team recommends the pursuit of option one, the North Mariposa County
History Museum partnership and space sharing arrangement. The John Muir Geotourism
Center would gain much more from this partnership than it would lose. With a population
of just over 200, Coulterville is a small community making social capital an essential
piece of establishing a new enterprise. Mr. Shimer provides this gateway for the
Geotourism Center. He has directly and emphatically expressed his support for this
partnership and has worked to begin integration of the Geotourism Center activities into
the History Museum‘s operation, including docent training, John Muir exhibits, and tours
(personal communications, August, 2011).
       The History Museum‘s expansion plans are still in their early stages, and there is
a chance that timing will be a limitation of this arrangement in the case that the space is
not ready for occupancy for a prolonged period of time. Mr. Shimer suggested the space
may not be ready until a minimum of one year from now.

        As a contingency plan, we recommend option three as the second most favorable
alternative. Despite the potential lack of shared and existing resources, this option allows
the John Muir Geotourism Center to develop from its roots with total control and far less
outside influence. The initial investment creates some skepticism around this option, but
if the Geotourism Center reaches its potential and achieves its long-term vision and
financial projections, these concerns may dissipate more rapidly than expected. The
property is in a prime location directly on Highway 49 facing the end of Main St. and
Hotel Jeffrey. The unique nature of the train cars and its nostalgic feel would be ideal for
the target market and the casual Coulterville visitor.
        Lastly, we recommend option two as the third priority for potential arrangements
with the North County Visitor Center. The primary disadvantage of this location is the
lack of space. This major limitation would create a certain inability for the Geotourism
Center‘s vision and blueprint to be realized. The Visitor Center would be far more viable
if it did not currently share its unit with the café.

3.3.0 - Financial Analysis
        The financial analysis for the geotourism center is divided into two different
segments: capital requirement and pro forma cash budgets. As this is a non-profit
organization, all of the start-up costs will be donated and will thus be paid for in full at
the start. Once the center is up and running, the operational costs will be covered by the
sales of products and – if necessary - donations/grants. As an exact budget for the John
Muir Geotourism Center has not yet been established, we have laid out the possibilities
for the center in three different locations (Train Property, Visitor Center, and History
Museum) with three different budgets varying among low, moderate, and high amounts.
The yearly cash needs for each of these locations are then projected under pessimistic,
moderate, and optimistic assumptions of forecasted tourism flow.

3.3.1 - Capital Budget
        It is assumed that the location will be acquired in year one, although it will not
begin operating until the second year. Therefore, the total cash needs for the capital
budget and the first year expenses are added together. Since the Geotourism Center will

not be in operation until the second year, it is assumed that the only cash needs it will
have during the first year are lease, inventory, advertising, office supplies, liability and
van insurance, and utilities.
       Under each of the assumptions for tourist flows through Coulterville, the amount
of inventory for the Geotourism Center varies. Therefore, the amount needed to get the
center into operation varies according to how many tourists are expected to pass through.
The remainder of the equipment costs remains the same for the Train Property and the
History Museum, while property acquisition and renovation vary among each of the sites
according to their individual needs. Given the small amount of space in the Visitor
Center, the amount of equipment allocated here is much less, therefore requiring a lesser
budget to get started. Since the Train Property requires large upfront costs of the
acquisition of a new property and all of the necessary renovations, it would require the
greatest amount of money in order to get started. The History Museum would require
less money for the acquisition and would thus require much less upfront cash than the
Train Property and a little more than the Visitor Center to begin operation.

3.3.2 - Pro Forma Cash Budget
       As the geotourism center will function as a non-profit and may have to rely partly
on donations/grants, it is necessary to estimate how much revenue it will be able to
generate itself in order to know whether grants/donations will be needed and how much
grant/donation money may be necessary to cover expenses. A pro forma statement of
cash flow has been estimated for each of the three possible locations to show projected
expenses and revenue, as well as potentially necessary donation/grant money.
       Expenses have been estimated based on the operating expenses of the Visitor
Center based on information given in an interview with Lester Bridges (L. Bridges,
personal communication, August 2, 2011), as well as researched average costs. If the
Geotourism Center is located at the Visitor Center, it will likely split the current
operating expenses, which are already split with the adjunct café. If the Geotourism
Center is located adjacent to the Museum, it will likely split expenses, and if it is located
at the Train Property, it will pay the full amount of the expenses itself. It is assumed that

phone, internet, lease, liability insurance, and utilities will be shared expenses, while
salary; office supplies; van maintenance, gas, and insurance; inventory; advertising; and
webpage and kiosk maintenance will be covered by the Geotourism Center alone. Under
these assumptions, the Train Property will incur the highest amount of expenses, with the
Museum incurring the second most and the Visitor Center the least.
       Revenue generation has been predicted using research studies on the number of
tourists visiting Coulterville, as well as the spending habits of Yosemite tourists outside
of the park. According to the Mariposa Chamber of Commerce, Coulterville has been
receiving an average of 10,539 tourists each year (Mariposa County Chamber of
Commerce, 2011). Using this number as a reference point, we have based the forecasted
number of Coulterville tourists on the percent changes in Yosemite visitors over the past
five years (see Tourism Trends and Forecasting section of this paper, National Park
Service, 2011 Park Statistics).
       Prices for each of the products were determined based on a 2009 study by the
University of Idaho of Yosemite on tourist spending habits outside of Yosemite (Park
Studies, 2010), the economic situation of Coulterville, and the goal of the Geotourism
Center to be self-sustainable. The 2009 study provided a rough estimate of how much
tourists are willing to spend outside of the park, which was then combined with the
previously mentioned data on tourist numbers and used to estimate the amount of revenue
the Geotourism Center can expect to generate in a year.
       Using these estimates, we have created pro forma cash budgets under pessimistic,
moderate, and optimistic assumptions. Under the most pessimistic assumptions (a decline
in visitation by -2%), the Geotourism Center will still be able to cover its expenses
without donations or grants and generate a surplus. As each of the possible locations
would incur differing costs, the Visitor Center would generate the greatest surplus,
followed by the Museum and the Train Property. Since the Geotourism Center will be
built and begin operation on a very low budget, there will be many improvements that
can be made with the surplus it is expected to generate. Based on the moderate
assumptions of the History Museum, the following goals have been established to
gradually improve the Geotourism Center:

1. Donate one percent of the yearly surplus to conservation in the region,
   which would equal approximately $63, $73, $83, $94, $105, $116 in years
   2012 through 2018.
2. In the second year of operation, use the first year surplus (of
   approximately $6,000) improve docent training to increase the capacity as
   well as the quality of the Geotourism Center.
3. In the third year of operation, use the surplus funds from year 2 (of
   approximately $7,000) to establish an information booth at the nearby
   lake. Also offer a high season lake shuttle service that will take tourists
   from the lake to the Geotourism Center. This will help to increase tourist
   awareness of and flow to the Geotourism Center.
4. By the third year of operation, improve marketing by having the local
   residents vote on their favorite local restaurant, farm, trail, and docent led
   experiences. This will get the community involved, as well as create a
   way to update the maps and marketing materials.

3.3.3 - History Museum Analysis

Capital Requirement –
Initial Costs
Property Acquisition            0
Renovations                $4,000
Equipment*                $10,640
Children's Activities        $300
Website                    $5,000
Van                       $16,000
Total                     $35,940

Cash Budget
    Lease                    $900
    Inventory             $19,160
    Advertising**          $2,060
    Office Supplies          $250
    Liability Insurance      $600
    Van Insurance            $195
    Utilities                $135
  Total Expenses          $23,300
Total Cash Need           $59,240

*Equipment Costs
    iPad x 2                 $500
    Flat Screen TV x 2       $400
    Small Display            $240
    Big Display              $600
    Kiosk x 2              $4,000
Administrator Salary      $12,000
**Advertising Costs
  Radio                    $1,332
  Newspaper                  $114
  Brochures                  $500

                             2012      2013      2014      2015      2016         2017
Cash Budget –
     Admission             $15,809   $16,362   $16,936   $17,529   $18,143   $18,778
     Membership             $1,435    $1,464    $1,492    $1,521    $1,550    $1,579
     Merchandise Sales     $22,606   $23,398   $24,218   $25,066   $25,944   $26,853
Tours/Packages             $20,551   $21,271   $22,016   $22,787   $23,586   $24,412
   Total Revenue           $60,401   $62,495   $64,662   $66,903   $69,223   $71,622
     Lease                  $3,600    $3,600    $3,600    $3,600    $3,600    $3,600
     Salary                $23,066   $23,454   $23,855   $24,270   $24,700   $25,145
Insurance                     $455      $455      $455      $455      $455      $455
     Liability Insurance    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400
     Office Supplies          $200      $202      $204      $206      $208      $210
Maintenance/Gas             $1,000    $1,010    $1,020    $1,030    $1,041    $1,051
     Auto Insurance           $780      $788      $796      $804      $812      $820
     Internet                 $840      $848      $857      $865      $874      $883
ns                            $420      $424      $428      $433      $437      $441
     Inventory             $19,160   $19,831   $20,526   $21,245   $21,989   $22,759
     Advertising              $956      $956      $956      $956      $956      $956
Maintenance                  $250      $253      $255      $258      $260         $263
Maintenance                   $360      $364      $367      $371      $375      $378
     Utilities                $540      $545      $551      $556      $562      $568
   Total Expenses          $54,027   $55,130   $56,270   $57,449   $58,668   $59,929
Net Surplus (deficit)       $6,374    $7,365    $8,392    $9,454   $10,554   $11,693

Capital Requirement - Pessimistic
Initial Costs
Renovations                $4,000
Equipment*               $10,640
Children's Activities        $300
Website                    $5,000
Van                      $16,000
Total                    $35,940

Cash Budget
    Lease                    $900
    Inventory             $10,210
    Advertising**          $2,060
    Office Supplies          $300
    Liability Insurance      $600
    Van Insurance            $195
    Utilities                $135
  Total Expenses          $14,400
Total Cash Need           $50,340

*Equipment Costs
    iPad x 2                 $500
    Flat Screen TV x 2       $400
    Small Display            $240
    Big Display              $600
    Kiosk x 2              $4,000
Administrator Salary      $12,000
**Advertising Costs
  Radio                    $1,332
  Brochures                  $500
  Newspaper                  $114

                             2012      2013      2014      2015      2016      2017
Cash Budget –
     Admission             $14,980   $14,658   $14,343   $14,035   $13,733   $13,438
     Membership               $900      $880      $861      $843      $825      $807
     Merchandise Sales     $12,209   $11,946   $11,689   $11,438   $11,192   $10,952
     Guided Tours
Packages                   $11,984   $11,726   $11,474   $11,228   $10,986   $10,750
Total Revenue              $40,072   $39,211   $38,368   $37,543   $36,736   $35,947
     Lease                  $3,600    $3,600    $3,600    $3,600    $3,600    $3,600
     Salary                $17,243   $17,130   $17,020   $16,912   $16,807   $16,703
Insurance                     $455      $455      $455      $455      $455      $455
     Liability Insurance    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400
     Office Supplies          $200      $202      $204      $206      $208      $210
Maintenance/Gas             $1,000    $1,010    $1,020    $1,030    $1,041    $1,051
     Auto Insurance           $780      $788      $796      $804      $812      $820
     Internet                 $840      $840      $840      $840      $840      $840
   Telecommunications         $420      $424      $428      $433      $437      $441
     Inventory              $9,990    $9,775    $9,565    $9,360    $9,159    $8,962
     Advertising              $456      $461      $465      $470      $475      $479
Maintenance                  $250      $253      $255      $258      $260      $263
Maintenance                   $360      $364      $367      $371      $375      $378
     Utilities                $540      $545      $551      $556      $562      $568
  Total Expenses           $38,534   $38,247   $37,967   $37,694   $37,429   $37,170
Net Surplus (deficit)       $1,538      $964      $401     -$151     -$692   -$1,223

Capital Requirement - Optimistic
Initial Costs
Renovations                         $4,000
Equipment*                         $10,640
Children's Activities                 $300
Website                             $5,000
Van                                $16,000
Total                              $35,940

Cash Budget
    Lease                             $900
    Inventory                      $26,869
    Advertising**                   $1,560
    Office Supplies                   $250
    Liability Insurance               $600
    Van Insurance                     $195
    Utilities                         $135
  Total Expenses                   $30,509
Total Cash Need                    $66,449

*Equipment Costs
    iPad x2                           $500
    Flat Screen TV x 2                $400
    Small Display                     $240
    Big Display                       $600
    Kiosk x 2                       $4,000
Administrator Salary               $12,000
**Advertising Costs
  Radio                             $1,332
  Brochures                           $500
  Newspaper                           $114

                             2012      2013      2014       2015       2016      2017
Cash Budget –
     Admission             $17,825   $19,457   $21,238    $23,183    $25,305   $18,778
     Membership             $1,970    $2,000    $2,030     $2,060     $2,091    $1,579
     Merchandise Sales     $31,817   $34,730   $37,910    $41,381    $45,170   $26,853
Tours/Packages             $27,628   $30,158   $32,919    $35,933    $39,223   $24,412
   Total Revenue           $79,240   $86,345   $94,097   $102,557   $111,789   $71,622
     Lease                  $3,600    $3,600    $3,600     $3,600     $3,600    $3,600
     Salary                $27,597   $29,025   $30,583    $32,285    $34,142   $25,145
Insurance                     $455      $455      $455       $455       $455      $455
     Liability Insurance    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400     $2,400     $2,400    $2,400
     Office Supplies          $200      $202      $204       $206       $208      $210
Maintenance/Gas             $1,000    $1,010    $1,020     $1,030     $1,041    $1,051
     Auto Insurance           $780      $788      $796       $804       $812      $820
     Internet                 $840      $840      $840       $840       $840      $883
ns                            $420      $424      $428       $433       $437      $441
     Inventory             $29,329   $32,014   $34,946    $38,145    $41,638   $22,759
     Advertising              $956      $966      $975     $1,332       $995      $956
Maintenance                  $250      $253      $255       $258       $260      $263
Maintenance                   $360      $364      $367       $371       $375      $378
     Utilities                $540      $545      $551       $556       $562      $568
   Total Expenses          $68,727   $72,885   $77,420    $82,714    $87,764   $59,929
Net Surplus (deficit)      $10,513   $13,460   $16,677    $19,843    $24,025   $11,693

3.3.4 - Visitor Center Analysis
Capital Requirement -
Initial Costs
Renovations                   $4,000
Equipment*                    $5,740
Children's Activities           $300
Website                       $5,000
Van                          $16,000
Total                        $31,040

Cash Budget
Lease                           $450
Inventory                    $19,160
Advertising**                 $2,060
Office Supplies                 $250
Liability Insurance             $600
Van Insurance                   $195
Utilities                        $68
Total Expenses               $22,782
Total Cash Need              $53,822

*Equipment Costs
  iPad                          $500
  Flat Screen TV                $400
  Small Display                 $240
  Big Display                   $600
  Kiosk                       $4,000
Administrator Salary         $12,000
**Advertising Costs
Radio                         $1,332
Brochures                       $500
Newspaper                       $114

                           2012      2013      2014      2015      2016         2017
Cash Budget - Moderate
Admission                $15,809   $16,362   $16,936   $17,529   $18,143   $18,778
Membership                $1,435    $1,464    $1,492    $1,521    $1,550    $1,579
Merchandise Sales        $19,603   $19,226   $19,899   $20,596   $21,318   $22,065
Guided Tours/Packages    $20,551   $21,271   $22,016   $22,787   $23,586   $24,412
Total Revenue            $57,397   $58,323   $60,343   $62,434   $64,596   $66,834
Lease                     $1,800    $1,800    $1,800    $1,800    $1,800    $1,800
Salary                   $26,623   $23,454   $23,855   $24,270   $24,700   $25,145
Volunteer Insurance         $455      $455      $455      $455      $455      $455
Liability Insurance       $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400
Office Supplies             $200      $202      $204      $206      $208      $210
Van Maintenance/Gas       $1,000    $1,010    $1,020    $1,030    $1,041    $1,051
Auto Insurance              $780      $788      $796      $804      $812      $820
Internet                    $420      $420      $420      $420      $420      $420
Telecommunications          $210      $212      $214      $216      $219      $221
Inventory                $19,831   $19,831   $20,526   $21,245   $21,989   $22,759
Advertising                 $956      $966      $975    $1,788      $995    $1,005
Webpage Maintenance         $250      $253      $255      $258      $260      $263
Kiosk Maintenance           $360      $364      $367      $371      $375      $378
Utilities                   $270      $273      $275      $278      $281      $284
Total Expenses           $55,555   $52,426   $53,563   $55,541   $55,954   $57,211
Net Surplus (deficit)     $1,842    $5,897    $6,781    $6,893    $8,643    $9,623

Capital Budget - Pessimistic
Initial Costs
Renovations                     $4,000
Equipment*                      $5,740
Children's Activities             $300
Website                         $5,000
Van                            $16,000
Total                          $31,040

Cash Budget
Lease                             $450
Inventory                      $10,210
Advertising**                   $2,060
Office Supplies                   $250
Liability Insurance               $105
Van Insurance                     $195
Utilities                          $68
Total Expenses                 $13,337
Total Cash Need                $44,377

*Equipment Costs
  iPad                            $500
  Flat Screen TV                  $400
  Small Display                   $240
  Big Display                     $600
  Kiosk                         $4,000
Administrator Salary           $12,000
**Advertising Costs
Radio                           $1,332
Brochures                         $500
Newspaper                         $114

                             2012      2013      2014      2015      2016      2017
Cash Budget -
     Admission             $14,980   $14,658   $14,343   $14,035   $13,733   $13,438
     Membership               $900      $880      $861      $843      $825      $807
     Merchandise Sales     $12,209   $11,946   $11,689   $11,438   $11,192   $10,952
Tours/Packages             $11,984   $11,726   $11,474   $11,228   $10,986   $10,750
   Total Revenue           $40,072   $39,211   $38,368   $37,543   $36,736   $35,947
     Lease                  $1,800    $3,600    $3,600    $3,600    $3,600    $3,600
     Salary                $18,366   $18,230   $18,096   $17,965   $17,837   $17,711
Insurance                     $455      $455      $455      $455      $455      $455
     Liability Insurance    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400
     Office Supplies          $200      $202      $204      $206      $208      $210
Maintenance/Gas             $1,000    $1,010    $1,020    $1,030    $1,041    $1,051
     Auto Insurance           $780      $788      $796      $804      $812      $820
     Internet                 $420      $420      $420      $420      $420      $420
ns                            $210      $212      $214      $216      $219      $221
     Inventory              $9,990    $9,775    $9,565    $9,360    $9,159    $8,962
     Advertising              $456      $461      $465    $1,788      $475      $479
Maintenance                  $250      $253      $255      $258      $260      $263
Maintenance                   $360      $364      $367      $371      $375      $378
     Utilities                $270      $273      $275      $278      $281      $284
   Total Expenses          $36,958   $38,441   $38,133   $39,150   $37,539   $37,254
Net Surplus (deficit)       $3,115      $770      $235   -$1,607     -$803   -$1,307

Capital Requirement - Optimistic
Initial Costs
Renovations                         $4,000
Equipment*                          $5,740
Children's Activities                 $300
Website                             $5,000
Van                                $16,000
Total                              $31,040

Cash Budget
Lease                                 $450
Inventory                          $26,869
Advertising**                       $1,946
Office Supplies                       $250
Liability Insurance                   $600
Van Insurance                         $195
Utilities                              $68
Total Expenses                     $30,377
Total Cash Need                    $61,417

*Equipment Costs
 iPad                                 $500
 Flat Screen TV                       $400
 Small Display                        $240
 Big Display                          $600
 Kiosk                              $4,000
Administrator Salary                 12000
**Advertising Costs
Radio                                1332
Brochures                             500
Newspaper                             114

                             2012      2013      2014       2015     2016         2017
Cash Budget - Optimistic
Admission                   17,825    19,457    21,238     23,183   25,305     27,622
Membership                   1,970     2,000     2,030      2,060    2,091      2,121
Merchandise Sales           31,817    34,730    37,910     41,381   45,170     49,305
Guided Tours/Packages       27,628    30,158    32,919     35,933   39,223     42,814
Total Revenue              $79,240   $86,345   $94,097   $102,557 $111,789   $121,863
Lease                        1,800     1,800     1,800      1,800    1,800      1,800
Salary                      30,127    31,787    33,598     35,576   37,734     40,091
Volunteer Insurance           $455      $455      $455       $455     $455       $455
Liability Insurance          2,400     2,400     2,400      2,400    2,400      2,400
Office Supplies                200       202       204        206      208        210
Van Maintenance/Gas          1,000     1,050     1,103      1,158    1,216      1,276
Auto Insurance                 780       788       796        804      812        820
Internet                       420       462       467        471      476        481
Telecommunications             210       212       214        216      219        221
Inventory                   29,329    29,329    32,014     34,946   38,145     41,638
Advertising                    956       966       975        500      995      1,005
Webpage Maintenance            250       253       255        258      260        263
Kiosk Maintenance              360       364       367        371      375        378
Utilities                      270       273       275        278      281        284
Total Expenses              68,557    70,339    74,924     79,438   85,375     91,321
Net Surplus (deficit)       10,682    16,006    19,174     23,119   26,414     30,542

