Almost any avid golfer knows that Bandon Dunes is regarded as the “Mecca of American Golf”. With its miles of beautiful rolling green hills overlooking the ocean, it’s easy to understand why. Many celebrities, pro athletes, and golf enthusiasts like to escape to the resort for a few days, and some even refer to it as “man camp”. But what many don’t realize is that there so much more to Bandon Dunes than golf.
Mike Keiser, the owner of the resort, saw the needs of the community and the positive impact clean tourism has on the area. He founded the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance (WRCA) to fund triple-bottom-line projects in the community. The net proceeds made from the Bandon Preserves course goes towards the WRCA, which then goes into grants for other organizations serving the Sothern Oregon coast. Even the course itself emphasizes the beauty of the area, featuring the endangered and protected plant species silvery phacelia. Some organizations that had projects funded by the WRCA this past year include the Oregon Coast Visitors Association, Beaver Slough Drainage District and community members in fighting against the invasive species gorse. The WRCA and the Bandon Dunes Resort are prime examples of tourism as it should be; providing visitors with an experience of a lifetime while highlighting features of the area and putting profits back into the community and environment.
As an Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar, I am working with OSU extension and WRCA to develop curriculum for training guides and outfitters on the Oregon coast. I’ve loved getting to explore Bandon and learn about everything the tourism at the resort has done to help the community. It’s been an amazing experience so far learning about the impact tourism can have on communities, and I look forward to learning much more as the summer continues.