Channeling business and Bigfoot in the Illinois Valley

A Bigfoot sign sits outside a shop along Hwy 199 in Cave Junction (Georgia Lawson/News 10)

The Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce is working to bolster business and renew their reputation, drawing on the area's unique attributes to do so.

The chamber received a $5,000 grant from Josephine County on Thursday to increase advertising for business activity locally.

Chamber President David Garcia said money has been slim recently, but the grant will help the valley work toward its goals. Located along Hwy 199, Garcia said many people pass through, but the chamber wants to ensure people know that they can stay and enjoy the area's offerings, like the Oregon Caves, Lake Selmac, Great Cats World Park, and even the Bigfoot lore.

"There's a lot of things that are out here that are just bountiful, so we want to show people that, and, you know, kind of shake them up and get them to realize that we have a lot to offer," Garcia said.

Another major goal is keeping and employing local young people. Garcia said the demographic has been neglected in recent decades, and forced to look elsewhere for work. Now, the chamber is intent on showing them that opportunity exists at home, and that they can be a part of building a renewed community.

One of the other ways they plan to revamp the valley is through a Sasquatch-themed music festival, which will draw on local artists to attract people from the area and beyond. The event, which will be held on May 4th and 5th, will also feature vendors, storytellers, and foresters, who will all be a part of the new narrative the Illinois Valley is writing for itself.

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