3.3.5 - Train Property Analysis
Capital Requirement -
Initial Costs
Property Acquisition         $9,000
Renovations                  $4,000
Equipment*                  $10,640
Children's Activities          $300
Website                      $5,000
Van                         $16,000
Total                       $44,940

Cash Budget
    Mortgage                  1,127
    Inventory                19,160
    Advertising**             1,946
    Office Supplies             250
    Property Maintenance         50
    Liability Insurance         600
    Van Insurance               195
    Utilities                   135
  Total Expenses            $23,463
Total Cash Need             $68,403

*Equipment Costs
    iPad x 2                   $500
    Flat Screen TV x 2         $400
    Small Display              $240
    Big Display                $600
    Kiosk x 2                $4,000
Administrator Salary        $12,000
**Advertising Costs
  Radio                      $1,332
  Brochures                    $500
  Newspaper                    $114

                             2012      2013      2014      2015      2016      2017
Cash Budget –
     Admission             $15,809   $16,362   $16,936   $17,529   $18,143   $18,778
     Membership             $1,435    $1,464    $1,492    $1,521    $1,550    $1,579
     Merchandise Sales     $22,606   $23,398   $24,218   $25,066   $25,944   $26,853
Tours/Packages             $20,551   $21,271   $22,016   $22,787   $23,586   $24,412
   Total Revenue           $60,401   $62,495   $64,662   $66,903   $69,223   $71,622
     Lease                  $4,509    $4,509    $4,509    $4,509    $4,509    $4,509
     Salary                $23,066   $23,454   $23,855   $24,270   $24,700   $25,145
Maintenance                  $200      $200      $200      $200      $200      $200
Insurance                     $455      $460      $464      $469      $473     $478
     Liability Insurance    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400
     Office Supplies          $300      $303      $306      $309      $312     $315
Maintenance/Gas             $1,000    $1,010    $1,020    $1,030    $1,041    $1,051
     Van Insurance            $780      $788      $796      $804      $812     $820
     Internet                 $840      $840      $840      $840      $840     $840
ns                            $840      $848      $857      $865      $874     $883
     Inventory             $19,831   $20,526   $21,245   $21,989   $22,759   $23,557
     Advertising              $956      $966      $975    $1,788      $985     $995
Maintenance                  $250      $253      $255      $258      $260      $263
Maintenance                     $0        $0        $0        $0        $0        $0
     Utilities                $540      $545      $551      $556      $562     $568
   Total Expenses          $55,967   $57,101   $58,273   $60,288   $60,728   $62,023
Net Surplus (deficit)       $4,433    $5,394    $6,389    $6,616    $8,495    $9,599

Capital Requirement - Pessimistic
Initial Costs
Property Acquisition                 $9,000
Renovations                          $4,000
Equipment*                          $10,640
Children's Activities                  $300
Website                              $5,000
Van                                 $16,000
Total                               $44,940

Cash Budget
    Lease                             1,127
    Inventory                       $10,210
    Advertising**                      $614
    Office Supplies                    $250
    Property Maintenance                 50
    Liability Insurance                 600
    Van Insurance                       195
    Utilities                           135
  Total Expenses                    $13,181
Total Cash Need                     $58,121

*Equipment Costs
    iPad x 2                           $500
    Flat Screen TV x 2                 $400
    Small Display                      $240
    Big Display                        $600
    Kiosk x 2                        $4,000
Administrator Salary                $12,000
Advertising Costs
  Radio                              $1,332
  Newspaper                            $114
  Brochures                            $500

                             2012      2013      2014      2015      2016      2017
Cash Budget –
     Admission             $14,980   $14,658   $14,343   $14,035   $13,733   $13,438
     Membership               $900      $880      $861      $843      $825      $807
     Merchandise Sales     $12,209   $11,946   $11,689   $11,438   $11,192   $10,952
Tours/Packages             $11,984   $11,726   $11,474   $11,228   $10,986   $10,750
   Total Revenue           $40,072   $39,211   $38,368   $37,543   $36,736   $35,947
     Lease                  $4,509    $4,509    $4,509    $4,509    $4,509    $4,509
     Salary                $18,366   $18,230   $18,096   $17,965   $17,837   $17,711
Maintenance                  $200      $200      $200      $200      $200      $200
Insurance                     $455      $455      $455      $455      $455      $455
     Liability Insurance    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400
     Office Supplies          $300      $303      $306      $309      $312      $315
Maintenance/Gas             $1,000    $1,010    $1,020    $1,030    $1,041    $1,051
     Van Insurance            $780      $788      $796      $804      $812      $820
     Internet                 $840      $840      $840      $840      $840      $840
ns                            $840      $848      $857      $865      $874      $883
     Inventory              $9,990    $9,775    $9,565    $9,360    $9,159    $8,962
     Advertising              $956      $966      $975      $985      $995    $1,005
Maintenance                  $250      $253      $255      $258      $260      $263
Maintenance                     $0        $0        $0        $0        $0        $0
     Utilities                $540      $545      $551      $556      $562      $568
   Total Expenses          $41,427   $41,122   $40,825   $40,536   $40,255   $39,981
Net Surplus (deficit)      -$1,355   -$1,911   -$2,457   -$2,993   -$3,518   -$4,034

Capital Requirement - Optimistic
Initial Costs
Property Acquisition                $9,000
Renovations                         $4,000
Equipment*                         $10,640
Children's Activities                 $300
Website                             $5,000
Van                                $16,000
Total                              $44,940

Cash Budget
    Mortgage                        $1,127
    Inventory                      $26,869
    Advertising                     $1,946
    Office Supplies                   $250
    Property Maintenance               $50
    Liability Insurance               $240
    Van Insurance                     $195
    Utilities                         $135
  Total Expenses                   $30,812
Total Cash Need                    $75,752

Equipment Costs
    iPad x 2                          $500
    Flat Screen TV x 2                $400
    Small Display                     $240
    Big Display                       $600
    Kiosk x 2                       $4,000
Administrator Salary               $12,000
Advertising Costs
  Radio                             $1,332
  Newspaper                           $114
  Brochures                           $500

                             2012      2013      2014       2015       2016            2017
Cash Budget –
     Admission             $17,825   $19,457   $21,238    $23,183    $25,305         $27,622
     Membership             $1,970    $2,000    $2,030     $2,060     $2,091          $2,121
     Merchandise Sales     $31,817   $34,730   $37,910    $41,381    $45,170         $49,305
Tours/Packages             $27,628   $30,158   $32,919    $35,933    $39,223         $42,814
   Total Revenue           $79,240   $86,345   $94,097   $102,557   $111,789        $121,863
     Lease                  $5,299    $5,299    $5,299     $5,299     $5,299          $5,299
     Salary                $27,597   $29,025   $30,583    $32,285    $34,142         $36,169
Maintenance                  $200      $200      $200       $200       $200            $200
Insurance                     $455      $455      $455       $455       $455            $455
     Liability Insurance    $2,400    $2,400    $2,400     $2,400     $2,400          $2,400
     Office Supplies          $300      $330      $363       $399       $439            $483
Maintenance/Gas             $1,000     $500      $500        $500       $501            $502
     Van Insurance            $780     $858      $944      $1,038     $1,142          $1,256
     Internet                 $840     $840      $840        $840       $840            $840
ns                            $840      $924    $1,016     $1,118     $1,230          $1,353
     Inventory             $29,329   $32,014   $34,946    $38,145    $41,638         $45,450
     Advertising              $956      $966      $975       $985       $995          $1,005
Maintenance                  $250      $275      $303       $333       $366            $403
Maintenance                   $360      $396      $436       $479       $527            $580
     Utilities                $540      $594      $653       $719       $791            $870
   Total Expenses          $71,146   $75,076   $79,913    $85,195    $90,965         $97,265
Net Surplus (deficit)       $8,094   $11,269   $14,184    $17,362    $20,824         $24,598

          3.3.6 – Forecast
                                       Forecast – Pessimistic**
                              Cost     Price       2012      2013    2014      2015      2016   2017
  Coulterville Tourists                            9987      9772    9562      9356      9155   8959
Geotourism Center Visitors               2         7490      7329    7171      7017      6866   6719
         1/2 Day               10       20         150       147      143       140       137    134
         Full Day              20       30          75        73       72        70        69     67
          Lakes                15       20          75        73       72        70        69     67
          Winter               15       40          75        73       72        70        69     67
        Enthusiast             15       30          75        73       72        70        69     67
     Membership*                        27          33        32       32        31        30     30
          Shirts               25       28          75        73       72        70        69     67
      Water Bottles            15       17         150       147      143       140       137    134
           Maps                 3        5         150       147      143       140       137    134
         Beanies               15       17          75        73       72        70        69     67
          Books                10       12         300       293      287       281       275    269
          Snacks                1        2         449       440      430       421       412    403
          Drinks                2        2         524       513      502       491       481    470

          *See Membership Fee Distribution chart below
          **See Yosemite Visitor Growth Rates chart below for growth rate assumptions.

                                          Forecast – Moderate**
           Year              Cost   Price       2012      2013     2014       2015         2016    2017
  Coulterville Tourists                        10539     10908    11290      11686        12095   12519
Geotourism Center Visitors            2         7904      8181     8468       8764         9071    9389
         1/2 Day                     20         316       327        339       351          363     376
         Full Day                    30         158       164        169       175          181     188
          Lakes                      20          79        82         85        88           91      94
          Winter             15      40          79        82         85        88           91      94
        Enthusiast                   30         158       164        169       175          181     188
     Membership*                     29          50        51         52        53           54      55
          Shirts             25      28         237       245        254       263          272     282
      Water Bottles          15      17         237       245        254       263          272     282
           Maps               3       5         316       327        339       351          363     376
         Beanies             15      17         237       245        254       263          272     282
          Books              10      12         395       409        423       438          454     469
          Snacks              1       2         395       409        423       438          454     469
          Drinks              2       2         395       409        423       438          454     469

           *See Membership Fee Distribution chart below
           **See Yosemite Visitor Growth Rates chart below for growth rate assumptions.

                                        Forecast - Optimistic
           Year                Cost     Price        2012      2013     2014    2015      2016    2017
  Coulterville Tourists                             11140     12160    13274   14489     15816   17264
Geotourism Center Visitors                2          8912      9728    10619   11591     12653   13811
         1/2 Day                          20          356      389       425     464      506      552
         Full Day                         30          267      292       319     348      380      414
          Lakes                           20          178      195       212     232      253      276
          Winter                15        40           89       97       106     116      127      138
        Enthusiast                        30          178      195       212     232      253      276
     Membership*                          30           65       66        67      68       69       70
          Shirts                25        28          356      389       425     464      506      552
      Water Bottles             15        17          267      292       319     348      380      414
          Maps                   3         5          535      584       637     695      759      829
         Beanies                15        17          356      389       425     464      506      552
          Books                 10        12          535      584       637     695      759      829
           Clifs                 1         2          535      584       637     695      759      829
          Drinks                 2         2          535      584       637     695      759      829

          *See Membership Fee Distribution chart below
          **See Yosemite Visitor Growth Rates chart below for growth rate assumptions.

                Yosemite Visitor Expenditure Outside of Park
                                               2008          2009
           Avg Expenditure Per Person       $121.00       $191.00
           Guide Fees                           1%            1%
           Recreation                           2%            1%
           Admission                            1%            1%
           Other                                3%            4%
                                              $7.26        $11.46
           Total Rev                     $80,879.61 $127,669.47
           Coulterville's Rev*           $46,910.18 $74,048.29
           Average                                        $60,479
           St Deviation                                   $19,190
          *See 2009 Visitor Entrance Routes to Yosemite chart below.

                               Yosemite Visitor Growth Rates
                                                                        5 yr st     Avg %
     Year         # Visitors     % change  5 yr. mean        st dev      dev        Growth
        2010        3901408          4.39%      3.50%         4.33%       5.65%      -2.15%
        2009        3737472          8.92%      2.77%         4.38%       5.75%       9.16%
        2008        3431514          8.89%      0.41%         3.54%       4.96%
        2007        3151343         -2.82%    -1.27%          1.47%       1.76%
        2006        3242644         -1.86%    -0.75%          1.47%       1.57%
        2005        3304144          0.71%    -0.57%
        2004        3280911         -2.89%    -1.24%
        2003        3378664          0.50%    -1.19%
        2002        3361867         -0.20%    -1.62%
        2001        3368731         -0.95%    -2.09%
        2000        3400903         -2.65%    -2.66%
        1999        3493607         -2.66%    -2.66%
        1998        3589245

               2009 Visitor Entrance Routes to Yosemite
South Entrance                                                    1176877
Big Oak Flat                                                       972784
Total                                                             2149661
Total Yosemite Visitors                                           3737472
Percent Entering Near Coulterville                                   58%

Notes: These numbers help us determine about how many people will potentially
pass through Coulterville. Big Oak Flat is near the city of Groveland, while the
South Entrance includes those tourists who pass through Mariposa. Each of these
cities lies close enough to Coulterville for tourists to easily pass through as part of
their Yosemite vacation.

            Membership Fee Distribution
Membership Membership    # of       Percent Total
    Type       Fee    Members Distribution Revenue
  Student       $5         5         10.0%    25
 Individual    $15        20         40.0%   300
   Family      $20         8         16.0%   160
  Business     $30        10         20.0%   300
   Patron      $50         5         10.0%   250
  Lifetime    $200         2          4.0%   400
   Totals      n/a        50        100.0%  1435
 Avg. Rev
 p/Member    $28.70

Membership Membership    # of   Percent     Total
    Type       Fee    Members Distribution Revenue
  Student       $5         7     10.8%        35
 Individual    $15        25     38.5%       375
   Family      $20        10     15.4%       200
  Business     $30        12     18.5%       360
   Patron      $50         8     12.3%       400
  Lifetime    $200         3      4.6%       600
   Totals      n/a        65    100.0%      1970
Revenue per
  Member     $30.31

Membership Membership     # of   Percent     Total
    Type       Fee     Members Distribution Revenue
  Student       $5          4     11.4%        20
 Individual    $15         13     37.1%       195
   Family      $20          5     14.3%       100
  Business     $30          8     22.9%       240
   Patron      $50          4     11.4%       200
  Lifetime    $200          1      2.9%       200
   Totals      n/a         35    100.0%       955
Revenue per
  Member     $27.29

3.4.0 - Product Assessment and Market Viability
3.4.1 - Target Markets
Market Segments
       The John Muir Geotourism Center is a unique experience for travelers coming
from all over the world, interested in one or more of the following:
          Geotourism
          John Muir
          Conservation
          The Greater Yosemite Area
The Geotourism Center offers a variety of experiences, where people can get a greater
understanding of who John Muir was and why geotourism and conservation are
becoming increasingly important in today‘s environment. In an interview with James
Dion, Geotourism MapGuides Coordinator for National Geographic, he explained his
vision for the center as ―A holistic experience that will inspire visitors to make decisions
while traveling to the region that will help conserve and preserve the region‘s sense of
place and enhance benefits for local people.‖ Based on the findings in section one under
Table 1-Overview of Geotraveler Categories in Section, combined with the vision
of attracting a wide array of tourists as explained by Ken Pulvino (personal
communication, May 29, 2011), we have identified four target market segments. These
are both domestic and international target groups:
      Nature Loving Families: Families looking for an affordable and meaningful
       experience that can be shared and enjoyed by kids, youth, parents and
       grandparents alike.
      The Young John Muir: People interested in hiking the John Muir trail and living
       like John Muir did. People falling under this category are adventure-seeking
       hikers looking for experiences that can make them feel more connected to their
       surroundings. These are the geo-savvies from the geotraveler categories described
       in section
      Geotourists and National Geographic Followers: These people keep up on the
       latest ―trends,‖ and make sure they are respectful to the places they visit so they

        can be enjoyed by future generations to come. This category is upper middle
        class, to high-income individuals that could also be interested in glamping3. These
        are the urban sophisticates and good citizens from the geotraveler categories
        described in Section .
       Organizational Groups: These mainly domestic groups will be made up of camp,
        school, and church groups looking for educational tools for the children/youth,
        but can also be hiking groups, geologists, senior groups, etc. that are looking for a
        more in-depth educational experience on certain topics.
Not only do these target market segments identify different interests and activity levels
people wish to experience, but they are also suitable for targeting different age groups.
From the Yosemite National Park Survey done by the University of Idaho in the Summer
of 2009, the report highlights the largest combined age groups (with a 15 year span),
where the largest group of 37 percent were between 41-60 years of age, 19 percent were
15 years or younger, and seven percent were 66 or older. These age groups will all find
their fit with the four segments outlined above.

Domestic and International Target Markets
        After identifying the target market segments, we will now identify both domestic
and international markets that best fit the Coulterville and John Muir Geotourism Center
vision. Due to the lack of tourist records in Coulterville (could only obtain country
specific records for May 2011), the target market for tourists will follow Yosemite
domestic and international tourism trends. According to Mr. Hentz, Executive Director at
the Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau, the US is responsible for 75 percent of the
tourist traffic to Yosemite, while international tourists account for 25 percent (personal
communication, June 29, 2011). Within the US, California accounts for 62 percent of the
domestic traffic while the remaining 49 states make up 13 percent of the visitors
(University of Idaho, Parks Studies Unit 2010). Therefore, most of the domestic
marketing efforts will be directed towards California, especially in the beginning phases.
A main goal for the John Muir Geotourism Center is to capture the flow of tourists
coming from all corners of the world on their way to or from Yosemite. The international

 Glamping means glamorous camping. Satisfying your craving for the outdoors and your penchant for a
good meal, nice glass of wine, and a comfortable bed, for more information go to

target markets are based on our findings in the International Visitor Demographics
section 2.2.2 and we recommend these seven initial target markets, outlined in no specific
         1.   UK
         2.   Germany
         3.   France
         4.   Belgium
         5.   Canada
         6.   Australia
         7.   Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Denmark)
         These countries, besides the Scandinavian countries, were also the countries Mr.
Hentz stated as top countries to visit and invest in Yosemite (personal communication,
June 29, 2011). From May 2011 Coulterville visitor data4 (see Appendix 6), the UK,
Germany, France, Canada and Australia are on the top five countries that visited. This is
not significant alone, but does show that international tourists in the target market are
interested in Coulterville as a destination on their way to or from Yosemite.
         Based on the segmented target market groups and the domestic and international
target market decisions, we will further outline how to reach the desired markets, starting
with the message we want attract our tourists with.

3.4.2 - Value Proposition
         The value proposition for the John Muir Geotourism Center focuses on capturing
the target audience, and makes the center stand out among other vacation options in the
surrounding area. The goal of the value proposition is to make it reach a broad target
market; be it young or old, international or domestic, avid hiker or soon-to-be hiker, all
that are interested in sustainable traveling.

 Could only obtain one month of origin specific visitor data from the Coulterville visitor Center as data
gets sent to Mariposa County of Commerce for data processing. From there only amount of visitors can be

       The John Muir Geotourism Center offers explicit knowledge about the
       environmentalist John Muir and his tie to conservation. Our docents will
       accompany you in exploring the surrounding area while sharing their vast
       knowledge of the local environment, geotourism, and John Muir. You will also
       discover how you as a conscientious traveler can leave minimal footprints in the
       areas you visit, while continuing to make memories lasting a lifetime.
The value proposition captures the ultimate goal of the John Muir Geotourism Center and
is an essential part of the branding strategies. The John Muir Geotourism Center brand
will be explained in detail in the following section, providing validity to the value

3.4.3 - Branding
     Having a geotourism center in Coulterville is already a unique idea in itself, but it
is essential to recognize and identify what the John Muir Geotourism brand is. How does
the John Muir Geotourism Center differ from any other visitor center? First, we must
take a closer look at the idea of geotourism in order to get a clear understanding of how it
began and where it is headed.
               The idea of geotourism was brought to light in 2002 by the Travel
Industry Association of America and National Geographic. It was seen as a combination
of ecotourism and sustainable tourism, an idea of traveling to immaculate, untouched
areas in nature while maintaining respect, responsibility, and a low impact on the
environment. Geotourism focuses on the uniqueness of an area and works to sustain the
environment that makes it such a wonderful place to visit. Jonathan Tourtellot concludes
the results of a survey done by National Geographic on 3,300 traveling Americans‘ travel
       71 percent say it is important that our visits not damage the environment, and 61
percent say a travel experience is better when the destination preserves its natural,
cultural, and historic sites. Not surprisingly, we prefer our destinations unspoiled, and 54
percent of us feel there are fewer such places than there used to be. In short, the survey

found that the majority of those who spend significantly on travel care about their
destinations. (2003)
        From the same article, it is clear that National Geographic expects geotourism to
become an increasing trend, especially among travelers falling under the categories of
urban sophisticates and geo-savvies, two of eight main categories developed as an
outcome of the survey5. The long-term goal of geotourism is to be able to offer the same
experience to future generations as they offer today. To be able to walk down the same
path towards Yosemite that John Muir once walked in the mid-1800s and experience the
feelings of discovery and amazement are opportunities that can only be offered through
care, appreciation, and respect for the natural environment in the Coulterville area. This
idea is not far-fetched; it can be done by maintaining the character of nature as well as
improving its sustainability.
        To help maintain the natural beauty in Coulterville and be sure the John Muir
experience can be preserved for many more years, the Geotourism Center can utilize the
―virtuous circle‖, a term used commonly with eco-tourism centers and areas. The idea of
the virtuous circle states that revenues coming from tourism will provide local incentive
to protect what tourists are coming to see (Geotourism in Vermont‘s, 2011). By offering
docent tours, clothing, and accessories in the Geotourism Center, as well as other ways to
donate to the area, the Geotourism Center gives the tourists an opportunity to show their
appreciation for the center‘s efforts in sustaining and sharing the surrounding area. With
the virtual circle, the John Muir Geotourism Center incorporates a sense of place, sustains
local buildings, and preserves the local culture.
                 One factor of geotourism that should not be left out that coincides with the
fundamentals of ecotourism is the education of the environment (Merg, 2007). As
previously mentioned, through docent tours offered by the Geotourism Center, it is
possible to offer a unique and educational experience. By communicating awareness and
offering in-depth knowledge of the surrounding areas in Coulterville, these docents can
help lessen negative impacts on the environment. Tourists who become more aware of
what kind of long-term effects their actions can have on the environment are less inclined

5 Although much research exists from around the globe on geotourism, the definition often differs from that
of National Geographic. Therefore, National Geographic resources are the most accurate to use for this

to do so again and become more sensitized to environmental issues. These teachings are
similar to the philosophies and ideas that John Muir wrote about while traveling from San
Francisco into Yosemite.

