Sponsored by Oregon Business

Oregon Caves, historic chateau help boost Josephine County

| Print |  Email
Archives - July 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
chateau-fall-pond1The lodge employs 40 seasonal workers.
For 100 years, tourists have traveled through the Siskiyou Mountains in Southern Oregon to explore the Oregon Caves National Monument. For the past 75 years they could stay at the Oregon Caves Chateau, a National Historic Landmark. These remote attractions are more than historic sites — they bring tourism dollars to a county continuing to struggle with the loss of timber revenues.

More than 70,000 visitors travel to Josephine County each year to tour the Oregon Caves, a series of marble caverns several miles long that open at an elevation of 4,000 feet. According to the monument’s superintendent, the caves attract $2.6 million a year in direct spending and $4.6 million in indirect spending, supporting about 84 jobs. Last month, Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Ron Wyden introduced legislation to expand the Oregon Caves National Monument by more than 4,000 acres to protect natural resources and increase recreational and economic development opportunities.

“The caves impact the county; there’s no question about it,” says Steve Dahl, Grants Pass economic development coordinator. “Tourists come for the caves and then take a jet boat ride on the Rogue River or visit one of the local wineries.” Some of these tourists also spend their vacation money at the Chateau. The lodge hires 40 seasonal employees, buys local produce and wine for its restaurant and has sold $150,000 worth of local art since 2002.

Scott Taylor, owner of Taylor’s Country Store and Restaurant in Cave Junction, says the Oregon Caves improve his business. “If people are traveling from afar trying to see the redwoods, the caves are a side trip,” says Taylor.

In Josephine County, tourism dollars are an important aspect of the economy. The leisure and hospitality industry is one of the largest employers. But revenue from top employers isn’t enough to replace the timber industry. The county closed all public libraries two years ago and has the fifth-highest unemployment in the state.

“I don’t think tourism has totally replaced timber revenues,” says Bob Schumacher, executive director of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization, the lodge’s nonprofit concessionaire. “But the Chateau has brought a flow of outside money into the community.”

Even if that flow doesn’t surge like the Rogue River, on hot summer days it refreshes the local economy.

More Articles

There's a great future in plastics

Linda Baker
Friday, October 30, 2015
103115-lindachinathumbBY LINDA BAKER

This is a story about a small plastics company in wine country now exporting more than one million feet — 260 miles worth — of tubing to China every month.


The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.


Photo Log: #TillamookSmile

The Latest
Friday, October 30, 2015
103015-cheesethumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | ART DIRECTOR

Against a changing backdrop Patrick Criseter’s infectious grin remained constant. It’s a cheesy (pun intended) beam that begs for a hashtag.


Back in Black

Guest Blog
Friday, November 20, 2015

It’s been a volatile year in equities and heading into the holiday season, it doesn’t look like these market extremes will dissipate.


Where Do We Go from Here?

Guest Blog
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
102115-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | CFA

Volatility reigned supreme over the summer. The old Wall Street adage of, “Sell in May and go away,” was prophetic in 2015.


The death and life of American cities

Linda Baker
Monday, November 02, 2015
housingoldpdx thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The hollowing out of the American city is now a bona fide cultural meme.  Newspapers, magazines and digital media sites are publishing story after story about the morphing of urban grit and diversity into bastions of wealth and commodity culture.


Reader Input: Made in Oregon

November/December 2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Two trends dominate the manufacturing sector: onshoring and the rise of small-scale production manufacturing, known as the "maker economy."

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02