PROVO — Joel Racker says he knows locals are paying attention to the Adventure Passport booklets the Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau give away.

He sees them sitting on the dashboards of cars when he's out shopping. Last year 11,000 coupons were redeemed at just one store.

Racker, president and CEO of the visitors bureau, said this year the booklets, which offer discount coupons, maps and tourist information for lodging, dining or activities around Utah Valley, is freshened up with 10 top adventures folks can sample. And for every attraction a validation is available that can lead to a free gift at the Utah Valley Visitors Center in downtown Provo.

About 140,000 passports will be mailed out to every household in Utah County in the next few days, Racker says, the third year the bureau has used them. The bureau's research says that people don't necessarily come to Utah County to play, they come to events at Brigham Young University, family reunions, weddings and for other reasons so locals are key to introducing their visitors to the valley's charms.

Their research also shows that residents don't tout Utah County very well to their guests. Thus the passports, which are given to them so they can tell visitors what there is to do in the valley.

Bureau officials are also hoping the high prices of fuel will keep locals and their guests close to home this year.

"Be a tourist in your own backyard," he says. "Discover what's great about Utah County."

Brigham Young University researchers have studied the passport booklets and the feedback is positive, he said.

The 10 adventures promoted in the booklet this year are:

1. Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center on the Brigham Young University campus.

2. Utah Valley University Woodbury Art Museum in the University Mall, Orem.

3. Sundance in Summer, a year-round resort in Provo Canyon, includes the Sundance Summer Theater.

4. Thanksgiving Point Garden, Lehi, with 55 acres of scenic vistas and walking trails.

5. The Nebo Loop, a seasonal scenic highway that climbs Mount Nebo starting in Payson and ending a few miles west of Nephi.

6. Camp Floyd and Stagecoach Inn, which dates to 1858 when President Buchanan sent troops to suppress a rumored "Mormon Rebellion."

7. Provo River Trail and Park System stretches from Utah Lake to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon.

8. America's Freedom Festival at Provo, which includes 30 events ending with the Stadium of Fire on the Fourth of July.

9. Timpanogos Cave National Monument at the end of a 1.5-mile hike climbing 1,000 feet above the American Fork Canyon streambed.

10. The Covey Center for the Arts, a 42,000-square-foot arts center in downtown Provo, which opened last year.

If a passport doesn't come in the mail they are available at the bureau office by request. Just visit www.Utah Valley.org or call 800-222-8824.


E-mail: rodger@desnews.com