John Muir
       One of the primary goals of the John Muir Geotourism Center is to share the John
Muir experience. This means that the ideas and life of John Muir becomes a large part of
the Geotourism Center‘s brand. Respected by nature lovers around the world, John
Muir‘s view towards the natural environment and appreciation of everything around him
is a feeling and experience that still stands true today. John Muir‘s impact in the
Northern and Central California region is still relevant and can be shared by millions of
new international and domestic travelers each year.
       A large part of John Muir‘s relevance in the Coulterville area is the John Muir
Highway. Recently, Ken and Teri Pulvino were successful in renaming an 8-mile portion
of the J132 to the John Muir Highway. This portion of J132 begins in Coulterville and
leads North East towards Yosemite National Park. This route allows John Muir followers
to travel in the footsteps of his journey towards Yosemite. It also allows tourists who are
not familiar with John Muir to learn about a pioneer of conservation and appreciation for
the natural environment. By offering John Muir‘s writings in ―My First Summer in the
Sierra‖, tourists can have the unique opportunity of walking the John Muir path while
simultaneously reading his unique and insightful philosophies on the same area. Because
John Muir passed through Coulterville on his way to Yosemite, stating ―the scenery was
enchanting and we allowed ourselves ample time to sponge it up‖ (John Muir Highway,
2011), having a John Muir Geotourism Center in this town is a way of paying respect to
what John Muir accomplished by passing on his teachings and his love for Coulterville
and its surrounding area.
       John Muir was known for his admiration of the natural world through his
writings. Throughout his lifetime, he published 300 articles and twelve books that
described his travels in detail. While all of his writings did not focus solely on the
Yosemite area and Mariposa County, they offered insight towards the relationship

between ―human culture and wild nature as one of humility and respect for all life‖. John
Muir‘s domestic impact is much larger than many people might realize.
          One of his most revered accomplishments is co-founding the Sierra Club. The
Sierra Club is one of the largest environmental organizations with a mission to ―To
explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the
responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to
protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment‖. Robert
Underwood Johnson, a U.S. writer and diplomat once spoke of John Muir by saying ―his
countrymen owe him gratitude as the pioneer of our system of national parks‖. Since
their founding in 1892, the Sierra Club has advocated for additional protection of
National Forests, encouraged the development of alternative energy, and protected
natural rivers by opposing the building of dams. With the support of the Sierra Club, the
John Muir Geotourism Center has an opportunity to attract a large amount of domestic
attention and support as a place that value and promotes similar ideologies (Sierra Club,
          The reputation of John Muir does not stop in California, nor does it stop in the
United States. His morals and philosophies are greatly recognized overseas, especially in
his home country of Scotland and the United Kingdom. Located in John Muir‘s
birthplace of Dunbar, Scotland is the John Muir Museum. Regarded as a 5 star visitor
attraction by the Scottish Tourist Board and of Gold standard by the Green Tourism
Business Scheme, the John Muir Museum aims to inspire others by teaching the life and
works of John Muir. This museum shares similar goals that the John Muir Geotourism
Center hopes to accomplish. Promoting the life of John Muir, encouraging the
participation in environmental conservation, and inspiring people to follow in the
footsteps of John Muir are shared goals capable of changing our natural environment for
the better (John Muir Trust, 2011).
          A prominent partner in supporting the development of the John Muir Museum
in Dunbar, Scotland is the John Muir Trust. Located in Scotland as well, the John Muir
Trust is a leading charity in the United Kingdom, devoted to land conservation and
protection not only for the wild life but for people to enjoy as well. In the past twenty-
eight years, the John Muir Trust has secured over sixty thousand acres of land. Through

their Conservation Program, they have inspired over fifty thousand people to discover,
explore, conserve, and appreciate the wildlife and natural environment in the United
Kingdom. Almost every week the John Muir Trust hosts a conservation work party or a
celebration of conservation activities in different areas belonging to the John Muir Trust
Estates6. Through these activities, the John Muir Trust is raising awareness but more
importantly increasing donations. Increased funding through donations allows the John
Muir Trust to continue growing as a leading charity in the United Kingdom and it allows
them the opportunity to continue their mission of land conservation. For additional
funding, the John Muir Trust has an online shop where they sell clothing, calendars,
diaries, and other miscellaneous nature related cards and photos (John Muir Trust, 2011).
These types of revenue generating activities are similar to those the John Muir
Geotourism Center plans to incorporate. While charitable donations are happily
accepted, the Geotourism Center cannot depend on them alone. By offering additional
John Muir and nature related items, we can generate a more dependable stream of
income. The international appreciation for John Muir offers a unique opportunity for the
John Muir Geotourism Center.
              The brand of John Muir is recognized both domestically and internationally.
The question to be asked is how can this brand attract domestic and international
―buyers‖ and deliver a message of adventure, conservation, and admiration for the natural
environment. The John Muir Geotourism Center can offer a more eco-friendly way of
tourism by utilizing the three values conveyed in its message. It will highlight the beauty
of the area surrounding Coulterville and it will educate visitors in land preservation,
admiration, and conservation. The John Muir story is one that inspires an everyday
tourist to be an avid lover of nature. With the support of being located on the John Muir
Highway, the Geotourism Center will focus on selling the legend of John Muir. As a
Scottish born naturalist who emigrated to the United States, John Muir came from
overseas to find adventure and untouched beauty in the unique landscape that is Northern
California, Mariposa County, and more specifically Coulterville. The Geotourism Center
can offer an opportunity for international tourists to experience John Muir‘s adventure
and share his values and philosophies on land preservation and nature‘s natural beauty

    For more information on the John Muir Trust Estates, visit

(John Muir‘s Birthplace, 2011).
       The John Muir brand consists of loving nature, living the experience, and
preserving the wildlife. While this brand is only the outside layer to our Geotourism
Center, the message that we deliver is what is really important. The message that the
John Muir Geotourism Center delivers should coincide with the overall values of John
Muir. There are four main values held by John Muir: The aesthetic value of appreciating
the surrounding beauty through all of one‘s senses, the cultural value of maintaining the
area‘s culture and way of life, the ecological value of preserving and maintaining the
ways of nature, and the egocentric value of focusing on personal fulfillment and
satisfaction. These four values are the foundation of what John Muir stood for and they
are also the foundation for our Geotourism Center. The values not only embody John
Muir, but also offer guidance on how to capture the John Muir experience and become
more involved with nature.
       Another message the John Muir Geotourism Center aims to deliver is that
Mariposa County has much to offer outside of Yosemite National Park. While the park is
one of the world‘s greatest natural wonders, there is even more outside of the park to
experience. Our goal as a geotourism center is to attract tourists coming in and out of
Yosemite, therefore we are not discouraging people from visiting the park. We want to
incorporate the John Muir Highway and Geotourism Center in their visit because before
seeing Yosemite, John Muir fell in love with the park‘s surrounding areas.

3.4.4 - Social Networking
National Geographic Geotourism Alliance
       An important factor in the success of the John Muir Geotourism Center is the
social network with which it is involved in. While the idea of geotourism is still young
and growing, there are many organizations and networks around the world that share
similar goals and principles. These networks can serve as resources for sharing the
philosophies of John Muir and letting both domestic and international tourists know of
the John Muir Geotourism Center. The three main organizations and networks are the
National Geographic Geotourism Alliance, the European Geoparks, and the Mariposa

County Tourism Bureau. With one of these being an international organization and the
other two being strictly domestic, the John Muir Geotourism Center will become a part of
an international network along with a well-known ―sight to see‖ when visiting Yosemite.
       The National Geographic Geotourism Alliance was formed in 2008 at the
Geotourism Challenge Summit. The summit was attended by about seventy different
private firms, non-government organizations, and international agencies. These
representatives meet annually with the goal to expand the geotourism community. They
believe that the geotourism community should be an inclusive rather than an exclusive
community. With the goal to expand geotourism, the National Geographic Geotourism
Alliance wants to make sure that the geotourism areas within the alliance avoid the
pitfalls commonly associated with ecotourism. As stated earlier, geotourism is thought to
be a mesh between ecotourism and sustainable tourism. Geotourism hopes to take the
best from both and discard the downfalls that each encountered. Ecotourism was seen as
an idea that appealed to the minority of travelers. As Leonard Cordiner, CEO of said, ―most people don‘t want hard beds and bad food, they want to
enjoy themselves‖ (National Geographic, 2008). While the majority of tourists care about
the area they visit and the preservation of the area, they do not want to sleep on the
ground and eat brown rice for a few days just to prove it. The Geotourism Alliance
believes it is possible to make a difference in land conservation and preservation without
roughing it. Instead, it is more necessary to gain support from local businesses and
people and increase their support in the conservation projects. The more the townspeople
get involved, the more they can get back. One of the main partners working to develop
the John Muir Geotourism Center, the Sierra Business Council, has already acquired a
National Geographic Geotourism Charter. They plan to file the Geotourism Center under
their charter and showcase it for other geotourism charters to replicate. With increased
participation comes increased activity and tourism, which leads to increased revenue for
the Geotourism Center and its surrounding area. Therefore, the more participation and
attention we can get to the John Muir Geotourism Center through utilizing the National
Geographic Geotourism Alliance, the more the town of Coulterville will prosper. The
message of the Geotourism Center should be targeted at all market segments, both young
and old, because today‘s backpackers are tomorrow‘s high-end tourists.

       As mentioned earlier, the Geotourism Challenge Summit was attended by many
private firms. The Geotourism Alliance will serve as a beneficial bridge between the
many non-profit geotourism organizations, the private sector providers, and the tourism
market. There are many private funds available that are used to help grow the geotourism
community. Recently, there have been competitive challenges that encourage innovation
in the world of geotourism by offering cash prizes and private funding for the top voted
idea. For example, National Geographic and Ashoka Changemakers have hosted the
Geotourism Challenge: Power of Place – Sustaining the Future of Destinations. The
three winners of this competition received $5,000 each. While that is only a start for such
grand ideas as a carbon neutral airline, the publicity and attention is worthwhile. The
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is currently working with the Multilateral
Investment Fund (IMF), Ashoka Changemakers, and National Geographic in the Latin
America and Caribbean area to support innovative geotourism project initiatives
(Changemakers, 2011). With a mission to save the coastal and freshwater areas, their
goal of finding solutions that protect the environment while supporting and strengthening
the local residents and their culture are in line with what the John Muir Geotourism
Center hopes to accomplish. These geotourism challenges are a great way to attract
attention from private investment firms such as the IMF. The more private funding that
goes into geotourism areas and initiative - not just into the John Muir Geotourism Center
- the larger the geotourism community grows. Pamela Flaherty, CEO of the Citigroup
Foundation, said ―official financial flows are dwarfed by lending from private
institutions; geotourism needs the expertise that these firms can provide‖ (National
Geographic, 2011). By utilizing the National Geographic Geotourism Alliance, the John
Muir Geotourism Center can not only get more domestic and international attention from
members of the geotourism community and tourists interested in learning more about
geotourism, but it can also have access to private firms interested in getting involved with
geotourism initiatives in the United States.

European Geoparks
               Internationally, the concept of geotourism is picking up a lot of speed.

There are currently 43 geoparks throughout Europe. These geoparks are areas that work
to conserve land, culture, and heritage through sustainable developments. Within the
geopark territories, organizations work to maintain and support sustainable economic
development. These geoparks all operate within a network of electronic communication,
coordination meetings, and an annual conference that allows them to share different
innovative projects and development ideas throughout the territories. The European
Geoparks Network (EGN) signed an agreement with the United Nations Educational,
Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), giving them full responsibility to
manage membership within UNESCO‘s global network of geoparks in Europe
(UNESCO, 2011). The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) was created by UNESCO. It
is a non-governmental, international, non-profit, voluntary network with a goal to
influence and encourage communities throughout the world in conserving and sustaining
economic and cultural development. Currently, the GGN has over 55 geoparks in 18
countries. The United States does not have any geoparks or geotourism areas within the
GGN (Global Geoparks Network, 2011). With the development of the John Muir
Geotourism Center, the GGN would have much to offer such as international attention
and it would allow the Geotourism Center and the greater Sierra Nevada an opportunity
to discuss innovative projects being done overseas that could help with the progression of
the geotourism community.

Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau
       Aside from the National Geographic Geotourism Alliance, the Yosemite
Mariposa Tourism Bureau (YMTB) is the closest network to the John Muir Geotourism
Center. The Tourism Bureau works with Yosemite National Park, the hotels, restaurants,
and storefronts throughout Mariposa County. The Yosemite Mariposa Tourism bureau‘s
vast network is made up of the businesses that make Mariposa County and Yosemite
National Park what it is today. According to Mr. Hentz, Executive Director at the
YMTB, their goal is to offer more for tourists outside Yosemite National Park. Currently
the ratio of tourists between Mariposa and Coulterville is about 80/20. Rather than
adjusting that ratio to something like 70/30, Mr. Hentz would prefer to increase the
overall tourism numbers. Mr. Hentz also acknowledged that Yosemite Park is the ―big

gorilla‖ in the picture; however a product like the Geotourism Center within Mariposa
County allows the YMTB to diversify their message, attract more attention, and increase
overall tourism (J. Hentz, personal communication, June 29, 2011). The Tourism Bureau
can assist in highlighting the John Muir Geotourism Center as a diversified experience of
a visit to Yosemite. The YMTB can serve as a resource for the Geotourism Center
because of its own, already well established, network and its prior experience and success
throughout Mariposa County.
       In gathering information for the development of a geotourism center in
Coulterville, the YMTB has already proven to be a significant resource in regards to
tourist information within Mariposa County. Currently the Tourism Bureau is working
with Coulterville‘s Chamber of Commerce in running the Visitor Center. The Bureau
makes sure to tell the Visitor Center about tourism influxes, what fliers to hand out, and
what activities to recommend for that specific time of year. As things progress, it will be
essential for the Geotourism Center to have a constant line of communication open with
the Tourism Bureau. Currently the communication between the Tourism Bureau and the
Visitor Center is sub-par. The Visitor Center‘s method of recording tourist statistics,
such as who comes to visit Coulterville and where they came from, is old-fashioned.
Having people merely sign a book does not help keep track of tourism within the area
and does not enable the Visitor Center to keep tourists updated on upcoming events
within the area. Also, there are no records in the Visitor Center before 2008. To ensure
its success, the Geotourism Center‘s communication with the YMTB and its method of
recording tourist statistics could be vastly improved by implementing a digitized system.
The idea of combining the Visitor Center, the Coulterville Museum, and the Geotourism
Center is a viable option. Mr. Hentz stated that there are benefits to having everything in
one place. Visitation to each area will suffer if such tourist buildings are spaced far apart
from each other.
          On an international level, the Tourism Bureau can also serve as a dependable
resource. Yosemite National Park attracts a lot of international tourists, mainly from
Australia, UK, Germany, France, and South Korea. Because of this international
attraction, the Tourism Bureau is in contact with many overseas tourism companies. The
Tourism Bureau hires a receptive operator that communicates and works with the tour

operators overseas (J. Hentz, personal communication, June 29, 2011). If this receptive
operator can recommend visiting the Geotourism Center to the tour operators overseas, it
will diversify the Tourism Bureau‘s message as well as attract international attention to
the Geotourism Center. Along with being a link of communication to overseas tourism
companies, the Tourism Bureau can also provide information about activities and events
between the visitor centers in surrounding areas such as Groveland and Mariposa.
       The John Muir Geotourism Center will have much to offer the Tourism Bureau in
regards to offering more to the tourists who visit Yosemite and the greater Mariposa
County and in return the Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau will have much to offer the
Geotourism Center, such as experience, information, and guidance. While the Tourism
Bureau has already proven successful without the Geotourism Center, the success of the
Geotourism Center has a much better chance if it recognizes and utilizes the Tourism
Bureau as a part of its social network.

Web Presence
       In the same way that the success of the John Muir Geotourism Center will depend
on a strong social network, a strong web presence is essential in making sure the Center
gains domestic and international attention. Domestically, travel agents are a thing of the
past. Tourists depend primarily on the internet to get information on a certain area and
what there is to do there. The ITB World Travel Trends Report suggests Americans who
use social media websites such as Facebook also rely on the internet for travel and tourist
information. With a certain destination in mind, they research hotels, restaurants, and
things to do on websites such as Travelocity, TripAdvisor, and Expedia. However, only
20% of adult leisure travelers, about 30 million, rely on social websites for travel
information and recommendations (ITB World Travels, 2011). Similar to those who do
not use any form of social media, these travelers rely on traditional sources for
researching a trip, such as friends, family, and brochures. The John Muir Geotourism
Center should have its own website that includes pictures of the Geotourism Center, a
calendar of upcoming events, a sign up page to go on a docent tour, information on John
Muir and Coulterville, and other miscellaneous material that will attract tourism to the
town of Coulterville and the Geotourism Center.

       In order to direct internet traffic to the John Muir Geotourism website, we can
utilize other websites within our social network. According to a Google Analytics report
on the Sierra Nevada Geotourism website (, it receives
about 15,000 visitors per month. While the majority of the page views came from the
United States, it is important to note that a portion of views came from countries such as
United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Australia. Posting a link to the John Muir
Geotourism Center on Sierra Nevada Geotourism‘s website would attract attention and
pique the interest of routine visitors to the geotourism site. Even if only 40% of the
visitors click on the link to learn about the Geotourism Center and upcoming events, that
is already over 6,000 views per month. Because the Sierra Business Council is a part of
the National Geographic Geotourism Alliance, we will have a link on National
Geographic‘s website. Due to the high amount of traffic that goes through National
Geographic‘s website, this would have a direct effect on the Geotourism Center‘s
       Besides piggybacking internet traffic from our social network, the John Muir
Geotourism Center can also participate in co-hosting events, discussions, and other
activities that involve conservation, environment sustainability, and adventure seeking
(docent hikes). In accordance with the Economic Vitality Strategy and Implementation
Plan for Mariposa County, the John Muir Geotourism Center could partner with
neighboring visitor centers to host S.M.E.R.F. events in order to help increase off-season
tourism. These activities and events would promote the John Muir Geotourism Center
while creating a stronger tie to surrounding visitor centers and the Yosemite Mariposa
Tourism Bureau. Assuming the Geotourism Center will receive a fair amount of internet
traffic, it would be in our best interest to help support the surrounding area by promoting
local businesses and events in and around Coulterville that have to do with outside
activities such as hikes (especially in and around the Bean Creek Preserve), land
preservation, cleaning up nature areas, etc. Along with providing information on the
surrounding events, the Geotourism Center‘s website will provide information on
surrounding hiking trails along with extensive information on the John Muir Trail that
leads into Yosemite National Park. This provided information would be a way to link the
Geotourism Center website with the John Muir Highway website

( Available domain names that could be used for the John
Muir Geotourism Center are,,, and Giving the John
Muir Geotourism Center a web presence is not only essential in gaining international
attention and attracting tourists but it is also necessary for creating a stronger social
network between the Geotourism Center, surrounding visitor centers, and the National
Geographic Geotourism Alliance.

