By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
The Crestline-Lake Gregory Chamber of Commerce decided to not just sit back when COVID-19 canceled the insurance for their annual events this season. They immediately began to think of different ways to promote tourism in the town and chose some long-term projects with lasting impact as the direction to go.
They wanted to highlight the attractions and activities that are already available in the community and create another activity to showcase them.
The merchants stepped up and offered large visual spaces to be repainted as murals. Then, last May, the chamber put out a request for muralists to submit bids to paint eight new murals in town. “We hope to create new murals in Crestline that reflect the many activities available to do in the area and then create a map to encourage touring the town to do them,” chamber President Louis Boehle told The Alpine Mountaineer.
The chamber was inspired to have these new murals created when they realized some people who visit Crestline have no idea of the wide variety of activities the area offers. By having fun illustrations and a guide to the murals and locations of the activities, they hope to make Crestline a tourist destination the whole family can enjoy. By promoting such a variety of activities, more visitors may be willing to return more often.
The artist chosen by the chamber committee to paint these murals is Wes Abarca, who recently completed painting the three new large murals at Rim of the World High School, two of which are visible when driving by the school on Highway 18. The Crestline mural project will begin in early September, after Abarca returns from a mural painters’ convention in Montana. Previously, Abarca painted several murals on the handball court wall at the Lake Gregory Education and Community Center and the mural on the Rim Bowling and Family Recreation Center.
The chamber has chosen the vintage national parks poster style for the murals, although each mural will be an original design promoting local eco-tourism. The murals will feature fun outdoor activities, including hiking, hang-gliding and paragliding, fishing, kayaking and sail boating, off-roading, mountain biking and more.
It’s surprising that many who live locally are actually unaware that the U.S. Forest Service launch cliff at Teddy Bear Point in Crestline is one of the top hang-glider launch zones in the country, not only in elevation, but also in respect. People come from all over the world to leap off the mountaintop into the warm thermals that occur each afternoon, flowing up the mountain face to float on the air while flying down to the Andy Jackson landing zone in San Bernardino.
“Heart Rock and other trails have attracted hikers to Crestline for decades, as has Lake Gregory for fishing, boating and recreation. Crestline has many fantastic reasons to come, visit and stay locally. We just need to inform visitors of the many opportunities for fun we have here. We hope these murals will visually excite visitors and give them more reasons to return often,” said Boehle.
The first mural will be on the large wall of Liberation Therapies, after the design is finalized. Other proposed mural locations in town include the textured block wall in front of Lake Mud Pottery, next to 7-Eleven, Goodwin’s Market, Herington’s Real Estate and other locations in Top Town and Lake Gregory Village.
Although the murals will be quite engaging, attracting everyone’s attention, the chamber also plans to develop a map to the murals, connecting them to the activity locations. Those free maps will be distributed through chamber members to visitors and residents.
This new direction in marketing and promotion should give Crestline a distinctive new vibe, attracting more return visitors when they come to the Corks & Hops Festival and Jamboree Days in the coming years. Painting should begin in September and be completed by spring, weather permitting. Residents should enjoy watching the creation of the murals this fall and winter.
For more information on the activities or to get involved with the Crestline Chamber of Commerce as either a business owner or as a supporting community member, come into their office on the north shore of Lake Gregory at 23385 Lake Drive, or call (909) 338-2706 during office hours on Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.