Hey everyone, Sara here! You've probably seen me around at events, social media posts, or out and about but let me introduce myself. My name is Sara Day and I am the Program Manager of Training and Outreach for the Utah Microloan Fund. Which really is just a fancy way to say that my job is getting the word out about the UMLF and helping entrepreneurs across the state. Both of which I LOVE to do! If you follow us on social then you know that I have been traveling a bunch all over the state so I decided that I should start a travel blog on each of the unique areas I visit so keep reading if you want to tag along!
I have always loved exploring all the little corners of Utah both big and small and learning about the history, vibes, and what's next for each area. My husband and I and our two dogs will pick a different place on the map and hit the road with our Utah Roadside History book & trusty trip journal and set out to fully immerse ourselves in that area. So you can imagine this is the perfect job for me because I get to do outreach across the state.
Utah has an incredibly rich and diverse history. From our Indigenous tribes, pioneer history, mining, railroads, national parks, oil, tourism, skiing, the list goes on. As such, each of our 29 counties all face unique challenges, varied population density, booms and busts, different sources of income, etc. No two counties are the same and one solution does not fit all.
But no matter where you go, there is always a chamber of commerce ready and willing to not only fight for the needs of their business community, but also bringing people together to support and nurture entrepreneurship. Many of these are run by volunteers! So you can imagine how happy I was to discover that a group of Utahns had put together the Rural Utah Coalition of Chambers (RUCC) whose purpose is to bring a united voice on the important causes that affect rural Utah businesses, share ideas and resources, and create dialogue with government officials and legislators.
April 6th and 7th marked the 1st annual conference for RUCC and it was held at the beautiful Uintah Conference Center in Vernal, the Northeast corner of the state. Co-hosted by the Vernal Chamber, the conference was a big hit! Chambers from all over the state were in attendance to mix, mingle, and learn along with resource providers, government entities, economic development, local businesses and more.
We heard from some amazing speakers on relevant topics to our state's rural areas - the economy, resources the chambers can bring back to their members, government programs available, grant writing and much more. There were also tours to local places of interest, my favorites being the the Hotel Vernal Haunt (scary even in the day time!) and the Innovation Hub for small business owners. We heard from City Manager Quinn Bennion about all of the huge changes the city of Vernal is implementing to revitalize their downtown and beyond.
You can really see the love and passion behind all of these projects and how much people deeply care about their community. The organizing team behind RUCC did such an amazing job at providing a great conference for the over 200 attendees. We will definitely be back next year!
Lastly, Vernal is Dinoland and there is so much to do throughout the Uinta Basin. I am going to be ending my blogs with some of my recommendations for planning your visit to whatever area I journey to, so don't miss out! Here's what I have for the area:
Don't skip the history. There is so much to see and learn. Definitely carve out a significant part of your trip for this!
Get outside. Hiking, biking, boating, swimming, ATV trails, you name it, await.
Look for treasures at the vintage/thrift stores.
Eat, Drink and be merry.
Watch the calendar.
Vernal has a TON of cool events so keep an eye on their event calendar for all of the happenings.
Until next time!