3.5.0 - Competitive Analysis
        The John Muir Geotourism Center is able call itself a unique place from a
marketing perspective. The main reason being that there are no geotourism centers in the
United States at this time. Other than what is being planned in Mariposa County, Reid
Rogers and the Greater Yellowstone Geotourism Stewardship Council are developing the
Teton Scenic Byways Geotourism Center. According to James Dion, Geotourism
MapGuides Coordinator, Reid and the Council plan to construct a 5,000 square foot
scenic byways center that will include interpretive displays, educate visitors about the
greater Yellowstone region, and display art from William Henry Jackson and Thomas
Moran, both of whom focus their paintings on the beauty that is Yellowstone (Dion,
personal communication, 2011). The Teton Geotourism Center is funded through an
FHA grant of $616,000 and $424,000 in matching funds from the Driggs Urban Renewal
District. With an architect already on board, this project is in its design phase with
construction scheduled to begin as early as Fall 2011 (City of Driggs, 2011). Two
geotourism areas in the United States that closely resemble our efforts and intentions with
the John Muir Geotourism Center are Four Corners Region geotourism area and the
Northern Kingdom geotourism area. These two are relevant to Coulterville and the
Geotourism Center because of their target markets and educational hiking packages that
promote the geotourism experience. More on these two geotourism areas can be found in
section of our business plan.
        Internationally, there are no constructed geotourism centers, but programs such as
the United Nations Environment Program are working to research and promote
sustainable lifestyles. There is also the European Center for Ecological and Agricultural

Tourism that focuses on small scale tourism with a niche in organic farming and rural
areas across Europe (UNEP, 2011). Similar to the United States, there are no centers in
Europe that help promote Geotourism and the geopark system. As previously mentioned,
the National Geographic Geotourism Alliance and the Global Geotourism Network have
geotourism destinations in almost every corner of the map. These are areas in which one
can admire the preserved beauty of the land, hike through the natural trails, and become
educated about the land and what its conservation can accomplish (Global Geoparks
Network, 2011). However, the John Muir Geotourism Center plans to not only promote
the values that these geotourism areas depend on, but to take that idea a step further and
educate visitors of Coulterville and Mariposa County about the history of the land, the
legend of John Muir, and the generosity that goes into sustaining such a wonderful place.
With the success of the John Muir Geotourism Center, we hope to encourage sustainable
development and land preservation education. This addition in Coulterville will also
encourage participation within the community, attract tourism, and maintain the
exquisiteness of that region.
       Although there are no officially recognized geotourism centers in the United
States or internationally, this does not mean there is no competition in the surrounding
Mariposa County and Tuolumne County area capable of taking market share from the
John Muir Geotourism Center. Potential competitors can be divided into three areas
where tourists might substitute for visiting the Geotourism Center: the Visitor Center in
Coulterville, activities and amenities in surrounding towns, and all that Yosemite
National Park has to offer.
       The Visitor Center could be considered a competitor to the Geotourism Center for
tourists passing through Coulterville on their way to another town or to Yosemite
National Park. If tourists are just stopping for a bite to eat and to see what the town has to
offer, they may not see the value in stopping at both the Visitor Center and the
Geotourism Center. This threat could be minimized by cooperation between the two
entities. If both entities see the value in suggesting the other center to tourists dropping
by, this could be seen as an effective use of word-of-mouth marketing. For people
traveling to Coulterville specifically for the John Muir Geotourism Center, the Visitor
Center would not be seen as a threat or competitor. Working with the Visitor Center

rather than its competitor would be advantageous to both parties.
       Looking at Coulterville as a town, its lack of proper infrastructure, cell phone
reception, accommodations, internet and restaurant options, tourists might be deterred
from visiting the town altogether. Road regulations in Coulterville make it illegal for
large buses to drive through the town and utilize J132 as a gateway to Yosemite. This
prevents large groups of tourists for making the Geotourism Center a stopping destination
on their way to Yosemite National Park. These factors are viewed as indirect
competition that does not directly offer substitutes to the Geotourism Center. However,
they may prevent visitors to Mariposa County and Yosemite from visiting Coulterville
and the Geotourism Center.
       Neighboring towns that have better accommodations, cell phone reception,
internet access, and more activities and information offered through their visitor centers
and are larger in size, could impact the number of people visiting Coulterville. Towns
such as Mariposa and Groveland that have more stores and a broader variety of activities
may be more appealing to tourists as stopping places on their way to Yosemite. However,
if the Geotourism Center is marketed appropriately, people may see this as enough of an
attraction to stop by Coulterville instead of other towns.
       Yosemite National Park is also a competitor to the Geotourism Center, as it is the
main reason people travel to this area. When people are on vacation, time and money are
of importance and they influence decisions made by travelers. Some people might not see
the value in stopping in Coulterville to visit a geotourism center when they can stay at the
Awahanee hotel in Yosemite. Offering miles worth of beautiful hiking, Yosemite
National Park poses a threat to what the Geotourism Center offers in regards to our
geotourism hiking packages. It should be considered, however, that other families will
appreciate staying in a town with cheaper accommodations and daily activities such as
educational walks and half day hikes.
       It is not the goal of the John Muir Geotourism Center to directly compete with
Yosemite National Park and the surrounding visitor centers. As previously mentioned,
the Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau would like to work with the Geotourism Center
in diversifying its message. They would like to offer more to tourists coming to see
Yosemite, instead of staying for two days and just seeing inside the Park. The YMTB

hopes visitors extend their stay and take the time to visit the surrounding area.
        In order to minimize these threats, the Geotourism Center needs to offer well-
rounded packages that are worth more to the consumers in terms of experience gained
than the money spent. Also, the people of the town need to be accommodating to tourists
so they have a pleasant experience visiting the town and also spend money at local
restaurants, cafes and shops. The town‘s infrastructure needs to be more accommodating
to tourists. Working with the Department of Transportation in allowing larger vehicles
through Coulterville and providing internet access in more places are two ways in which
visitors would be more inclined to visit.

Porter's Five Forces: Analyzing the Tourism Industry Structure
        When considering market viability and competition, it is helpful to define the
industry structure within Michael Porter‘s Five Forces Model. Using such a model will
allow the dynamics of the tourism industry‘s competitive structure to be characterized in
an illustrative display.
        The travel or tourism industry is a worldwide, expansive group of businesses,
organizations, and individuals that essentially market destination places. Various global
destinations may be close substitutes for each other in traveler‘s minds, depending on
various factors such as budget, interests (leisure, adventure, family oriented fun, group
travel, etc.), or season. As discussed throughout this paper, Yosemite National Park is a
highly regarded travel destination for domestic and international tourists. Once travelers
choose Yosemite as their travel destination, every area within and surrounding the park
essentially competes for visitor attention and funds. When considering the development
of a geotourism center, small, off-the-beaten towns like Coulterville must identify how
they measure up in terms of industry attractiveness and long-run profitability. In the
context of Porter‘s strategy we will analyze the five competitive forces on the following

                                      New Market Entrants
                           Ease of Entry: LOW for Geotourism Center;
                           HIGH for Tour Operators

                           Barriers to Entry: Cultural, historical, geographic
                           significance needed for Geotourism Center;
                           Organized, well trained guide/docent program
                           needed for Tour Operators

                           Incumbent resistance: MODERATE for
                           Geotourism Center; HIGH for Tour Operators

    Supplier Power                                                                  Buyer Power

Brand reputation: LOW for              Competitive Rivalry                    Tourist choice in travel:
Geotourism Center; HIGH for                                                   HIGH
Tour Operators boasting              # and size of firms: 4 Primary
Yosemite and High Sierra             Visitor/ Learning Centers in             Tourist size: 3+ million
Tours                                Yosemite National Park, dozens
                                     of smaller history/ museum/              Frequency of travel: HIGH
Geographical coverage:               visitor/learning centers scattered       for domestic tourists, LOW
MODERATE for Geotourism              through the Sierras (2 already in        for international tourists.
Center; LOW for tours out of         Coulterville)
Coulterville (assuming tours         Industry size and trends:                Scheduling: HIGH (greatly
will not enter the National          Yosemite visitation is strong and        influenced by seasonality)
Park)                                tour operators and centers are
                                     increasingly competitive                 Product & Service
Product & Service Quality:                                                    Importance: HIGH for all
HIGH for Geotourism Center;          Differentiation, strategy: Low           tourists, regardless of origin,
UNKNOWN for tour                     cost, not crowded with tourists,         length of stay and tour
                                     John Muir significance
operators in Coulterville                                                     preferences


                           Alternative Destinations: HIGH for learning
                           center (i.e. museums & visitor centers); HIGH
                           for more central, accessible locations; HIGH for
                           activities (backpacking, camping, etc.)

                           Price & Quality: LOW for Geotourism Center;
                           HIGH for outdoor activities

                           Infrastructure & Technology: HIGH for
                           Geotourism Center; HIGH for Tour Operators

                                                                                                93 - Diagram Analysis
        The threat of new entrants to the Geotourism Center industry or the Tour Operator
industry in the High Sierras can raise the level of competition for the John Muir
Geotourism Center and the Muir Experience, thereby reducing its attractiveness to
travelers. We believe the Geotourism Center concept in the High Sierras has high entry
barriers, while the tour operator industry is much easier to enter and therefore has a low
barrier to entry.
        The availability of substitute products (or in our case ―experiences‖) can lower the
potential attractiveness and profitability of the Geotourism Center and associated
‗experience‘ tours. The presence of moderately similar substitutes exists in the form of
learning centers, visitor centers and museums already scattered throughout the High
Sierras. Tour operators that offer a ‗Sierra Experience‘ are also abundant, making the
substitution of a trip to Coulterville with a trip elsewhere in the region highly likely.
Even individual backpackers and hikers may be able to trace John Muir‘s footsteps on
their own.
        Aside from the initial set-up of the Geotourism Center, the docents (―tour
operators‖) are considered the suppliers in our geotourism industry. The cost of
maintaining quality docents and services is not expected to have a significant impact on
center‘s profitability; therefore the bargaining power is low.
        Domestic and international travelers and tourists create the demand within this
industry; therefore they are considered the buyers. Travelers have a very high bargaining
power within our model because there are many ‗sellers‘ or choices for their travel
        Competitive rivalry in terms of learning or visitor centers: four Primary Visitor/
Learning Centers exist in Yosemite National Park, and dozens of smaller history,
museum, visitor, and learning centers are scattered throughout the Sierras. In addition,
Coulterville itself already has two centers: a visitor center and a history museum. For the
tourism industry and for national parks, domestic and international interest in Yosemite is
strong and tour operators and centers are increasingly competitive. A key differentiation
point for Coulterville and a geotourism center located there is that the area may be a

lower costing, less crowded, culturally significant destination place. In addition, John
Muir‘s significance to the region is a large differentiation point.

3.5.1 - Marketing Strategy
        The John Muir Geotourism Center falls under Porter‘s Generic Strategies as a
differentiation strategy, where the advantage is having product uniqueness while still
reaching a broad set of consumers. As is explained in the value proposition, the John
Muir Geotourism Center offers an experience that is perceived as something new and
different to what is currently being offered and this will be used as a silver lining in the
marketing strategy. This section will further analyze the marketing mix consisting of the
four P‘s of marketing: product, price, promotion (domestic and international) and
placement. - The Product
        In our conversations with the primary stakeholders about the Geotourism Center,
it became evident that a true visionary blue print of the prospective Geotourism Center
did not yet exist. In line with our value proposition in section, we believe a
―product‖ vision will help determine the priorities of the Geotourism Center and the John
Muir Experience as a whole. The details of the physical space and the John Muir
experience are important aspects of the evolution of the project and of how the product is
positioned. As the center is able to add more features and build a bigger ―product‖, it will
be helpful to refer to the initial vision and priorities of this blue print.

                              Geotourism Center Vision
        Welcome to the John Muir Geotourism Center. The center will be designed to
encourage visitors to view the exhibits chronologically, beginning with exhibits of the
early life of John Muir and the events that led him to venture into the great High Sierras.
Next, visitors will proceed through time in the life of John Muir, with the spirit of
geotourism in the Sierras as the main theme. Our center offers a variety of activities,
fitting the needs of children, youth and adult visitors. The main section of the Geotourism

Center will feature:

          The Media Room: Includes a large screen showing the navigable Sierra Nevada
           Geotourism map (can include MapGuide once it is completed7) and personal
           computer kiosks where people can navigate through the geotourism website
           individually and link to the other geotourism websites. The media room will also
           feature a flat screen TV, featuring short movies from geotourism spots all over the
           world and promotional films about the greater Yosemite area donated by the
           Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau. It would be ideal to feature a video of the
           local modern gunfight reenactments to give visitors a taste of the special Wild
           West culture that Coulterville has to offer.
          John Muir exhibit: Featuring collections from John Muir‘s life. These John Muir
           artifacts will be borrowed by the University of Pacific and will be routinely
          Retail store: The Geotourism Center‘s retail area will feature promotional displays
           of trails, hikes, tours, events, groups and organizations of the local area. The store
           will sell licensed National Geographic merchandise co-branded with the John
           Muir Geotourism Center merchandise. The retail store will also feature Range of
           Light merchandise, owned by the great-great grandson of John Muir, Robert
          John Muir Books: The John Muir book section offers a wide variety of selections
           including many of his writings including A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf, My
           First Summer in the Sierra, and The Yosemite. Additionally, the John Muir
           bookcase provides local information and area maps to assist visitors in getting
           acquainted with Coulterville and Yosemite.
          Snack Bar: The snack bar will provide filtered water and recycled John Muir
           Geotourism center water bottles (the John Muir Geotourism Center does not
           believe in the waste created by plastic bottles). The snack bar will further provide
           healthy granola bars and drinks.

7   MapGuide was introduced by James Dion, see appendix 4.
    Robert Hanna expressed interest in the Geotourism Center and selling merchandise, see appendix 1.

       The Young John Muir corner consists of games that teach children what a
geotourist is, in a simple and fun way. For example, the children‘s corner will feature a
tactile exhibit in which children will try to guess the names of geotourist-related objects
by touching items (such as tree bark, ‗gold‘ nuggets, or poison oak) in a nontransparent
box. Young visitors can also watch short educational, but fun, videos that teach them to
take care of the nature they are surrounded by. There will also be a story teller (a
geotourism center volunteer) every day at 11 am to tell a tale about John Muir himself. A
Young Muir mobile mural with head cutouts will be stationed in the children‘s corner.
Parents can take pictures of their children posing with their faces in the head cut outs of
John Muir and redwood trees9.

9 For further information about mural‘s, visit

                      John Muir Geotourism Center Blueprint

Below we have designed a potential blueprint of what the Geotourism Center will look

        The center offers a variety of guided tours that fit individual and family needs.
These packages can be purchased at the cashier‘s station in the Geotourism Center or
online. Half-day or full-day visit packages pack in a lot of activity and adventure to make
the most of a short visit in Coulterville. Overnight packages are also offered and are
highly recommended for visitors looking to capture the true essence of the High Sierras
by following the footsteps John Muir.

                                Single-day Packages
Family Fun: Our docents will give you and your family a tour around the Geotourism
Center where the children can play games and listen to storytelling in the kid section

(parents are liable for their children at all times). The adults can play around on our
mapping devices and get a further understanding of what being a geotourist means.
Afterward, the trip goes to the Bean Creek Preserve, where both children and adults will
enjoy nature in a way John Muir would have appreciated.

The Young John Muir Hike: After exploring the Geotourism Center the tour goes to the
Bean Creek Preserve, where a four-six hour hike is awaiting (length of hike varies based
on half or full day packages). This hike will replicate John Muir‘s ramble into Yosemite
Valley, while our excellent docents will share stories from John Muir‘s life. After the
guided hike, you are free to explore as you wish.

Nature Lovers: For families with youth in the house, or adults that are looking for an
adventure, this is the right package for you. This is an adventure starting in the
Geotourism Center and continuing on to the Bean Creek Preserve for a three to five hour
hike (length of hike varies based on half or full day packages), where our docents will
share information on how to be a geotraveler for life.

Organizations: For groups over ten that want to share a meaningful and fun experience
together, this is a great offer. We specialize the package offerings for your specific
interests and needs.

       All half and full day hikes provide lunch to eat in the open (or under cover in case
of rain), just like John Muir did. The lunch will consist of organic sandwiches, all natural
juice, and a surprise snack. Extra snacks will be provided for the full day packages.
Vegetarian meals will be provided upon request.

                                Overnight Packages
All overnight packages will include the same itinerary listed below for Day 1. Our
docents and community are here to provide you with a customized overnight adventure.
Visitors will elect their preferred activity choices for Day 2, 3 and so on.

Day 1: Arrive in Coulterville and start your tour at the John Muir Geotourism Center. A
docent will be available to share history and information of the local area. Next, get
acquainted with Coulterville with the help of a local docent. A short 30-minute walking
tour of Coulterville will get your blood flowing and imagination running wild before the
group heads to the Bean Creek Preserve for lunch. Enjoy a nutritious lunch by the creek
and then choose to either relax in the meadow and take in your surroundings or opt for
the docent-guided, one-hour nature walk on the property. It is wise to have your
binoculars and cameras ready. The last stop of the day is a visit to the local Bower Cave,
a natural grotto-like formation made of limestone.10 The day will end with a campfire
dinner prepared by a local family.11 The evening campfire stories and coyote-howling
contest will surely please the entire family.

Accommodations: We are here to make you feel at home. Please elect your preferred

        Camp at a nearby site with your own gear. Transportation to/from site available
         upon request. COST - $8 per person12, children under 5 free
        Glamping: Camp in style on the property of a local resident. All gear and set-up
         provided.        COST - $12 per person, children under 5 free
        Cabin: Prefer additional comforts? Stay in a cabin provided by local residents.
         Amenities can range from basic camping cabins to fully equipped lodges
         (including plumbing, hot water, kitchen access, electricity, etc.). Please provide
         the size of your party and comfort preferences upon reserving the tour. Available
         cabins and cost will be discussed.

        Bed & Breakfast: Want a Wild West B&B experience? We have two excellent
         options in town for you to choose from:

10 Entrance to the cave dependent on current safety advisories.
   Please discuss any dietary restrictions with your docent upon booking the package.
   Costs based in nearby lakes, for further information see

               o Yosemite Gold Country Motel                 COST: Double occupancy $70/night;
                                                                         Family of Four $80/night
               o Penon Blanco Lookout                  COST: Double occupancy $139-$179/night
                                                      Children allowed depending on age - $35/
                                                      night per child. Inquire upon booking
Day 2+:
Please select from the activities listed below for each additional day of your stay.

Option 1 - Bicycle the Ramble
Now that you‘re practically a local, enjoy a wholesome breakfast at the best place in
town, the Coulter Cafe and General Store. Led by a knowledgeable and fit docent, the
group will head out for a day of real adventure along the John Muir historic route.
Portions of the journey will be covered by bicycle, depending on the abilities of your
group (please note the entire journey spans over 40 miles and climbs approximately 5,000
feet in elevation). Families with small children or limited physical abilities will be
accommodated to ensure an enjoyable experience for all. All snacks and lunch will be
provided. Tours will return to Coulterville by 4pm, where families will be free to
continue on their journey of exploration.

Option 2 - Enjoy the Lakes
Enjoy a wholesome breakfast at the best place in town, the Coulter Cafe and General
Store. Led by a docent, the group will prepare themselves for some fun in the sun. Lakes
McClure and McSwain are two nearby lakes that are among the finest water recreation
areas around! With summer daytime temperatures reaching the 90s and beyond, a day at
the lakes will offer you the chance to swim, fish, boat and play water sports with a
picturesque pine and oak woodland background.13 Our docents will provide a picnic
lunch and snacks throughout the day. They will also be available for nature walk and area


Option 3 - Photography Tour
Is photography your passion? Or has the beauty of the area sparked a new interest in
photography? Whether a novice or a long time photographer, what better place to take an
interactive and instructional photography tour from the remarkably talented local
photographer Al Golub? Al is an instructor of digital photography and photojournalism at
the Modesto junior college and also an avid hiker, birdwatcher, and gardener. Spend six
hours with Al on a photography tour through forested areas, meadows, and, of course, the
town of Coulterville.
Breakfast, lunch and snacks provided.

Option 4 - John Muir Enthusiast Hiking Tour
Just can‘t get enough of John Muir? You‘ve come to the right place. Join our well-trained
and knowledgeable docent on a full day hike along the same route that John Muir hiked
years ago. Your day will be filled with tales of John Muir and information about the local
history, cultures and, ecology. Learn about preservation and conservation in a
breathtaking setting. This is a moderate to strenuous hike. Breakfast and lunch will be

Winter Package:
Although the expected tourism flow in the winter will be lower than the summer season,
the Geotourism Center will offer packages for those who want to experience the beauty
of the greater Yosemite Valley when the snow has set in. The winter package will be a
snowshoeing experience, specialized based on the tour group needs. There will only be
ten docents working during the winter season; however, this will be plenty to assist the
groups coming for individualized packages. These tours will be half-day tours only,
where lunch and hot chocolate will be provided. - Price:
       The pricing strategy of the activities offered through the center should be
competitive, yet affordable to the average tourist. Due to the economic hardship we are
faced with, many tourists are looking for affordable, yet memorable vacation/travel
options. The pricing strategy has been set based on the economic climate, the average

dollar spending per visitor outside of Yosemite National Park as outlined in section 2.2.3,
and the goal to be a self-sustainable non-profit. It is our recommendation to start with
introductory pricing and then increase the prices over time once the Geotourism Center
has gained a solid reputation and the packages offered get more complex.

