A native of Waldport, Oregon, Jesse Dolin knows firsthand how the Coast’s natural areas are at once its most valuable and vulnerable assets. “There is a delicate balance to be struck between destination development and sustainability,” says Dolin, Central Coast destination development coordinator for the Oregon Coast Visitor Association (OCVA). “This means inspiring travel while preserving the environmental, cultural and historical integrity of this amazing place. We know from surveys that people on the Central Coast want to protect the special places on which their livelihoods depend. They want to remain ‘off the beaten path’.”

He says an important part of his role is championing the value of tourism by helping people see how we can achieve local economic development while ensuring minimal impacts on coastal resources and residents’ quality of life. OCVA promotes tourism along the entire Coast in part by helping communities develop new experiences that appeal to both visitors and locals.

“I see my role as a convener of people and ideas,” he says. “I’ve been spending a lot of time bringing people together who might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet and sharing with them how OCVA can help implement their ideas, not our ideas.” This includes convening farmers, fisherpeople and chefs who are considering developing agritourism opportunities such as a Central Coast food trail or value-added products that visitors can take home with them. It also includes land resource managers, elected officials and business owners who are working together to improve the user experience on the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT).  “It’s been satisfying work on many levels, and has helped me discover people’s biggest needs and concerns.”

Dolin gets excited about bringing some of the tools that have been wildly successful on the north and south Coast – food trails, fat biking guides, paddle guides and more – to the Central Coast. “These tools strengthen collaboration among tourism-businesses and organizations and inspire visitors to be more curious and more careful when they are exploring the cultural and natural resources of our area.”

Dolin notes that most OCVA projects draw attention to lesser-known experiences on the Coast and create excitement around car-free experiences such as hiking, biking and paddling. One of his current projects is working with professional photographers and videographers to capture high-quality photos and video that inspire people to travel to the Central Coast during the off-season.

“It’s an exciting time to serve the Central Coast as OCVA’s first Central Coast destination development coordinator,” Dolin says. “As someone who grew up here, I feel great pride about the unique experiences the Central Coast has to offer as well as an understanding of the importance of including as many people as possible in how we do that.”

If you live on the Central Coast and want to learn more about Jesse’s work and ways to plug in, contact him at ddcentral@thepeoplescoast.com.

Photo by Dylan Van Weelden