Two of the economic development projects Warm Springs Ventures is working are the unmanned aerial systems training center at the Kah-Nee-Ta Lodge, and a plan, involving Bear Springs, to increase tourism revenue to the tribes.
The Kah-Nee-Ta project will involve a $350,000 investment in the resort. The lower floor area will be developed into a UAS training center, including flight simulation.
Ventures and the resort have a lease agreement, and are in the design conceptual phase. The project will involve bringing fiber access to the resort, which will be a benefit to the other guests who are staying there.
The Warm Springs Telecom is another partner in the project. The resort will see the benefit of more guests, as companies start using the UAS center for training. This will especially help in Kah-Nee-Ta’s off-season.
Ventures also wants to develop increased transportation options between Government Camp and Warm Springs, said Ventures chief executive officer Don Sampson.
In the winter, many tribal members work at the ski resort at Mt. Hood—a jump from 10 employees to 85 over the recent two winters—and transportation can be an issue.
There also is the potential for expansion of tourism to the reservation, with the benefit of the added revenue, Sampson said.
Working with the Administration for Native Americans, Ventures is seeking grant funding to develop a recreation and tourism marketing plan. This could involve the Bear Springs area, and improvements to existing structures at the location.