Geotourism Center Pricing:
        Geotourism Center entrance fee: $2.00
        Membership fees (same as the History center pricing)14
        Individual: $15
        Student (under 18): $5
        Family: $20
        Business: $30
        Patron15: $50
        Life: $200
Geotourism Center Package Pricing:
        ½ Day Visit Packages: $20/person Winter package: $35 (personal gear) $40(with
        snow shoe rental)
        Full Day Visit Packages: $30/person
        Overnight Visit Packages:
                 Day 1: $60/person
                 Accommodations: Vary
                 Day 2+: Vary
                    Option 1 - Bicycle the Ramble: $50/person
                    Option 2 - Enjoy the Lakes: $20/person
                    Option 3 - Photography Tour: $180/person
                    Option 4 - John Muir Enthusiast Hiking Tour: $30

10% discount of all purchases in the Geotourism Center with a purchase of a package.
Ask for discount with groups over ten.

   Should work with the History center for package pricing (i.e. half off when buy combined membership).
Pricing retrieved from
   Patron members get free access to fundraising events, VIP rating, discounted tours etc.

                                                                                                    103 - Promotion
        The John Muir Geotourism Center will have to use creative marketing tools to
reach the desired target markets, as the marketing budget will be limited, especially for
the first few years. Advertising in close cooperation with the Yosemite Mariposa Tourism
Bureau (YMTB) will be of great importance to the John Muir Geotourism Center‘s
success. Mr. Hentz has already stated his interest in the center and seems eager to be in
future cooperation with the John Muir Geotourism Center Partners. By having a
Geotourism Center section in the Yosemite Mariposa Vacation Planner, it will get great
visibility at no cost.16 This will also help the Geotourism Center diversify the message of
what Mariposa has to offer and serve as a complementary to what Yosemite has to offer.
Also, working with the Visitor Center in Coulterville will be important as one of the
overall goals is to bring economic development to the town of Coulterville. We have
outlined a suggested use of the marketing budget and how to get the most out of
inexpensive promotion methods. Due to the limited budget, the package offering itself
will be crucial to distinguish the consumer segments while the promotional campaign as a
whole will serve as selling the Geotourism experience. Once the budget allows for it,
selling a different experience through promotional methods to the end consumer
segments is greatly advised. - Advertising
Radio: Targeting local, state and national radio stations will help increase domestic
awareness of what the center has to offer. For advertising in the Fresno/Mariposa area,
we can create a 30 second radio advertisement. The cost to produce a simple ad is around
$500, including script writing, voice recording, sound effects, music, and mixing.
Excluding one or more of these options would lower the price of production. We
suggest using a testimonial from a tourist in this commercial. We are assuming that
105.9 KFJK, an adult hits radio station and 102.7 KHGE, a contemporary country hits

16 There might be a printing fee, but since the Geotourism Center is located in Mariposa County, this
is assumed to be a free option.

radio station have the largest number of listeners who are also in our target market. The
cost for a 30 second advertisement is $104 per slot on each station. We suggest having
three to four slots per week on each station. The total cost for four slots on each station is
$832. Therefore, the total cost to produce and air a 30 second radio advertisement would
be around $1,332 (The Cost Of, 2011).

TV: TV advertising is expensive and competition for reaching the desired target audience
is fierce. Producing a local advertisement for the Fresno/Mariposa/Madera county areas,
which is considered a tier 3 commercial, would cost between $750 and $1500. The
fluctuation in cost depends on the necessary editing and graphics. However, local tier 3
commercials can typically be completed in 24 hours. Estimating a cost for airing the
television commercial is a bit more tricky (TV Advertising For, 2011). The cost depends
on when you air it and how many people are watching at that time. For example, a 30
second advertisement during American Idol cost around $780,000 in 2008. Luckily,
local advertising is much cheaper. Typical daytime and late-night commercial spots on
local television stations cost around $5 per thousand viewers. Mariposa County has a
population of about 18,000 and Fresno County has a population of about 930,000.
Assuming 30% of the population of both counties watches their local station at the time
we choose to advertise, the cost to advertise would be around $1,422. This means the
total cost to produce and air a television spot would be around $2,700. It is therefore our
recommendation that TV advertising will be re-visited after one to three years of
operation, should the marketing budget allow for it (How Much Do, 2011).

Newspaper: The most affordable way to advertise the Geotourism Center is by placing
ads in the local newspapers. Initially, we would want to advertise in the Fresno,
Mariposa and Sacramento area. Looking down the road, advertising should expand on a
national level by placing ads in hiking and environmental periodicals. The Fresno Bee is
a logical option for advertising the opening and creation of the John Muir Geotourism
Center. Advertisement packages range from $114 for the Bronze Package to $422 for the
Gold Package. The Bronze Package allows for a seven day advertisement in the Fresno
Bee and online at The Gold Package offers the same ad space, but the

ad remains online and in the newspaper for thirty days (Fresno Bee, 2011).
Billboards – While expensive and not conducive to the messages of the Geotourism
Center, billboard advertising is a form of promotion that should be mentioned. Because
many Yosemite visitors travel independently by car, billboard advertising is one way to
reach a large target audience. However, the cost of billboard advertising is not cheap.
For example, Lamar Advertising charges $4,000 to advertise on a 14‘ by 48‘ billboard for
four weeks. On top of being expensive, billboard advertising does not support the
environmental sustainability message embodied in the John Muir Geotourism Center
(Lamar California, n.d).
Brochures: The Geotourism Center would greatly benefit from brochures that can be
sitsributed around the Mariposa County and at the Geotourism Center. See Appendix 17
for a sample brochure. - Direct Marketing and Sales Promotion
       When the center is up and running, we suggest that the center keep track of visitor
information and ask for email addresses. One idea is to have digital devices (i.e. iPads,
laptops etc.) where all visitor information can be digitized. This will help make record
keeping up to date and easy to use for the future financial planning of the center. It will
also be easier for the center to reach out to old customers with news, events and/or
promotional offers. These customers should then be given the freedom to share this email
with friends and family. Although this can be time consuming and requires effective
visitor logging procedures, it is a way to keep track of old visitors and create returning
customers. The John Muir Geotourism Center should send out thank you cards via mail
or email to all those who visited, with a 10 percent discount coupon to be used when
ordering clothes, tickets or packages online. By knowing how many emails have been
sent out and how many coupons are redeemed, the center can easily track how effective
the promotion is. This is also a great way to make happy customers remember the
experience they had at the center longer and spread the word to friends and family.
Another form of sales promotion could be to hold ―The Happy Mariposa Days‖ where
visitors coming from Mariposa County receive 20 percent off of any package.

                                                                                          106 - Public Relations
       The John Muir Geotourism Center should send out press releases (in local,
national and international newspapers, and also on National Geographic and any other
affiliated websites). This is an inexpensive and easy way to gain publicity for the center.
Press releases should be made every month on the John Muir Geotourism Center‘s own
website, but should only be sent to others when special events are taking place. A great
example of what should be sent to local news is when schools from the area come to visit
(for free), with pictures and interviews from some of the children. Internationally, such
press releases should be sent out to international tour operators that the Yosemite
Mariposa Tourism Bureau works with (explained in further detail in the international
segment below). The John Muir Geotourism Center should invite National Geographic on
their opening days of the center to do a feature story on them. This is a great way to get
the word out to National Geographic followers and a way to gain future customers. - Social Media
       Utilizing social media is something the Coulterville History Museum and the
Coulterville Visitor Center are not accustomed to. In order to ensure the success of the
John Muir Geotourism Center, we must utilize much of what the social media cyberscape
has to offer. Two easy and inexpensive ways for the John Muir Geotourism Center to
attract visitors and stay relevant is by creating a page on Facebook and simultaneously
creating a blog. Both are free and require minimal maintenance. Websites such as allow you to create a customized blog (i.e.: where you can post stories, recent happenings,
pictures, and relevant conservation or environmental news. Creating a page for the
Geotourism Center on Facebook allows for more international attention. People from all
around the globe can ―Like‖ your page. This enables them to receive updates whenever
they are made, view pictures of the Geotourism Center and Bean Creek Preserve, and
they can be directly linked to the blog and the John Muir Geotourism Center Website.
Many other websites and web applications make up the world of social media; however,
we feel utilizing Facebook and creating a blog are essential to include in the launch of the
Geotourism Center.

                                                                                        107 - International Promotion
        Due to Yosemite‘s great network throughout the world, the Geotourism Center
should collaborate with Mr. Hentz, Executive Director at Yosemite Mariposa Tourism
Bureau. According to Mr. Hentz, 85 percent of international travelers still book their trips
with travel agencies( this percentage is likely lower for the target markets we have
identified). Mr. Hentz works directly with the tour operators, as advertising is too
expensive. He also hires receptive operators that work with the tour operators overseas
(personal communication, June 29, 2011). The John Muir Geotourism center should work
closely with Mr. Hentz and the YMTB, and again be a complementary option to what
you can experience in the Yosemite Mariposa region. Although some countries rely on
travel agencies, younger travelers book their trips through online travel sites (i.e.
Expedia, Travelocity, etc.) and the Geotourism Center should work with the
local hotels, bed and breakfasts and campgrounds to advertise on their webpages. The
website will be an important tool to reach the younger, and Internet-savvy travelers
throughout the world. Another useful advertising strategy to reach the international
travelers is to get the John Muir Geotourism Center in international travel books. We
have identified Fromer‘s17 and Lonely Planet18 as two well-respected and highly popular
tourist information books. Trip advisor is another great online tool to gather information
about recommended places to visit. This is also a place where people can leave comments
about places they have visited.19 All these three internationally respected travel guides
will be great places for the John Muir Geotourism Center to contact to get the center on
the map.

17For more information, visit
18For more information, visit
19 For more information, visit

                                                                                        108 - Measure of Effectiveness
       The John Muir Geotourism Center should, through the log-in process, ask
customers how they heard about the center to figure out what promotions are the most
effective. This could be a big time and money saver for a small non-profit and also allows
for the marketing to be focused where most effective. Coupons retrieved are also a great
measure of how successful the sales promotion was. - Placement

       The John Muir Geotourism Center will be located in the greater Yosemite Valley,
more specifically in the old mining town of Coulterville. Because John Muir passed
through Coulterville on the Historic Route from San Francisco to Yosemite, Coulterville
is a prime location for such a center. Also, due to the close proximity to John Muir
Highway, the Bean Creek Preserve, and the gates of Yosemite, this is an optimal place
for the center. The specific location of the center in the town of Coulterville is presented
in section, and our recommendation is to use the space adjacent to the History
Center in downtown Coulterville.

4.0 - Segment 4
4.1.0 - Human Capital and Organizational
       The organizational structure of the John Muir Geotourism Center in Coulterville
will consist mostly of volunteer staff and docents and will be overseen by an
Administrator. The center will be a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 organization, managed by a
full-time paid Administrator. The primary function of the Administrator will be to
manage and operate all financial, administrative, and programming activities for the John
Muir Geotourism Center. The Center Administrator will report to the Board of Directors,
who will ensure effective functioning and development of the center and its programs.
The essential functions of the Administrator are as follows:

    Plans, organizes and supervises all activities of the center
    Prepares, monitors and administers the center‘s budget and financial activity
    Develops and coordinates fund raising activities and revenue generation for the
    Prepares management reports for the Board and Chamber of Commerce
    Supervises all staff, evaluates all staff work, writes performance reviews, resolves
       any issues
    Plans, implements and manages new programs, including new exhibits
    Oversees community outreach, which includes the development of cultural
       enrichment opportunities for Coulterville residents
           o Develops and oversees the Geotourism Center‘s marketing plan and public
                relations strategy
           o Works in a responsible manner, follows safety policies and practices,
                oversees safety prevention for staff and visitors

The ideal administrator will possess the following knowledge, skills and abilities:

      Non-profit, museum or learning center organizational management,
       administration and operations
      Business management principles, such as accounting, public relations and

      Fundraising and preparation of grant applications
      Management principles and practices
      Operation of standard office equipment, a personal computer, and center kiosks

The preferred qualifications of the administrator include:

      Bachelor‘s degree in Museum Studies, Social Science, Public History or related
       field; master‘s degree a plus
      Five or more years of experience in an organization of natural or public history,
       including at least two years of supervisory or management experience
      Proven experience working with museum consultants in the planning and
       construction of new museum exhibits
      Any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the
       knowledge and abilities necessary to perform the Administrator role

       As indicated above, the ability to plan, organize, and direct a staff of docents and
volunteers will be essential for the success of the Geotourism Center. An administrator
that can work effectively with the various center partners, stakeholders, support and
advisory groups, the Coulterville Chamber of Commerce, the Coulterville History
Museum, the Coulterville Visitor Center, volunteer groups and community organizations,
committees and the public will help create synergy between the Geotourism Center and
the existing community.

       The volunteer staff will be the backbone of the daily operations of the Geotourism
Center. Volunteers will be trained by other experienced volunteers and will be eligible to
train as docents after a trial period is successfully completed. An active volunteer staff of
at least 10 individuals during the winter and 30 individuals during the summer will be

necessary to conduct center tours for children and adults, and to support the operations
and special events of the Geotourism Center. The volunteer staff will be expected to:

      Maintain professionalism and clarity of speech for effective communication on
       the telephone and in person
      Prepare a variety of written documents and materials
      Operate standard office equipment, a personal computer, and center kiosks
      Maintain sufficient personal mobility, flexibility, and a will-do attitude

       The center will be governed by an unpaid volunteer Board of Directors. Details of
the number of members, responsibilities, and length of term for the Board of Directors
will be determined by the primary stakeholders in this project.

       Lastly, we see great value in the John Muir Geotourism Center developing an
internship program. By offering internship opportunities to high school, undergraduate
and graduate students, the center can help local and temporary visiting students bridge
their studies and interests into an educational work setting. Internship opportunities at
the center should be flexible programs that focus on two areas: enhancing the center by
utilizing the strengths of the intern and sharing the full John Muir geotourism experience
with the intern. The internship opportunity must be publicized at the University of the
Pacific and the students who have successfully completed (or are enrolled in) the
following courses through the History and Earth & Environmental Sciences Departments
at UOP are preferred:
      John Muir's World: The Origins of the Conservation Movement
      American Environmental History
      History of the American West
      History of California
      GEOS 43 - Environmental Science
      GEOS 45 - Soil, Water, & War
      GEOS 51 - Physical Geology
      GEOS 61 - Geology of California
      GEOS 65 - Regional Geology

      GEOS 100 – Mineralogy

       UOP currently houses the John Muir Center, which offers an internship program
for students. Through the John Muir Center internship students can earn course credit
because the opportunity is a ―supervised experiential learning opportunity involving‖
(University of the Pacific, John Muir Center, 2011):

      Research and operations (library or museum) on a subject connected with the life
       or legacy of John Muir
      Field, office, or educational work for an environmental organization, agency,
       institute, or institution

       The Geotourism Center should coordinate an extension program for students to
earn credits in an exciting field study in Coulterville.

4.2.0 - Partnership Analysis
        The SWOT analysis takes a closer look at the three partners, Ken and Teri
Pulvino (the Graf-Pulvino Charitable Fund), the Sierra Business Council, and the Sierra
Foothill Conservancy, and how they may best work together. The SWOT analysis will
look at the internal strengths and weaknesses of each client organization as they relate to
the John Muir Geotourism effort. The analysis will then proceed by exploring the
external threats and opportunities that may affect the partnership. Following the SWOT,
we will describe the core competencies of three potential strategic allies for the John
Muir Geotourism Center (i.e. the Mariposa Tourism Bureau, the North Mariposa County
History Museum, and the North County Visitor Center) in order to recommend an ideal
partnership arrangement for the clients. Partnering with one or more of these local
organizations will be vital to the creation of a self-sustainable John Muir Geotourism
Center. This section will be concluded with a set of recommendations that describes the
most ideal arrangement for the project‘s partnership based on the strengths, weaknesses,
and core competencies of the relevant parties.

                                                                                          115 SWOT Analysis of the Partnership

                          The Graf-Pulvino Charitable Fund
                                    Ken and Teri Pulvino
                Strengths                                     Weaknesses
      Strong visionaries with business              Have origins outside the
       acumen to support their ideas                  Coulterville area which may lead to
      Exceptional knowledge and passion              skepticism and backlash from
       about the environmentalist John                community members in the town
       Muir and his legacy                           As the primary visionaries and
      Extensive personal network that can            financiers of this project the project
       assist in the financing and                    may not be self-sustaining without
       maintenance of project expansion               their involvement
       and land preservation                         Different primary goal for the
      Established the John Muir Highway              Geotourism Center than the other
       and have developed many local                  clients: disseminating knowledge
       connections to further the                     related to John Muir‘s legacy and
       advancement of their John Muir                 local community development

                             Sierra Business Council
              Strengths                                Weaknesses
   Engaged in a direct partnership with       Not directly involved in the
    National Geographic, its Center for         management, operations, or
    Sustainable Destinations, its global        financing of Geotourism
    geotourism initiative                       establishments
   Leading role in creating the               Little financial commitment to the
    ongoing Sierra Nevada Geotourism            Geotourism Center
    Project                                    Different primary goal for the
   Takes a multi-faceted (economic,            Geotourism Center than the other
    demographic, and environmental)             clients: increasing economic
    approach for increasing vitality in         development in the region and
    the Sierra Nevada region                    promoting geotourism
   Can provide consultation to
    ongoing progress of the Geotourism
    Center with strong, consistent, and
    diverse supply of both human and
    intellectual capital
   Efficiently and effectively manage a
    wide array of Sierra Nevada
    economic development projects
    which could be useful for future
    expansion of Geotourism Center

                                Partnership Analysis

                            Sierra Foothill Conservancy
             Strengths                                    Weaknesses
   Conservation and preservation               Limited scope to issues only related
    planning and execution expertise             to land stewardship, preservation,
    with the capacity to manage and              and conservation.
    oversee land acquisition and                Primarily a grant and contribution
    stewardship management in the                funded organization limiting the
    Sierra Nevada region.                        capacity of the organization.
   Experience employing innovative             Different primary goal for the
    financial solutions to finance the           Geotourism Center than the other
    cost of land stewardship (i.e. carbon        clients: land acquisition and
    sequestration credits and a grass-fed        fundraising for stewardship and
    beef project).                               preservation efforts.
   Established tour offerings and
    classes to their existing preservation

                 Opportunities                                     Threats
         To establish guidelines and best             In volatile economic times and with
          practices of the John Muir                    visitation to Coulterville difficult to
          Geotourism project as a model for             predict, the financial risk of the
          future geotourism centers in the              Geotourism Center rests primarily
          Sierras and beyond.                           with the Graf-Pulvino Charitable
         Expanding the reach of the John               Fund creating an inequitable
          Muir Geotourism Center beyond                 partnership.
          Coulterville to the greater Mariposa         If one of the clients wants to
          and Yosemite region.                          remove itself from the partnership
         Engagement in additional land                 there may be a void that is difficult
          acquisition and preservation along            to fill given the unique and
          with trail development to expand              complementary competencies of
          the scope of the Geotourism Center            each client.
          offerings.                                   Community backlash from the
         Revitalization of the community of            presence of an outside organization.
          Coulterville through increased
          visitation and economic activity.

4.2.1 - Core Competencies Assessment of Stakeholders
         As demonstrated above, each client offers a strong specialization, and together the
relationship has a wide array of complementary attributes. It is clear that all three
organizations want the Geotourism Center to realize its goal of becoming a financially
self-sustaining organization. There are, however, both internal and external factors that
will stress the partnership and should be carefully evaluated and discussed by all three
organizations. Thus, we will further analyze the core competencies of the three potential
stakeholders and their ability to supplement any voids and offer potential influence over
the partnership‘s goal of creating a sustainable John Muir Geotourism Center. The core
competencies of each potential stakeholder are the special aspects of each organization
that can directly benefit the Geotourism Center project.

                       Mariposa County Tourism Bureau
   Direct access to advertising and advertising funds and resources.
   Developing an online trip booking system for visitors to Mariposa County.
   Connections to a wide array of tour operators in various markets including the
    growing international market segments.
   Willingness and enthusiasm to help smaller towns and operations in the county
   High-quality tracking of Mariposa County visitation data and tourist profiles.

                     North Mariposa County History Center
   Have local and trusted persons of the Coulterville community on the Board of
    Directors that can help garner local support for the Geotourism Center.
   Direct understanding of the Coulterville context and how to run a successful non-
    profit organization in the community.
   Have volunteers from the Coulterville area that are currently in training and eager
    to teach people Coulterville‘s unique history and the legacy of John Muir.
   Connected to a diverse set of paying members and sponsors to assist in
    fundraising efforts for growth and improvement of facilities.

