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New byway videos promote region
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In other business Tuesday morning, the Barton County Commission:
• Approved an application for rezoning from Grant Doyle, owner Deception Outdoors Inc., a taxidermy and custom decoy business. Doyle requested a zoning amendment to rezone his five-acre tract located four miles south of Odin from Agricultural District to Light Manufacturing Service Commercial District so he can build a 100-by-30-foot shop and move his business from Hoisington.
This property is located at 999 NE 90 Avenue, four miles south of Odin. On Aug. 13, the Barton County Planning Commission unanimously recommended that the commission approve reclassification, said Environmental Manager Judy Goreham.
• Approved the sale of the county sand dredge to Venture Corporation of Great Bend for $81,050. There will be more information regarding the sale in Thursday’s Tribune.
• Heard a departmental update from County Administrator Richard Boeckman.

The Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway may be getting a little star struck. Two videos showcasing the famed route have been released recently and are getting quite a bit play, Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau President Cris Collier told the Barton County Commission Tuesday morning.
“We have elevated ourselves,” Collier said. “We are getting some real nice exposure.”
The short films play into a renewed effort to market the Wetlands and the state’s 10 other byways, she said. The campaign targets consumptive users, such as hunters, as well as non-consumptive users, such as birdwatchers.
Covered also are arts, history and culture. “We are in a good position to get a lot of assistance from the state,” Collier said.
“These are two different videos with two different purposes,” Collier said. The commission took time to view them both.
 One was a short, four-minute spot created by the Kansas Department of Transportation with Federal Highway Administration grant money. Collier said it is part of a package to promote the all the state’s byways via a video and still photography.
Now, the material is available to byway communities at no cost. Collier said this is the type of segment that appears on Youtube or on website, such as KDOT’s site.
The other was a longer, 12-minute video produced by Smoky Hills Public Television out of Bunker Hill with some state sponsorship money. It is one of the station’s Travel Kansas segments and goes into more depth.
Collier said it is more informative with less “fluff” and covers such topics as the byway’s history, the story of how it and all the parties involved came together,  how the byway works, and the importance of byways and their benefits.
It features each of the communities along the byway, as well as attractions in and around them.
This presentation is targeted for chamber of commerce coffees, civic clubs and organization meetings and other community gatherings, Collier said.
“This is some good publicity and most of it we are not paying a dime for,” Collier said.
Since its inception about 10 years ago, the county has spent quite a bit of money in the byway effort and commissioners asked about a return on that investment. Collier said there are several intangible benefits, but it is “next to impossible” to track money collected.
Hunters flock to the region for  opening weekend, and that is quantitative. But, as for tourists, “these types don’t wear badges,” she said, adding the impact is hard to calculate.
 The 70-plus mile Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway winds its way from Cheyenne Bottoms in Barton County to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford County. Of the 11 byways in the state, only the Flint Hills Nation al Scenic Byway and Wetlands and Wildlife have national status.