Adventures in Bend, Oregon
Recently, I traveled to Bend, Oregon for a family vacation, and of course, to gain inspiration for IRONBULL and ideas we can bring to Wausau.
Wausau and Bend are two of the few places you can experience a plethora of great outdoor recreation from your backdoor. Both cities have many similarities, miles of top notch trails, a state park in town, a riverfront lined with parks through the heart of downtown, and downhill skiing resort.
Bend is full of parks, especially lining the Deschutes River. Some of their parks are very similar to our riverfront trail with runners, walkers, bikers and dogs enjoying the scenery while getting outside and being active.
The biggest difference I noticed during my time in Bend, is that they have already embraced their outdoor amenities to the full extent, while much of the Wausau community, and those traveling here, don’t realize how many different outdoor recreation opportunities are available to them.
It was evident that Bend residents have an outdoorsy, healthy lifestyle, just as we aim to do in Wausau through IRONBULL. For instance, I saw kids on strider bikes on pump tracks, dogs wearing life jackets rafting on the river, and kids rigging up bikes to carry boards to surf! My children danced to the live music at the Farmer’s Market in Bend - making it feel more like a festival.
Bend demonstrates you can change the trajectory of a community by leveraging outdoor recreation to transform into a vibrant, healthy place to live; and it’s time we do the same here in Wausau!
With the whitewater course downtown, Granite Peak Ski area, Lake Wausau, many Farmers Markets during the summer months and many miles of trails in and around the area, Wausau is poised to become an outdoor recreation destination as well. We just have to capitalize on it and market it more.
IRONBULL hopes to bring the vibrance of Bend to the Wausau area, following the advice of Jon Roberts, Managing Partner of TIP Strategies, an economic development consultant who recommends developing a brand strategy that positions the Wausau region as the ‘Xtreme Sports Capital’ to capitalize on the area’s multitude of outdoor recreation and extreme sports assets.