                        Mariposa Chamber of Commerce
          North County Visitor Center and Mariposa Visitor Center
   Joy Kitchel has been tracking visitation and tourism data to Coulterville for the
    past three years making them the only organization in town to do so.
   Serves as a gateway for Mariposa and Coulterville visitors by recommending
    destinations and activities to patrons.
   Unique access to local business that can provide sponsorships and help increase
    visitation through advertisements.

4.2.2 - Partnership and Stakeholder Recommendation
          In order for the John Muir Geotourism Center to become a self-sustaining
operation, it will be vital for the primary partner and financier, Ken and Teri Pulvino, to
establish and maintain strategic partnerships. Following the completion of this business
plan and the eventual establishment of the Geotourism Center, the Sierra Business
Council and Sierra Foothill Conservancy will move into supporting roles for the project.
The Sierra Business Council will remain a promoter of the geotourism effort in the
Sierra region but will not be directly involved in oversight or day-to-day operations of the
Geotourism Center. Similarly, the Sierra Foothill Conservancy will continue to maintain
the Bean Creek Preserve20 but will not play an active role in the management of the
Geotourism Center. With this in mind, Ken and Teri Pulvino must leverage the desire of
local stakeholders to be involved in the geotourism efforts.
          In a supporting role, the Sierra Business Council can be a useful resource for the
Geotourism Center. They can provide invaluable connections to national and
international audiences as the Geotourism Center grows. In the future, the Sierra
Business Council can provide project management capabilities given the organizations
intimate knowledge of the Geotourism Center project.
          The Sierra Foothill Conservancy can play a large role in the future aspirations of
the Geotourism Center. Ken and Teri Pulvino have expressed interest in additional land
acquisition to support preservation efforts and to provide additional habitats for the
visitors and enthusiasts that come to the Geotourism Center (K. Pulvino, personal
communications, June 29, 2011). Furthermore, the Sierra Foothill Conservancy can
serve an advisory function for tour and class organization as they have an ongoing
schedule of hikes and classes for visitors.
          Ken and Teri Pulvino and the Sierra Business Council have great connections
with the Mariposa County Tourism Bureau and should seek out their expertise with every
opportunity. The Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau excels at domestically and
internationally advertising the county‘s local offerings, tracking visitor data, and soon

20 The Bean Creek Preserve is an 80-acre parcel of land that was purchased by the Graf-Pulvino Charitable Fund and donated
to the Sierra Foothill Conservancy to continue stewardship and preservation of the property. This property, among other area
destinations, is intended for hikes, tours, and classes organized by the future John Muir Geotourism Center in conjunction with
the Sierra Foothill Conservancy.

will have the ability to take reservations online for local attractions. Continuing our
partnership with the Tourism Bureau is vital to the Geotourism Center‘s promotion and
        Assuming that the History Museum‘s expansion project moves forward and
eventually integrates the Geotourism Center, this partnership will be the most significant.
John Shimer‘s presence at the History Museum is also a beneficial factor. As a local
resident, as well as the History Museum‘s manager and current board member, Mr.
Shimer is a key figure in the Coulterville community and will be essential if Ken and Teri
Pulvino hope to avoid any community backlash from an increase in tourists as a result of
the Geotourism Center. Without his support, the community may not approve of the
introduction of an organization run by outside parties.
        The Mariposa Chamber of Commerce, which includes the North County Visitor
Center and the Mariposa Visitor Center, will also play a role in the progress of the
Geotourism Center. Visitor Centers in Mariposa and Tuolumne County have served as
gateways into Yosemite and tour guides of the area. Their staff provides information and
recommendations for local activities and attractions. Their support of the Geotourism
Center can help increase tourism in Coulterville.
        The goal to increase economic activity through tourism is shared between the
Visitor Center and the Geotourism Center. Since the Geotourism Center focuses on
hiking expeditions in the area for its revenue, the Visitor Center‘s activities will
compliment rather than compete with the Geotourism Center .

4.2.3 - Partnership Agreement
        The John Muir Geotourism Center will be a self-sustainable nonprofit organization,
and the stakeholders should create a partnership agreement to ensure that the organizational
and administrative foundation is constructed appropriately. A strong organizational structure
will help ensure that financial and internal controls are maintained and that the center
engages in activities that are inline with its mission and vision.
        In our structure, funders will be responsible for the capitalization needs of the
Geotourism Center, however the funding necessary to sustain the center will come from
revenue generating activities. When drafting the partnership agreement, the funders should

carefully consider the importance of an exit strategy in the instance of:
      Poor performance of the center in terms of visitation rates, net deficit, or social

      High performance of the center in terms of visitation rates, net surplus, or social

      Other funders or organizations with an ability and willingness of continuing the
       work of the center

5.0 - Segment 5
5.1.0 - Methods and Limitations
5.1.1 Availability of Data
        In small towns such as Coulterville, visitor traffic and use data are not always
available. Even in more prominent towns such as Mariposa, where local tourism
statistics are available (with most recent reports dating from 2009), detailed information
about the origin, interests, and impacts of visitors are difficult to obtain. Coulterville
tourism data may be collected and examined more adequately with the help of funding,
available personnel, and improved access to available methods of data compilation and
analysis. The limitations presented by the availability and quality of data make it
difficult to assess visitation trends, international visitor spending trends, seasonal
visitation disparities, affects to local resources, and the quality of the visitor experience.

5.1.2 Budget Expectations
        A budget for the John Muir Geotourism Center has not yet been established;
therefore, we provide rough estimates of appropriate start-up costs and operating costs for
a small-scale center in three different locations (train property, Visitor Center, and
History Museum). Since the Geotourism Center will be a non-profit organization, we
assume in our calculations that all of the start-up costs will be donated and will thus be
paid for in full at the start. Commonly, some of the operational costs of a non-profit are
covered by donations and grants. Due to the nature of this academic business plan
project, our financial analysis assumes the center will be a self-sustaining organization
through admission and membership fees, geotourism tour packages, and the sale of retail
and food products.

5.1.3 Marketing Assessment
Promotion: An innovative and effective marketing scheme can greatly influence the
number of visitors the John Muir Geotourism Center receives, however due to a minimal
budget, the marketing plan outlined in this report utilizes only free and low-cost

promotions. A more robust marketing budget would enhance the promotional efforts of
the center and the region.
Placement: The location of the town of Coulterville was requested by Ken and Teri
Pulvino, and therefore the overall placement of the center was predetermined. Ideally, a
comparative analysis of several potential geographic locations in the Sierra Nevada's
would have determined the location for the center. Our study only addresses the concept
of placement in terms of the location of the center within the town of Coulterville.

5.1.4 Partnership
       The ambiguity and uncertainty of the formation and organization of the
partnership led us to assume the roles and responsibilities of each partner. As an
alternative, the stakeholders may consider a fiscal sponsorship arrangement in which an
existing 501(c)(3) may be used to house the Geotourism Center in the initial phases
(Takagi, January 18, 2011). Legal consultation is advised. Incubating a nonprofit social
enterprise. Nonprofit law blog. Retrieved August 20, 2011 from

5.2 - Final Recommendations
       Based on the research and analysis provided in this document, the Monterey Institute of
International Studies International Business Team has laid out six specific recommendations as
how to move forward with the creation of the John Muir Geotourism Center. The
recommendations are as follows:
   1. Partnership and Stakeholder Interaction
           1. Produce a written partnership agreement, clearly stating partnership roles
              and responsibilities, also including an exit agreement.
           2. Work with stakeholders in the community to ensure local acceptance of
              the John Muir Geotourism Center.
   2. Target Markets
           1. Target four main market segments: nature loving families, the young John
              Muirs, geotourists and National Geographic followers, and organizational
           2. Focus international promotion towards tourists from the UK, Germany,
              France, Belgium, Canada, Australia and Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden,
              and Denmark).
   3. Marketing Strategy
           1. Product
                         Create an interactive John Muir Geotourism Center suitable for
                          all ages, where National Geographic MapGuides assist in
                          exploring the online geotourism network.
                         Utilize docents to teach conservation techniques and explore the
                          surrounding nature through various packages fitting all levels of
           2. Price
                       Charge between $20-$180 for tours and hiking packages.
                       Set membership fees between $5-$200, for individuals and groups.
                       Charge a $2 cost of admission into the Geotourism Center.
                       Sell merchandise for $2-$28.

3. Promotion
       1. Branding
          Utilize the geotourism name in promoting environmental
           conservation and education programs.
          Utilize the John Muir name in promoting the beauty of
           Coulterville and surrounding area along with adventure,
           environmentalism, and appreciation.
       2.Social Network
        Collaborate with the Sierra Business Council‘s Geotourism
           Alliance Charter, the Global Geopark Network, and the
           Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau to connect and expand the
           geotourism movement to a broad spectrum of tourists.
       3.Marketing efforts
        Domestically, consider newspaper and/or radio advertising
        In the first year or two of the Geotourism Center‘s opening.
           Television advertising should be considered once the
           Geotourism Center is well established.
          Internationally, work with Jeff Hentz and the Yosemite Mariposa
           Tourism Bureau in advertising through international tour
          Utilize inexpensive marketing tools, such as promotional
           coupons, press releases and be a feature article in National
       4. Web Presence
          Create a unique, informative, and inviting website for the John
           Muir Geotourism Center.
          Utilize Facebook and Blogspot to extend the marketing reach of
           the Geotourism Center.
4. Placement
          Integrate Geotourism Center into History Center expansion in
           downtown Coulterville, utilizing the knowledge and influence of

                        John Shimer to efficiently share physical and human resources.
   4. Budget
           1. Secure funding to cover the initial start-up costs of approximately$36,000
               as well as the first year‘s expenses, which are estimated to be $23,000
               (moderate outlook).
           2. Incorporate revenue-generating techniques such as membership plans,
               retail sales and tour packages to develop a sustainable Geotourism center
               within the first operating year (optimistic outlook).
   5. Tourism trends and forecasting
           1. Keep a digitized record of visitors to the Coulterville Visitor Center and
               the John Muir Geotourism Center
           2. Create annual reports to forecast the Geotourism Center visitation rates
               using trend line projections from accurate Coulterville data

       With this, we hope Ken and Teri Pulvino, the Sierra Business Council and the Sierra
Foothill Conservancy have the direction needed to go forth with their vision to create a
successful John Muir Geotourism Center in Coulterville, California.

Appendix 1
June 2011
First Research Trip to Coulterville
We had a great weekend up in Coulterville and gathered lots of information about the
project. The John Muir tribute on Saturday was interesting and wet (it rained the entire
time). On Saturday SBC, Bridget Fithian from SFC and Robert Hanna (great-great
grandson of John Muir). We got more information about the project scope and a clearer
sense of what each person‘s/organizations role in the project is.

Facebook page for John Muir Highway (documents the entire John Muir tribute):

Who we met:
      Bridget Fithian from the Sierra Foothill Conservancy
      Sahara Saude from Sierra Business Council
      Ken and Terri Pulvino
      Great- great- grandson of John Muir, Robert Hanna: he owns a clothing company
       called ―Range of Light‖ and wants a portion of revenue from this line to help fund
       the geo-tourism center. Here is a video for the ‗Range of Light Story / Owned and
       operated by the John Muir family‘:
       And here is the company website:
      We also met many members that hold a council position in the community.
We asked Sahara what each partner‘s ultimate goal in this project is:
      SBC: 1-Geo-tourism, 2-economic development in the community
      Pulvino‘s: Community development and economic growth

           SFC: Land acquisition for conservation

The Pulvino‘s will find a way to raise the money ($1.75 million) to buy the Bunt Forest
of 460 acres that will be used for conservancy. Our task for this part of the project is to
give options on how to make some income on conservancy-friendly revenue generating
activities, i.e. grass-fed beef, carbon credits, stewardship work. They are only looking at
making enough money to help pay the maintenance of the land (i.e. taxes, future
expansion etc.-Sahara and Bridget can give us tools to help calculate these costs), the
profits will not go to the geotourism center. The $1.75 million needed for the land will be
sunk cost in the Pulvino‘s opinion.

As far as the geotourism center is concerned, the best option in the Pulvino‘s opinion is to
add it to and expand the existing museum. They do still want us to do an assessment of
what location would be the best. The great*3 grandson of JM can get items associated
with JM to be displayed at the center as long as it is a safe location and building, he has
connections to U of P. (University of the Pacific, UOP - located in Stockton, CA). UOP
has the most extensive collection of JM artifacts and they digitized all artifacts. Hanna
thinks he can obtain some artifacts for the JM Interpretive Center or for the Coulterville
Museum for a rotating display. Robert also sits on the JM Association Board (The Kimes
Collection which has letters, books, etc of John Muir:

The vision for this center and land is Chautauqua, which means people coming together
to learn about a place (Mona Lake is a place with Chautauqua that we could look at).
Also, they told us to use the National Geographic definition of geotourism:
―Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character
of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its


SBC has put geotourism in place in 3 phases, and they are almost finished with the final
stage. The goal and main interest of the SBC in this project is learing about geotourism.
The National Geographic website has details:

They are looking at attracting these types of tourists: younger, middle-class, wealthy,
school kids for educational purposes etc. Ken sent out an email with research on what
tourists pass through the area.

The town, Martinez (35 miles from SF), has a great visitor center that they encouraged us
to go visit. Also, Murphy‘s (45 minutes from Coulterville) is a town that revamped
themselves and sees sustainable growth. It was an old mining town. Sahara called it
‗amazing‘. Includes wineries. This might be another town worth checking into. Cidar
Sports Hotel in Truckee is another recommendation (food, adventure, wilderness training,

Coulterville is an interesting little town and most travelers end up there by accident.
Coulterville consists of a hotel, a B&B, a café/convenience store, two saloons, a flower
shop and some other small little boutiques. In other words, it‘s a small place. The hotel is
being remodeled and every time it is closed (which happens quite often) the town sees a
decrease in tourists passing through. Previously, the town saw many German tourists in
motorhomes and many weekend tourists from the Bay Area. The maps took them through
Hwy 49. The Jeffrey‘s Hotel is vital to the tourist traffic. It was built in 1851 and
sustained 3 fires. It was closed in 2003 and sold at auction. It was remodeled and opened
in 2005/6. It was closed again in 2009. The hotel attracted a high end motorcycle crowd.
Terri explained these tourists did not help the entire community (in terms of business),
but really only the hotel and hotel bar. Someone referred to the economy of Coulterville
as having 10 year boom/bust cycles. Schools in Coulterville are closing. The Bean Creek
school which has 80 students (K-8) is closing and students will be bussed to Don Pedro.

The people are friendly, but only want tourists there because they know they need the
extra revenue tourists bring in. Tour buses are not allowed on the road that passes through
Coulterville, Hwy 132 which decreases the likelihood of Coulterville being a tourist hot
spot. Even non-regulated tour companies do not pass through Coulterville because they
are ticketed on the turnoff from Hwy 120, and they are also ticketed in town. Buses take
Hwy 120 into Yosemite. Also, we had no Internet or cell phone service all weekend,
except when visiting the neighboring town of Groveland. This town is definitely a step up
from Coulterville. Groveland has vacation rentals online:
rentals/usa/california/gold-country-high-sierra/yosemite#a2045. The nearby ‗attractions‘
are the Jordan Oak and the Bower Cave.

A person we should look into contacting is Jeff Hentz. He is the head of the Yosemite
Mariposa Tourism Bureau and has connections to Sunset Magazine. He also has great
information on tourism in the region.

There are a few key elements to the success of this project. Location, location, location.
The objective is to create a center that draws in tourists, they give money and the money
goes towards land acquisition for conservation. This is a simplified way to wrap it up
and tie together all three entities we‘re working with. The tourists also bring economic

So how do we get tourists? The Pulvinos are trying to take advantage of the John Muir
highway and his name to create the draw. Ken spoke extensively about the ―experience‖
(leads into being young John Muir, John Muir fever, etc). He also wants to see the
highway extended all the way to Modesto off of 132.

Visitor Center: Joy has worked there for years. She has a wealth of knowledge about the
area and who visits. She‘s been keeping a log for over seven years of visitors to
Coulterville (where they‘re from, when they were there, where they‘re headed, etc). This
information has all been steadily sent to Mariposa (the county seat) and she has been in
the process of trying to get it back.

There are two lakes just west of Coulterville called Lake McClure and Don Pedro
Reservoir. According to Caltrans ( 1.7 million people visit these
lakes every year to either fish, camp, hunt, or for recreational purposes. About 50% of
these people continue east from Modesto. How do we capture these individuals?

Aside from the lack of cell phone coverage, internet, amenities, options, etc., there‘s not
much of a draw to Coulterville. Action at the political level needs to take place to assist
in attracting tourists to this town. Some of the roads that would be accessible to
Yosemite to and from Coulterville are not even on the map. This makes it even more
difficult to know you can go that way.

Another piece is tying together other land owners. Just so happens the nice people we
stayed with (Lenuardo and Anne) have a lot of land and a great idea to rent it out to
touristy types, along with other groups. I‘m sure there are quite a few other people in the
area that are similar. Getting them together, creating some advertising and drawing in the
tourists wanting not only a place to stay, but a rustic, private experience could also help
with the project.

1) Stakeholder motives/goals
2) The lack of current infrastructure in Coulterville

Appendix 2
Interview with Jeff Hentz,
Executive Director at Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau

John Muir IBP MIIS Team (MIIS): What additional sources can we use to gather
tourist information in Mariposa County?
Jeff Hentz (JH): You should take a look at the marketing kit that the Tourism Bureau
distributes to our trade partners. The communication pieces focus on explaining how to
experience everything that Mariposa County has to offer.

MIIS: How do you feel about Coulterville being the site for the John Muir Geotourism
JH: Looking at the big picture, there are four routes leading into Yosemite National
Park. There are highways 41, 140, 120, and J132. The Bureau is biased towards
highways 41 and 140 because they have the most traffic going into the park. However,
we are push for J132 as a main route out. In regards to Coulterville, you need to keep in
mind that the town, along with Hotel Jeffrey, cannot handle bus groups. It can only
handle small families.
       Keep in mind, there is no scientific method to attracting people to a geotourism
center. It‘s important that you gather whatever tourist information you can from the
Visitor Center. Because we stay open 365 days a year, we get about 100,000 visitors per
year. Now, eighty percent of these visitors come to the Mariposa Visitor Center, not

MIIS: Besides the visitor centers, where else do you gather information on who visits
Mariposa County?
JH: The Park gathers information from the lodges and their check-in gates. The
Tourism Bureau works with the gates and lodges to collect that information from them.
Hotels have a good idea of where the tourists are coming from by looking at their credit

card information. For the tourists that plan their trip through a tour operator, the hotels
can look at the manifest to see where these visitors came from.
        The hotels and visitor centers have a guestbook that tourists can sign. The guest
book gives the option to include comments like where they are from. Other than that, we
don‘t have another way of collecting this type of information.
        You can also check out the California Travel and Tourism Commission. Dan
Mishell is a good person to get in contact with. He is the research director and has a lot
of information. I know off the top of my head that LA and SF are the two main gateways
being measured from who lands there and visits Yosemite. 60-70% of tourists who land
in these areas make it to Yosemite on their trip and 1.8 million tourists came to California
last year. It‘s not all about overnights but it‘s about visitation.

MIIS: Can you expand on that?
JH: I like to treat Yosemite like a theme park, due to my background in the theme park
industry. What I mean by that is the selling of the park and selling the experiences of the
park. We are seeing that more and more people are wanting to stay in a hotel property.
Camping is fun and all but only for a day or two. Current numbers are almost 2 days in
the park, up from 1.5. People‘s average stay in the county is up to 3 days. But our goal is
to get people here for 7 days. I believe the experience will change people‘s lives. They
will leave a different person due to the experience.
        To support this goal, there are currently 800 rooms available in the park, 3500
rooms in the closely surrounding areas such as Mariposa, and 8000 rooms in
Merced/Fresno. And repeat visitation is phenomenal. Eighty percent of international
visitors are here on a first time, but a large part of international visitors express that they
would like to revisit see more of Yosemite. In Coulterville, Hotel Jeffrey has its
limitations due to the historical aspect of it. But I still think Coulterville is a prime
location for visitation.

MIIS: Can you explain what Delaware North is?

JH: Yosemite Park outsources the tours and day to day operations to Delaware North.
They are a large company that manages sports arenas, parts of Yellowstone, and some
hotels. They pretty much run the Park along with the Tenaya Lodge.

MIIS: How does Mariposa County ensure tourism in the area continues to flourish?
JH: Right now, taxes are up 15% on hospitality. This tax goes towards the general well-
being of the county. To make sure tourism in this county continues to improve we make
sure a small fee goes towards all hospitality. Last year the county collected $10.4 million
in hospitality fees and $1.4 million in BID.

MIIS: What is BID?
JH: BID stands for Business Improvement District. It allows for hotels and motels to
approve and include a fee that goes towards building improvements.

