NORTH FORK – Work is underway on a new Visitor’s Center in downtown North Fork. The new storefront will be next to North Fork Hardware at 33037 Road 222.
When the community gathered back in September 2012 to discuss ideas for economic development, one of the things put forward by Scott Marsh, Chamber of Commerce president and owner of Slim’s Koffee Shak, was having a Visitor’s Center downtown.Dan Cunning, CEO of the Yosemite Sierra Visitor’s Bureau (YSVB) and North Fork resident, was adamant that he would do everything he could to support and finance the effort, and encouraged residents to locate a building for the project.
After consideration of several properties along the main street, local artisan Anne Bredon stepped up and offered half of her retail space for the venture.
Dan Cunning is excited about the project. “You have the building, and we have the resources,” said Cunning. “We’ll purchase the necessary display racks and wall mountings, and be your partner in resources. We’re going to do this together.”
The YSVB already has a satellite visitor’s information center at the Fossil Discovery Center in Chowchilla, and YSVB Manager Judi Hussain is happy to be training volunteers for this latest venture.
North Fork resident Jenny Pearson has taken on the job of Volunteer Coordinator for the new North Fork Visitor’s Center, and has been training with Hussain at the YSVB in Oakhurst. “There’s so much to learn,” she says. “So much information about everything there is to do in our area.”
Pearson says she has already lined up about eight volunteers, but is looking for more. “We can be open more hours with more staff,” says Pearson.
The Visitor’s Center will be open 7 days a week between Memorial Day and Labor day, and hours of operation will be adjusted based on the number of volunteers available and the amount of traffic.
Other plans in the works are to have rotating exhibits from local groups such as the Mono Museum and the North Fork History Group, and provide a small business resource center for the community. The center will also share resources and overhead with the Chamber of Commerce, and combine marketing efforts to promote local organizations and their events.
Anyone interested in volunteering is invited to call Jenny Pearson at 877-3441.