A gem is inserted in today’s News-Review. Chances are it caught your eye right away when you opened up the paper. It’s the Visitors Guide to Douglas County.
The majority of our readers are not visitors, but rather, residents of Douglas County. But we’re told you read the Visitors Guide anyway, and we can see why you would.
In a county as vast and varied as Douglas County, few people can say they’ve seen and done everything offered inside this 5,000-square-mile Western Oregon county.
The Visitors Guide reminds us of the richness of this region. Inside its glossy pages, the brilliant pictures beckon us to take in a new event, hike a trail, see a play, visit a museum, watch for wildlife, book a white-water raft trip, cast a line, swim in the river, listen to a concert.
And that’s not all.
We include stories and listings of as many things people can see and do in Douglas County as our space allows. Sure, it’s a great guide for those who are new to the area, but it’s often as valuable to year-round residents.
I know I reach for my Visitors Guide many times throughout the year. It offers a great view of the outdoor concerts and summer festivals I’ll want to attend. It reminds me when I’ll see elegantly restored classic cars cruising the streets of Roseburg for the ever-popular Graffiti Weekend.
The Visitors Guide is a publication that’s close to my heart. It’s a guide that I’ve watched grow from its beginning. I actually received the assignment to compile the first-ever Visitors Guide to Douglas County in 1986, while I was a senior majoring in journalism at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
Our then-managing editor, David Tishendorf, called to ask if I had some time to work on a project during spring break. We’d gotten to know each other in previous summers when I worked at the paper as a reporting intern, writing feature stories about my hometown of Glide and filling in for reporters who were on vacation.
Being the poor college student I was, I was eager to accept the job. Tishendorf told me and the paper’s part-time librarian, Penny Anderson (now Lapham), to compile stories and lists of places to go and things to do in Douglas County. He told us to amass as much information as possible.
We ventured to visitors centers, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management offices, picking up every brochure and map available. We dug into The News-Review’s archives and gleaned stories written by outdoor enthusiasts for the paper’s Venture page.
It didn’t take long before we had more than enough material to fill a new special section. And we learned about historic and scenic places we’d never before discovered in the county we’d both called home for many years.
It was a great way for someone like me — who’d begun to take the area for granted after growing up here — to find a new appreciation for the beauty and significance of the hundred valleys of the Umpqua.
Since its inaugural issue, the Visitors Guide has been transformed from a tabloid printed on newsprint to the glossy magazine-style format it sports today. Douglas County and the surrounding areas have continually added more events to the entertainment calendar, making it a challenge to include everything we’d like to feature.
We hope we’ve narrowed in on the best of what Douglas County has to offer and we’ve inspired you to go out and discover one of the unique aspects of this beautiful area that you’ve yet to explore.
News-Review Editor Vicki Menard has lived in Douglas County since 1976. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-957-4203.