May 24—The summer travel season arrives this weekend and Daviess County is already rolling out the red carpet for visitors.
Executive Director for the Daviess County Visitor's Bureau Joe Morris says the sports tourism season started early with an event last weekend.
"We have a thriving economy and tourism impacts that economy," said Morris. "Last weekend, we hosted a sports tournament with 32 teams. The basic calculation puts several hundred thousand dollars into our economy when you look at hotel stays, food, and gasoline sales. Sports and recreational tourism is a thing. Arts and festivals and other cultural events that we have in our community bring in people. In addition to that agri-business and livestock is a huge draw for Daviess County."
Perhaps the biggest drivers for summer travel in Daviess County are the lakes and outdoor recreational opportunities.
"We have great assets in Daviess County with West Boggs, Glendale, our campgrounds," said Morris. "Our food and other destination partners, people know us and they know they are going to be treated well in Daviess County."
New West Boggs Park Superintendent Nathan Rihm says this spring has been busy preparing for the summer rush of visitors.
"We are trying to make improvements on our rentals. We are improving our miniature golf course, doing a total renovation on that. Improving the disc golf course. Just doing some overall clean-up work," said Rihm. "We are booked for this weekend. We don't fill up every day of the week but the weekends are filling up, especially the holiday weekends we are pretty full."
Rihm points out that camping increased during COVID and remains a popular outdoor activity.
"Camping remains a desirable family vacation, more than it was before COVID," he said. "A lot of people got into camping after COVID. We may not see quite as much now, because people are beginning to travel out of the country and do what they used to do, but camping is still very popular."
With both West Boggs and Glendale, fishing is a popular draw to the county and officials point out there is a lot of good fishing at both facilities.
For West Boggs there is a new $9 million effort to try and improve the water heading into the lake that has been troubled by agricultural run-off.
"We have some serious lake quality issues at West Boggs. We are trying to fix the watersheds. We have 8,000 acres that drain into West Boggs. We get a lot of agricultural run-offs with fertilizers and things like that running into the lake causing very high phosphorus levels, about 13 times higher than it should be. That is what causing all of the algae blooms here," said Rihm. "We have formed a clean water committee, representative of different groups including Amish to try and get them to farm cleaner, be more mindful of their water usage in the watershed and clean-up the lake. We have been working with contractors on potentially dredging out the basins and doing some work in the watershed and then some chemical treatments to bind up the phosphorous within the lake."