MIIS: Can you describe the relationship between the Tourism Bureau, the Coulterville
Visitor Center, and the Chamber of Commerce?
JH: The Mariposa Chamber of Commerce currently chambers 150 companies within the
county. Their budget is not the biggest. They get about $100,000 to operate. Initially,
the county offered the building to the Lions Club, for them to run it. They didn‘t want to
run it. So the county ran the Visitor Center until the Chamber of Commerce took over.
Specifically, Diane Hernandez is the woman running it. Right now, the Visitor Center
takes suggestions from the Tourism Bureau on how to run it, but the Chamber of
Commerce is technically the one in charge. We tell the Visitor Center about certain
tourism influxes, what fliers to hand out, and what events to recommend. So the Tourism
Bureau sort of babysits the Visitor Center while the Chamber of Commerce runs it and
the county is out of managing it completely. But because we are currently trying to
navigate through a tourism depression, we are not worried as much right now about the
Visitor Center.

MIIS: What are your thoughts on combining the Visitor Center, the History Center
Museum, and the Geotourism Center in Coulterville?

JH: There is support to have it all within a mile. I believe we will lose visitation if it is
too spread out. It would be more effective to have an office and museums. Putting it all
in one place might be beneficial but you need to make sure you do not cramp any of the

MIIS: What portion of visitors that come to Mariposa County and Yosemite are
JH: It is very diversified, the international factor is massive. It was tracked at 13% in
2008 and the number has since doubled to 26% in the last 3 years. New York is the only
other market outside of Yosemite that is so internationally diversified, and San Francisco
is also close. I‘d say Australia, UK, Germany, France, Korea, Japan, and China are the
top international countries that visit and invest in Yosemite. But yes, the market,
internationally, is amazing.

MIIS: You mentioned UK, Germany, and Australia as the top three countries that visit
Yosemite. Why do you think that is?
JH: Well Germany by far, UK and Australia, even Canada tends to be the more rough
and tumble type of tourists. They are more outdoorsy. Japanese tourists are very tour
bus driven, however they also bring over Japanese Foreign Independent Travelers. These
are the type that travel alone, no bus, and are typically much younger. They are sort of a
backpacking type. We‘ve recently been seeing the UK tourism market going down to the
down economy and currently the France tourists are leaving at the same time the
Germany tourists are coming in. It‘s pretty neat to observe.
       Keep in mind that the international market uses a different distribution channel.
US, Europe, and Asia are all on different levels due to sites like Expedia and all the
internet has to offer. Overseas, they are still more old-fashioned and use travel agents
and tourism agencies to book their trip for them. About 85% of international tourists
book their trips through travel agents, only five percent of all tourists book their rooms
while they are in the area. I work with the tour operators overseas, mostly because it is
much less costly than advertising overseas. The Tourism Bureau also hires a receptive
operator that communicates and works with the tour operators overseas. Typically the

receptive operator is used in Japan, China, a little bit in Korea, and in the UK.
International tour operators are the Tourism Bureau‘s communication tool. They operate
one hundred percent overseas and have no offices in Yosemite.
        I‘d say that the tourism pie is broken down into three slices. 25% is international,
75% is California, and the other 5% is made up of domestic US non-California. This
means the rest of the country does not know who Yosemite is. We are currently working
on targeting US domestic baby boomers and minorities, mainly Hispanic.

MIIS: Are there any trail systems to access in Coulterville?
JH: There are some designated hikes but none are fully established or well-groomed at
this point. This means there are liability concerns. We cannot recommend trails that are
not well-managed and groomed. But they‘re working on creating more hiking and biking
trails with the Gateway partners. Their goal is to enable tourists to go all over the place
instead of just parking themselves in Groveland or Oakhurst. Amgen comes through
Mariposa and they want to get more national attention and build off that by offering more
biking trails in the area.

MIIS: Moving forward, how would the Geotourism Center work with the Tourism
Bureau without hindering or leaving out any of the stakeholders?
JH: We would want to let you guys do the marketing. I might make minor suggestions
or spins depending on the audience. Make sure to keep the core product but change up
the packaging a bit. Mariposa County is the Yosemite Experience. They have the bigger
budget and are the big gorilla in the area, a product like the Geotourism Center allows the
Tourism Bureau to diversify our message, attract more eyeballs, and increasing tourism
in the area. The center can also help highlight the John Muir part as a diversified
experience of a visit to Yosemite.

Appendix 3
Interview with John Shimer,
President of Coulterville Museum Board of Directors

John Muir IBP MIIS Team (MIIS): Is the museum privately owned or is it owned by a
public entity?
John Shimer (JS): The museum is tied in with the Chamber of Commerce in Mariposa

MIIS: How does the Coulterville Museum bring in money?
JS: Museum is a non-profit entity run by a group of seven directors. The secretary is the
only paid employee. The museum is able to stay open due to the docents and volunteers
that keep it running seven days a week. The museum depends fully on the volunteers. In
the future, we are hoping to have a staff of 40, in order to stay open 7 days a week and
not be dependent on volunteers.
       The museum also depends on the visitation, they are donation based. They survive
on fundraising because they do not charge a visitation fee. One of the biggest fundraisers
is the annual Coyote Howl. In the recent past, the Pioneer family gave a large donation
to help the museum stay afloat.

MIIS: Can you elaborate more on the Coyote Howl?
JS: Coyote Howl is the museum‘s main fundraising event in Coulterville. It‘s a family
friendly type of event held in the park. In the summer, starting 28 years ago, people
wanted to take advantage of the musical coyotes and hold an event off of highway 49
where they have a contest to see who can howl the most like a coyote. There are
different groups set up, a group howl, pup howl, and adult howl. The event is held on the
third Saturday in May of every year. The typical income is $3,000 to $4,000 for just that
event. In order to raise funds, people solicit donations for prizes from local businesses,
there is a car show that pulls in donations, and they sell t-shirts. Income is based mainly

on the amount of donations they get. Participants are both local and from out of the area.
The history center attracts an international crowd - a lot of folks come from all over the
world. They‘re obviously passing through from the gateway and stop in the little town of
Coulterville and then end up at the history museum. The majority of the people stop by
because they saw advertising for the event. Some of the other folks are on their way to
Yosemite and just happen to be passing through and see the event.

MIIS: What kind of advertising do you do for the Coyote Howl?
JS: Advertising is done in the local papers in Modesto, Fresno, and Sacramento. The
Museum also places ads in the town‘s online papers and they also send out flyers.

MIIS: Are there any other fundraising events the museum holds?
JS: For the past 12 to 14 years, we hold a pancake breakfast every second Sunday. This
event is volunteer based. The museum typically makes $200-$300/month from the event.
These funds help pay for our security system and environmental system. It is mostly just
the local crowd that attends. But sometimes people coming from Yosemite on 132 are
starving and end up stopping by.

MIIS: And what kind of advertising do you do for this event?
JS: Advertising is all local based primarily Sacramento, Modesto and Fresno. We do a
little bit of advertising in the Sacramento Bee. We have a woman by the name of Gail
Silverman who volunteers and is a great help in getting the word out.

MIIS: Can you elaborate on the docent training programs being run by the museum?
JS: There are currently two docent programs. I am managing the John Muir docent
program and hope to see it expand to 40 docents. A grant proposal of $20,000 was
accepted from the Graf-Pulvino Charitable Fund. This grant was to see if a John Muir
tour of his ‘68 – ‘69 route was sustainable. Currently we have a lead docent trainer and 2
trainees out of Mariposa - they‘re developing a program, being paid from the Graf-
Pulvino grant, and determining whether or not they can sustain the type of John Muir tour
they want to have. Our goal is to provide the international traveler with the John Muir

experience. There is a 30-40 mile stretch of his experience of entering the Coulterville
area just 20 minutes away. We want people to see what he saw and smell what he

MIIS: How will docent trainer and trainees determine if this plan is sustainable and
when will they have their study and docent packet completed?
JS: Currently they are not doing any studies, they are not doing any research, and they
are not collecting any data. They are attempting to package the passion. This is being
fueled purely by the passion of a few individuals. They are attempting to put together a
package of passion. I am not sure when the docent training packet will be completed; my
best guess is in a few weeks.

MIIS: Who is being trained?
JS: We are training people from China. They have come over with a background in
natural science and they already have training in things such as flowers, birds, and other
outdoor knowledge.

MIIS: Where are these trainings taking place?
JS: They are being trained within the confines of the museum as well as the surrounding
outside area.

MIIS: Who leads the trainings?
JS: Committee chair of docent program, Helen Bauman, will eventually branch out and
give tours of the old town buildings, the old rose collection of roses from ‗far, far away‘,
and the cemetery. Currently docent trainings are done out of a binder that contains
information on docents from the past few years.

MIIS: Are these docents getting paid or are they going to be getting paid?
JS: The history center docents are not being paid. The docent trainers are being paid a
small amount from the grant fund. In the long run we plan to keep the docent program
volunteer based.

MIIS: What is your sense of the local reaction to increasing the number of visitors to
JS: It is going to be a confusing situation in Coulterville. Currently, the history center is
sponsored or taken care of by the Chamber of Commerce. I think the history center is
going to eventually wind up with the visitors center. The Chamber of Commerce
recently bid on the contract of the visitor center in the hopes of making a one stop shop.
Unfortunately, politics got in the way.

MIIS: How do you feel about making a one stop shop instead of having multiple sites
with information?
JS: If we have multiple sites handing out different visitor information, the tourists could
get confused. I believe a one stop shop would be much better. My board of directors
wants to make sure we maintain the history center and provide accurate information to
the visitor. Currently the visitor center is not able to provide any sort of accurate
information for the visitor. The History Center is going to have a geotourism center that
provides an experience. It will not come with any political traffic. We are ready to move
forward with having the geotourism center co-located with the history center. We are
also hoping to bring the visitor center in as well and co-locate all three, but the Chamber
of Commerce is not cooperating as best as we want.

Appendix 4
Interview with James Dion,
National Geographic Geotourism MapGuides Coordinator

        Visitor center is not his area of expertise
        Many of these questions would be better for the marketing specialists - he‘s not
         the best person to answer questions about the center
        Diplomatic: people of the county don‘t interact...dry side of the mountain to wet
         side of the mountain don‘t see eye to eye.
        John Muir was the unifying type.

John Muir IBP MIIS Team (MIIS): What are the obstacles?
James Dion (JD): Current community leaders are content. They don‘t see the need to
expand and work with other communities - don‘t see the bigger issue.
Concept of provincialism.
Narrow scope of communication for this project. Need to set up geotourism stewardship
council to maintain this in the future. JM is iconic brand that will bring people to the table
b/c of the shared interest.
Wet/dry side of mountain people - need to create buy-in over time. Center will create
destination identity for the entire region. Center should communicate to the visitors
where they are, why they‘re there, etc. If we can convince the locals they‘ll benefit,
they‘ll buy into the idea eventually.
Inyio County

MIIS: Role of national geographic?
JD: Geotourism isn‘t copyrighted. Not co-branded officially - no agreement yet. Outside
of the grand canyon there is a project that is co-branded and co-managed...?? If co-

branded, it would not be a casual relationship - very formalized. This is a question for
Sahara - is this in line with the overall sierra nevada project? May be costly...

MIIS: Can we sell Ray of Ligh products only in the center?
JD: Need to pay for use of brand - people in the area will be able to give you better
cost/return figures. James doesn‘t know much about this. Depends on the partnerships
between the brands. He‘s seen co-mingled retailing with NG products and other brands.

MIIS: What costs will be incurred?
JD: All conceptual up to this point. Very expensive. IMAX theater and films...expensive.

MIIS: Is there a sample budget or any other financial statements we can access from
Driggs that we can reference? Any contacts for us?
JD: Reid Rogers. I will mention this to him today, see if i can do an online introduction.
He has a plan that they‘re discussing today with photos, design, floor plan, etc for the
Driggs center. He might not be ready to share it with us.
(FYI - Project Details for Driggs: This project will construct an approximately 5,000sf
scenic byways center, partly as an addition to and partly as an interior remodel of the
existing Driggs City Center building. The visitor center will include byway interpretive
displays and is proposed to house a national collection of art from Thomas Moran and
William Henry Jackson. In addition, the project will improve the City Center Plaza
adjacent to Main Street. -{A6859B1A-9251-

MIIS: Do we need a charter?
JD: No - have only been doing contracts for the last 4 years. Ask Sahara how JM center
could enter into the geotourism council.

MIIS: Website conflicts with national geographic?

JD: Licensing agreement. Probably wouldn‘t co-brand a website if they don‘t have full
editing power over it. If they did wish to co-brand, they would have their digital media
department develop a website for the geotourism center.

JD‘s answers to emailed questions:

1. We have read the definition of geotourism but were wondering if you could add
anything to the definition and maybe explain how geotourism came about?

Definition: tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its
environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

Geotourism incorporates the concept of sustainable tourism—that destinations should
remain unspoiled for future generations—while allowing for ways to protect a place's
character. Geotourism also takes a principle from its ecotourism cousin,—that tourism
revenue should promote conservation—and extends it to culture and history as well, that
is, all distinctive assets of a place.

2. Are there any other places, besides the Grand Tetons and this project we are
working on that are looking to start a geotourism center?

I believe you are referring to the Greater Yellowstone Visitors Center that is planned for
Driggs, Idaho. The driving force for the center is Reid Rogers. Reid sits on the Greater
Yellowstone Geotourism Stewardship Council. I am happy to send you his contact
information or prepare an introduction to him for you. He led an impressive strategy that
includes an interesting design and functionality of the center itself. We are coordinating
among the various NG silos on how they can possibly contribute to the installation and
branding of the center. Right now Reid is in the planning and development stages. The
timeline for shovel ready is within the current year.

3. The Sierra Nevada area already has a NG Charter, would the Geotourism Center
need a charter in order to be a part of the Geotourism Alliance?
If the Center is a member of the Sierra Nevada GSC then probably not, however we
should consider pursuing some sort of MOI or MOU between NGMD and the Center at
some point.
4. How could we utilize the Geotourism Alliance, how could it benefit the
Geotourism Center?
Are you referring to the National Geotoruism Council or the SN GSC?
5. Are there other International Geotourism locations?
Geotourism stewardship council, mapguide / website projects have been completed for:
Mexico – Sonora Desert bi-national mapguide with Arizona, USA
Guatemala – nationwide mapguide and website
- City of Montreal Geotourism MapGuide
- Crown of the Continent – bi national project with Montana, Alberta and B.C.
Mozambique - Geotourism Mapguide - Northern region
Peru – Vilcanota Valley
Geotourism stewardship council, mapguide / website projects are currently in
production for:
Ethiopia – MapGuide of the Southern Rift Valley
Western Balkans – Geotourism website for Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo,
Macedonia, Montenegro
Canada – Eastern Newfoundland
Portugal – Douro Valley
6. What do you feel would be appropriate to find in a geotoursim center?
Describe your vision of what a John Muir geotourism center would be like (literally
-what would the physical space look like and include?)
Not my area of expertise. Budget will dictate a lot of the options so not sure what scope
and scale you are talking about here. You might want to look at the installation planned
for Driggs as a model. Other ideas to look at are the NGS Visitors Center at the Grand

Here are some ideas:
       Interactive website ―room‖ with a large screen showing the navigable SN
        Geotourism website. Computer kiosks where peoplw can navigate through the site
        individuall and link to the other geotourism websites
       Large mounted display of the SN Geotourism MapGuide (not yet completed).
        Smaller displays of the other Geotourism MapGuides
       IMAX theater – (NG Media group has icensing agreements)
       NG Retail store (either sell licensed NG co-branded merchandise or have NG
        Retail run it)
       Restaurant serving ―authentic‖ food and drink of the region
       NG Maps Machine kiosk (can download any map. Share of proceeds with

What would the greater John Muir Geotourism Experience ideally include?
A holistic experience that will inspire visitors to make decisions while travelling to the
region that will help conserve and preserve the region sense of place and enhance benefits
for local people.
Would it be appropriate to sell John Muir Highway merchandise? How do other
geotourism centers sustain themselves financially? What are the major costs?
See above.
How, if at all, would national geographic be involved with this particular project?
I am on the Board of the Driggs Center. Could play a role with you as well. I can help
bridge contact to the NG Divisions (Maps, Expositions, Retail, Digital Media, Publishing,
Film) that we may want to include. Please note that all this is dependent on your budget.
Sky is almost the limit, but the input will need to be paid for.
Do you have any resources that could be useful to us?
What Is Geotourism?
Geotourism adds to sustainability principles by building on a destination's geographical
character, its "sense of place," to emphasize the distinctiveness of its locale and benefit
visitor and resident alike.

Geotourism is synergistic: All the elements of geographical character work together to
create a tourist experience that is richer than the sum of its parts, appealing to visitors
with diverse interests.
It involves the community. Local businesses and civic groups join to provide a
distinctive, authentic visitor experience.
It informs both visitors and hosts. Residents discover their own heritage by learning
that things they take for granted may be interesting to outsiders. As local people develop
pride and skill in showing off their locale, tourists get more out of their visit.
It benefits residents economically. Travel businesses hire local workers, and use local
services, products, and supplies. When community members understand the benefits of
geotourism, they take responsibility for destination stewardship.
        It supports integrity of place. Destination-savvy travelers seek out businesses
that emphasize the character of the locale. In return, local stakeholders who receive
economic benefits appreciate and protect the value of those assets.

It means great trips. Enthusiastic visitors bring home new knowledge. Their stories
encourage friends and relatives to experience the same thing, which brings continuing
business for the destination.
What Is Sustainable Tourism?
Sustainable tourism, like a doctor's code of ethics, means "First, do no harm." It is the
foundation for destination stewardship.
Sustainable tourism protects its product-the destination. It avoids the "loved to death"
syndrome by anticipating development pressures and applying limits and management
techniques that preserve natural habitats, heritage sites, scenic appeal, and local culture.
It conserves resources. Environmentally aware travelers patronize businesses that
reduce pollution, waste, energy consumption, water usage, landscaping chemicals, and
excessive nighttime lighting.
It respects local culture and tradition. Foreign visitors learn local etiquette, including
at least a few courtesy words in the local language. Residents learn how to deal with
foreign expectations that may differ from their own.

It aims for quality, not quantity. Destinations measure tourism success not just by
numbers of visitors, but by length of stay, how they spend their money, and the quality of
their experience.

Appendix 5
Interview with Miguel Maldonado
Website Designer and Contributor to Groveland Yosemite Gateway

Miguel Maldonado (MM): Before we begin, I would like to ask all of you this question:
What is a mind?
John Muir IBP MIIS Team (MIIS): Your source of reasoning (Natasha). Where you
create your visions (Katja). An indefinable source of your person (Mike).

MM: A thought is an energy. Six levels of energy is the physical domain of the world.
Energy has to be transformed into a thought. You can think of it like raw ingredients into
pizza. If you can focus on what we value as individuals, then on a collective level all
parties will work more effectively. You must understand there are no limitations
concerning your thoughts and the ―universal force‖ on what you can do.

MM: What brings you to this project as individuals?
MIIS: education, creativity, and the natural world

MM: What do you see as a vision for this meeting?
MIIS: To get as much insight out of you as possible and get your opinion on our project
and how we can move forward.

MIIS: Can you give us some background on how you came to work with Ken Pulvino?
MM: I met Ken Pulvino five years ago and Ken wanted my help to organize the plan to
secure a piece of land. We are using three forces to create something new and it is
working. The proof is in our group being here today to help create this Geotourism

MM: Your energy as a team needs to be focused in the right direction. In regards to the
project, if you focus your energy in the same place you will be able to move forward.
Spend time together, define your own values, and create priorities. Learn where you
need to focus our energy. Find the ―air‖ of the activity. If you do not have a shared
vision for the activity or the project, you will be lost. Do not listen to other people on
what their vision is. You need to create your own as a group. Understand that energy
being split two ways is natural. Polarities are useful. Be natural, do not hear what others
want you to do but rather listen to the wisdom that they want to share. Choose your own
way but utilize the wisdom that is given to us.

MM: When you share your concepts and ideas make sure to do it politely and do not
interrupt. It will allow for a better focus and thought process. Do not give up on the
effort to change something. Be sure to challenge it. Brainstorming is a very difficult step
but do not give up. Remember to do the forming, storming, norming, and performing.
Miguel‘s Response to E-Mailed Questions:

Hello MIIS Group – Brad, Sean, Natasha, Michael, Katja and Brooke:

At our meeting in Groveland, I made an specific request to either invite me to participate
into your discovery process, and/or come back to Groveland and the regional area to
experience firsthand all the 'nuances' of the possible John Muir Development Center.

The offer to return and have 'apprenticeship' opportunities, plus having face to face
interactions with local folks that can provide guidance and wisdom is still valid.

Some of your questions regarding the Yosemite Gateway Groveland Museum can be
easily handled by the visionary people that constructed the building, on their own,
without grants nor funds from government entities. I've being part of the museum
operations committee for 9-years, and I moved into the area two years after the actual
construction. There are other stories that you need to listen to.

