Practical insights and effective steps for building a destination stewardship framework.

The tourism industry in resort, rural, recreation, and gateway communities is driven by outdoor recreation activities on public lands. Public lands provide refuge for endangered species, protect water quality, act as carbon sinks, and are increasingly popular with new and established outdoor recreation users. And this popularity is creating big city challenges in the small communities that surround these public lands. This includes: affordable housing and short-term rental dynamics; infrastructure, traffic and congestion; strained public and environmental resources; and under-funded land managers having to tackle overuse impacts and climate change realities. Now, more than ever, our community stakeholders need to reimage the purpose of tourism. Tourism can no longer be solely an economic goal; it needs to become a purposeful tool that invests in visitor experience, sense of place, and quality of life.

For nearly twenty years, sustainable tourism has been a concept for private industry to balance their triple bottom line. More recently, there is a call for tourism to do more than just sustain, highlighting a growing need for regenerative best practices. In destinations around the world, tourism stakeholders are convening with municipality managers, land managers, civic groups, and local residents to address issues around common pool resources which, if diminished, impact the entire community. This is known as destination stewardship and has been successful as a transformative model to improve quality of life attributes, enhance visitor experience, and safeguard a sense of place.

The Mountain IDEAL Program is a destination stewardship toolkit based on international best practices for sustainable destination management.

The Mountain IDEAL Learning Series offers something for everyone - informational webinar introducing internationally-recognized best practices and program tools for destination stewardship; engaging guest speakers sharing innovations for action; small group discussions to address challenges in gateway communities; and one-on-one consultations to discuss results from a comprehensive sustainable destination self-assessment. 

Stay Tuned for Info on 2023 Sessions.



Session One AND/OR Session Two

TBD, 2023
9:00 - 10:30am MT
Destination Stewardship
with Mountain IDEAL

TBD, 2023
12:30 - 3:00pm MT
Guest Speaker
Case Studies

Session Three


TBD, 2023
9:00 - 10:00am MT
Mountain IDEAL
Small Group Workshop

Session Four


TBD, 2023

Destination Consultations

One-on-one meetings to discuss Destination Assessment
*By appointment

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of all sessions, participants will be able to:

  • Give examples of challenges in outdoor recreation communities
  • Explain why sustainability in destinations is an important concept
  • Recognize the critical intersections of sustainable tourism, responsible travel, and destination stewardship
  • Describe how destination stewardship can leverage community connections
  • Identify recurring themes from successful case studies presented by guest speakers
  • Outline Mountain IDEAL program toolkit for communities to steward, sustain, transform, and regenerate their common pool resources




The learning sessions are offered through Walking Mountains Science Center, a world-class environmental education center and Tourism Impact Services, a global leader in sustainable destination planning. Guest speakers will offer first-hand experience and advice through engaging case study presentations.

Moderator & Guest Speakers 2022


Donald Leadbetter
Panelist, Gateway Community Partnerships

Tourism Program Manager, Nat. Park Service

Andrew Leary headshot

Andrew Leary
Panelist, Visitor Education

Dir. Sustainable Tourism, Leave No Trace


Jeremy Sampson
Panelist, Climate Action

CEO, The Travel Foundation

dawnielle tehama

Dawnielle Tehama
Panelist, Regenerative Tourism
Ex. Dir., Willamette Valley Visitor Assoc.
bobby chappell

Robert (Bobby) Chappell

Sr. Destination Advisor & Program Architect, Mountain Ideal

President, Tourism Impact Services


Melissa Kirr
Learning Series Support

Sr. Programs Director of Sustainability, Walking Mountains Science Center


Session One & Two

No Costs, Open to Anyone

  • Informational Webinar
  • Guest Speaker Session


All Sessions | Discounted

Multi-Session Series designed for Destination Managers.

  • Informational Webinar, Guest Speaker Session
  • Self-assessment & report card
  • Small group workshop
  • 1hr one-on-one consultation
  • Reduced program fee for Top 100

Contact Us

Group Rate Pricing

Destination Stewardship is about collaboration so we recommend joining the training as a group. Build your team with stakeholders that make up the destination, such as; destination management organizations (DMOs), tourism, town and county staff, and land managers.