There are many other people that can provide you with hands-on experiential stories, and
challenge your 'minds' beyond my own. Please remember my Re-Quest: Focus on three
essential elements of 'survival'; create the 'activity' (project) at the level of transformation,
NOT just change. And make your final presentation as a result of life-in the moment and
in your own experiences in this area for 7-8 weeks

Copying and reproducing statistical data created by others, is at the level of change: From
one 'state' to another 'state' (physical condition) produced with previous biases from
researchers that were not living around us. There is plenty of this data in the local
archives, as well as visitors bureaus, and Yosemite National Park. All of this data is NOT
going to represent transformational energy.
        There are kind people in Groveland willing to host (house) some, or all of you.
Make the effort. Breathe the Groveland air; drink the cleanest world-wide water from
Hetch Hetchy via Groveland Community Services District; and last but not least, eat the
local food (I'll cook for you). Just let me know when.

There are two more potential opportunities for the group (not a team YET, remember).
One is to attend the Summer quarterly meeting of Yosemite Gateway Partners on July 14.
The group of ~70 people represent real diversity of skills, with current and past
experiences that will enhance your efforts

The second opportunity is to join me in Carmel for our consulting group meeting, on July
22-23. You can present your project, and the group will be glad to support your needs.
Again 1-2 of you, or the whole group is invited

Please respond to any and all of my statements, and keep me informed on your progress,
or lack of . . . I can take either one — Miguel

  Appendix 6
  May 2011, Coulterville Visitor Center Log

Coulterville Visitor Center                              Note: The total number of
                                                         travelers (1069) does not add
                              from the visitor centers   up with the amount of people
Total visitors           1069 log                        that signed in (212). This
US                        143
                                                         might be due to the following
UK                         10
Germany                     8                            reasons: some people only
France                      5                            signed up one of their
Canada                      4
Australia                   2                            traveling members, people
Netherlands                 2                            traveling in large groups
South Africa                2                            might only state number of
Belgium                     1
Bangladesh                  1                            travelers without specific
Switzerland                 1                            about each travelers and
Spain                       1
                                                         origin. There could also be
Thailand                    1
Japan                       1                            errors made when converting
Singapore                   1                            data from sheets to electronic
Jordan                      1
Georgia                     1                            forms. This was also the only
Mexico                      1                            month of persona specific (i.e.
Bulgaria                    1
                                                         country of origin, name,
Indonesia                   1
Guyana                      1                            gender etc.) data that could be
Ethiopia                    1                            provided by the visitor center
Kenya                       1
                                                         as all their data is sent to
Unknown                    21
Total                     212 Total signed visitors      Mariposa County, where only
                                                         the amount of visitors is

Appendix 7
August 4, 2011
Second Interview with Jeff Hentz
Spoke about Sample studies that were just conducted over the summer. These may be
available in the coming weeks.
This study covers and is completed in cooperation with:
      Park service
      Traffic by gate
      Visitation demographics as well as origin
      Feedback from survey recently completed as far as international demographics
      Ability to track where people are coming from and where they‘re leaving from
      Someone hired for a few weeks a year – where visitors are and where
       demographics lie – sample 150 visitors in a period of time. Where the visitors
       come from and why they come.
    - 2009 or 2010 similar structure as random samples. Report
       (visitor study or some other fancy name) / this is the study from the Winter of
       2008 that we have been utilizing
      Report funded by the University of Idaho
      Current survey – where did you go/visit
      They would like to hire an outside school to provide data on breakdown on
       visitors and buying habits
Qualitative -
Reports given every other year. Expensive (University of Idaho)
Marketing internationally
      20-30 countries – not just 10 (which countries? – no answer)
      Expanded season past April
      They have their own random surveys (Not ready for publication yet)
      Oakhurst welcome center - welcome book (not digital) / tried to contact, but they
       don‘t have accurate records and have not gotten back to me yet.

 Appendix 8
August 10, 2011
Interview with John Shimer
Board meeting update
They have agreed to pursue the property that will expand the museum to another building
on the parcel directly behind the existing museum. They are excited about the inclusion of
the Geotourism Center and believe it may put them over the top to avoid future budget
deficits and really help revitalize the town. He said he guarantees that the museum will
own this property, probably by the end of the year after some details and the negotiations
are worked out.
Property Update
The building they will be acquiring will offer approximately 600 ft.2 of space and based
on the current real estate market should go for between 60,000 and 70,000. The museum
then plans to put an additional sum of money, up to or less than the purchase price, into
the unit for renovations. It likely won‘t be ready for occupancy until late next summer at
the earliest.
Geotourism Center Management
Would be administrated by current History Center office manager who is a paid staffer.
this individual would take care of paying the bills but the Center itself would be operated
by volunteers just as the museum is currently.
History Center Financial Info
currently the HC has a $52,000 annual budget
$19,000 goes to the office manager
$8,000 go to fixed costs including utilities, security, pest management, etc.
$5,000 in variable costs including maintenance
rest is used for various activities but primarily fundraising
the museum generally has an annual deficit of 3000-4000
have 146 paid members and get sponsors primarily for their fundraising events
New Unit Financial Info
Shimer expects the new unit to add approximately $4000 annually to their operating costs.
this is the amount that the Geotourism Center will be expected to cover. Any additional

revenues will help supplement the annual budget defecit of the museum and provide
additional funds for fundraising events and improvement opportunities.

Appendix 9
Revival of Walhalla, Victoria
       The following information is all retrieved from ―Historic Walhalla‖ (2011).
Walhalla is a small town located in South-Eastern Australia, just East of Melbourne. In
the mid-1800‘s, Walhalla had a population of about 2,500. Throughout the years
between 1850 and 2010, this town had gone from a booming gold mine town, to a ghost
town with no mines and barely any population, to a rejuvenated small-town tourist
attraction. Because of a few interested and willing parties, Walhalla went from a once
abandoned town into an old town experience.
       The gold rush of Victoria, Australia started in 1851. Pushing out from
Melbourne, a few lone prospectors found gold within Bald Hills, a town now recognized
as Walhalla. Soon after this discovery, a rush of prospectors came to the area and quickly
diminished what gold resources were left to be panned for. By 1863 they began to mine
the underground veins in the hills of Walhalla. By the early 1900‘s there had been
around 55 tons of gold produced. This type of production would bring much attention to
the area.
       Between the mid 1800‘s and early 1900‘s there was a boom period in Walhalla.
Because of additional gold findings along with copper findings, Walhalla had a town
filled with banks, a dozen hotels, and even breweries. Walhalla became large enough to
have fraternities and even a debate club. In 1879 the town chose to reduce their isolation
even more by offering daily coach services along with adding a railway connection.
After receiving both electricity and the telephone in the late 1800‘s, Walhalla hit their
peak population. At the beginning of the 1900‘s, the gold mines became depleted. When
businesses started to make more decisions for personal gain rather than good of the town,
Walhalla began diminish.
       Business interests took precedence and the Victorian government agreed to build
an additional and unnecessary railway into Walhalla. The goal of this additional railway
was to bring more residents to the town. But because of closing mines and the increasing
unprofitability of gold, the railway had no use. Eventually most of the population left
Walhalla to find better opportunities. No gold mines meant no industry for the town to
prosper from. Because of two fires in the mid-1900‘s, the town of Walhalla remained a

ghost town for the majority of the century. It wasn‘t until the 1980‘s when the tourist
industry began to emerge in South-East Australia that Walhalla began to see a ray of
        The tourist industry in Australia began to show signs of life in the 1980‘s and
Victoria took action to revitalize the town of Walhalla. They began to restore historical
buildings and reconstruct one of the main railways. These surges in restorations lead to
an interested group of investors wanting to reconstruct a main railway in Walhalla as a
tourist attraction. The reconstructed railway would take visitors through the Stringer‘s
Creek Gorge to see the old town and the old mines. It was looked at as historical trip and
was enhanced by the renovation of an original train station and other original buildings.
Currently, companies are returning to the area in an attempt to resurrect gold mining in
the area. Tours in the area now include hikes, visits to historical buildings and mines,
along with rides on the restored railways.
        The town of Walhalla is still not the town it once was in the 1800‘s. However,
the recent rise in tourism and effort to bring people to the old ghost town has delivered a
surge in the population and economy. We can compare this town to the possible success
of Coulterville. Both towns have similar backgrounds in mining and both were once
considered ghost towns. An increased interest in bringing tourism to Coulterville via the
John Muir Geotourism Center could be what revitalizes the town. The Geotourism
Center can show the surrounding area that one beneficial attraction can open multiple
doors of opportunity for other incoming businesses. With the addition of the John Muir
Geotourism Center, Coulterville has a chance to flourish.

Appendix 10
Benchmarking Data: Tuolumne County & Mariposa County
                                  Total Visitor Spending per Year
 Dollars In Millions

                       200                                      y = 8,0943x + 273,69
                       150                                             Mariposa County
                        50                                      y = 3,8029x + 145,81
                                2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

                                Visitor Spending At Hotels per Year

 Dollars In Millions

                       200                                           y = 7,16x + 223,01
                       150                                             Mariposa County

                       100                                             Tuolumne County
                                                                  y = 1,8114x + 52,627

                                2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

                                Visitor Spending on Recreations per
 Dollars In Millions

                       40                                             Mariposa + 50,72
                                                                  y = -0,1343x County
                       30                                             Tuolumne County
                       20                                         y = 0,0714x + 25,633
                                2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

       In order to properly interpret tourism data and develop pricing strategies, it is
essential to get an idea of how your area of focus is comparing to a similar area within
close proximity. Ideally, we would want to compare the towns of Groveland and
Coulterville. Groveland is a larger town but upholds similar environmentally conscious
values as Coulterville. Finding specific data for the two towns has proven hard to
accomplish. Instead, we can benchmark the two neighboring counties. Both counties
serve as gateways into Yosemite National Park and by using Tuolumne County as a
benchmark with Mariposa County will give us an idea on how each area is performing.
The three points of data we are looking at revolve around visitor spending within the
county. Specifically, we look at total spending, spending on hotels or motels, and
spending on recreational activities. This data was taken from the California Travel
Impacts by County study released in April, 2011.
       Total visitor spending in both Tuolumne County and Mariposa County have a
positive slope. However it is easy to see that there is significantly more visitor spending
in Mariposa County. In 2009, visitors spent a total of $328.9 million in Mariposa County
compared to only $161.3 million in Tuolumne County. Also, between 2008 and 2009
visitors actually spent about $11 million less money in Tuolumne County. This
information tells us that Mariposa County is consistently attracting more visitors per year
as well as getting them to spend more money, while Tuolumne County is struggling to
increase visitor spending.
       Visitor spending at hotels in both counties is quite similar to total money spent.
The slopes are quite similar and while Mariposa County has increased their visitor
spending at hotels, Tuolumne County is seeing less money spent on hotels. One thing to
notice is that 82% of the total spending in Mariposa County is made up of visitor‘s
spending money on hotels. Tuolumne County has a much smaller difference of 37%.
This can be looked at as an opportunity for Mariposa County, the town of Coulterville,
and the John Muir Geotourism Center. If more people are staying overnight at hotels in
Mariposa County, we gain an opportunity to offer additional activities that might
accompany their visit to Yosemite. The main goals of the Yosemite Mariposa Tourism
Bureau in working with the John Muir Geotourism Center are to diversify their message

by offering more activity options and increase the number of days visitors are spending in
Yosemite and the surrounding area. Seeing that visitors are spending more money
consistently each year on hotels and motels is assuring.
       The final benchmark comparison shows both negative and positive reflections for
Mariposa County. On one side, the slope of the trendline is negative in Mariposa County,
while the neighboring county of Tuolumne is seeing a positive trendline. In 2006,
Mariposa County took a big hit in visitor spending on recreations while Tuolumne
County has remained somewhat constant between 2004 and 2009. However, between
2008 and 2009 the visitor recreational spending increased by $3 million while spending
in Tuolumne County fell by $1 million. Overall, visitor spending on recreations has been
consistently higher than Tuolumne and has seen a surge in the last year. While Tuolumne
County has remained constant between 2004 and 2009, their numbers are significantly
lower. (All data taken from California Travel and Tourism Commission. California
Travel Impacts by County. April, 2011).

Appendix 11
Mariposa County Transient Occupancy Tax

               Fiscal Year          Million $       Annual Change
                  1992                      $4.30                N/A
                  1993                      $4.30             2.10%
                  1994                      $4.60             6.70%
                  1995                      $5.50           18.20%
                  1996                      $5.10            -6.60%
                  1997                      $5.00            -3.00%
                  1998                      $5.70           15.00%
                  1999                      $6.00             4.70%
                  2000                      $6.10             2.60%
                  2001                      $6.80           10.90%
                  2002                      $7.20             6.50%
                  2003                      $7.50             2.90%
                  2004                      $7.80             5.00%
                  2005                      $8.30             5.90%
                  2006                      $8.70             5.30%
                  2007                      $9.30             6.60%
                  2008                     $10.30           10.80%
                  2009                      $9.70            -6.20%
                  2010                     $11.40           17.80%

*Data Source: Dean Runyan and Associates, 2011

Appendix 12
Unemployment Rates in Coulterville
               Historical Civilian Labor Force
                       Mariposa County

                                                                                                                  Average # of
                                                             Unemployment   Minimum      Maximum                 Jobs Lost from  Year Winter Average
 Year        Month     Labor Force Employment Unemployment                                          Differencial                                        Average
                                                                 Rate     Unemployment Unemployment                Summer to    Average Unemployment
                                                                                                                     Winter                                       Year
 Jan-06      January     8490        7850         640           7.56%         4.32%         7.56%       3.24%       275.08     5.70%      6.43%         4.97%     2006
Feb-06      February     8470        7830         640           7.56%                                                                     6.77%         5.32%     2007
Mar-06        March      8540        7920         620           7.25%                                                                     8.61%        6.43%      2008
Apr-06         April     8720        8160         560           6.44%                                                                    12.08%        9.15%      2009
May-06         May       8960        8510         450           5.00%                                                                    13.66%        10.65%     2010
Jun-06         June      9580        9110         470           4.87%                                                                    14.87%        11.99%     2011
  Jul-06        July     9760        9290         470           4.83%
Aug-06       August      9850        9420         430           4.32%
Sep-06     September     9490        9080         410           4.34%
Oct-06      October      9030        8600         430           4.71%
Nov-06     November      8650        8170         490           5.60%
Dec-06     December      8830        8310         520           5.87%
 Jan-07      January     8670        8030         640           7.35%         4.61%         7.56%       2.95%       255.77     6.05%
Feb-07      February     8650        8000         650           7.56%
Mar-07        March      8630        8010         620           7.16%
Apr-07         April     8570        8000         570           6.60%
May-07         May       8750        8250         500           5.76%
Jun-07         June      9680        9180         500           5.13%
  Jul-07        July     10120       9610         510           5.06%
Aug-07       August      9960        9500         460           4.61%
Sep-07     September     9500        9050         450           4.76%
Oct-07      October      9010        8540         470           5.24%
Nov-07     November      8630        8080         550           6.35%
Dec-07     December      8780        8170         610           6.98%
 Jan-08      January     8790        8030         750           8.56%         6.13%        10.04%       3.91%       343.69     7.52%
Feb-08      February     8690        7970         710           8.19%
Mar-08        March      8720        7990         730           8.35%
Apr-08         April     8750        8130         620           7.12%
May-08         May       9230        8620         610           6.55%
Jun-08         June      9980        9370         610           6.13%
  Jul-08        July     10250       9620         640           6.22%
Aug-08       August      10180       9540         640           6.28%
Sep-08     September     10090       9450         640           6.29%
Oct-08      October      9250        8560         690           7.41%
Nov-08     November      8720        7920         790           9.10%
Dec-08     December      8740        7870         880           10.04%
 Jan-09      January     8770        7670        1110           12.59%        8.32%        13.06%       4.74%       415.70    10.62%
Feb-09      February     8780        7670        1110           12.59%
Mar-09        March      8760        7660        1100           12.51%
Apr-09         April     8910        7980         930           10.47%
May-09         May       9290        8400         890           9.55%
Jun-09         June      10180       9260         920           9.01%
  Jul-09        July     10350       9420         930           8.96%
Aug-09       August      10380       9490         890           8.58%
Sep-09     September     10110       9270         840           8.32%
Oct-09      October      9310        8370         940           10.06%
Nov-09     November      8930        7890        1040           11.68%
Dec-09     December      8990        7820        1170           13.06%
 Jan-10      January     9000        7670        1340           14.84%       10.01%        14.84%       4.83%       434.70    12.15%
Feb-10      February     9040        7710        1340           14.76%
Mar-10        March      9080        7760        1320           14.55%
Apr-10         April     9260        8130        1130           12.22%
May-10         May       9390        8360        1040           11.06%
Jun-10         June      10090       9070        1020           10.12%
  Jul-10        July     10350       9290        1060           10.21%
Aug-10       August      10350       9310        1040           10.01%
Sep-10     September     9970        8950        1020           10.26%
Oct-10      October      9410        8380        1040           10.99%
Nov-10     November      9090        7890        1200           13.17%
Dec-10     December      9240        7970        1260           13.66%
 Jan-11      January     9100        7730        1370           15.03%       11.32%        15.03%       3.71%       337.61    13.43%
Feb-11      February     9050        7700        1350           14.90%
Mar-11        March      9070        7740        1330           14.69%
Apr-11         April     9090        7920        1160           12.81%
May-11         May       9000        7930        1070           11.85%
Jun-11         June      9820        8710        1110           11.32%

                                          Unemployment Rate












                                                  Unemployment Rate

                                     Seasonal Unemployment


 Unemployment Rate

                                                                                      Winter Average
                     0,08                                                             Unemployment
                                                                                      Summer Average
                     0,06                                                             Unemployment



                            2006   2007    2008     2009     2010     2011

1) Per the EDD, data may not add due to rounding. The unemployment rate is calculated using unrounded
2) Labor force data for 2006 to 2011, however 2011 data and calculations are based on only 6 months of
available data for the current year

3) Citation: Employment Development Department, State of California. (2011, July 22). Historical civilian
labor force, mariposa county. Retrieved from

    Appendix 13
    International Spending in California, 2009

       Country                Canada        UK       Australia   France   Germany
Spending in Millions USD       1500         680        500        350       350

    International Spending in Yosemite, 2000

  Country            Canada            UK         Australia      France   Germany
 Spending in
 Millions USD          n/a             7             1.4          5.3       5.3

Appendix 14

Appendix 15

Map of Project Contacts

 Appendix 16
2007 Chevrolet Express 2500 Passenger LS Van 3D

Vehicle Highlights

MPG: -                               Max Seating: 12

Doors: 3                             Engine: V8, 4.8 Liter

Drivetrain: RWD                      Transmission: Automatic

EPA Class: Vans, Passenger Type      Body Style: Van

                                     Country of Assembly: United
Country of Origin: United States     States

Suggested Retail Price for Excellent Condition: $15,915
Mileage: 57,500

Safety, Warranty
  Standard Airbag                             Driver

 Child Door Locks              Standard
 Engine Immobilizer            Not available
 Traction Control              Not available
 Communication System          -

Warranty Information
 Basic                         3 years or 36000 miles
 Powertrain                    5 years or 100000 miles
 Corrosion/Rust Thru           6 years or 100000 miles
 Roadside Assistance Program   -
 Hybrid Components             -

 Engine                        V8, 4.8 Liter
 Horsepower                    285 @ 5200 RPM
 Torque                        295 @ 4000 RPM
 Gas Mileage                   -
 Bore x Stroke                 3.78 x 3.27
 Compression Ratio             9.5
 Fuel Type                     Gas
 Fuel Induction                Sequential Fuel Induction
 Valve Train                   Overhead Valve
 Valves Per Cylinder           2
 Total Number Valves           16
 Transmission                  Automatic
 Drivetrain                    RWD
 Transfer Case                 -
 Fuel Capacity                 31.0 gallons
 Wheel Base                    135.0 inches
 Overall Length                224.1 inches
 Width with Mirrors            79.4 inches
 Width without Mirrors         -
 Height                        81.6 inches
 Curb Weight                   -

Tires / Wheel Size         LT225/75R16E
Rear Tires / Wheel Size    -
Turning Radius             45.2 feet
Standard Axle Ratio        3.73
Minimum Ground Clearance   -
Maximum Ground Clearance   7.1 inches
Maximum GVWR               8600 lbs.
Maximum Towing             9800 lbs.
Payload Base Capacity      2708 lbs.
Head Room: Front           40.2 inches
Head Room: Rear            38.1 inches
Leg Room: Front            41.3 inches
Leg Room: Rear             39.8 inches
Shoulder Room: Front       68.8 inches
Shoulder Room: Rear        68.3 inches
EPA Passenger              -
EPA Trunk or Cargo         217.3 cu.ft.
EPA Total Interior         -
Truck Bed Volume           -

Appendix 17
John Muir Geotourism Center Brochure

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