Supporting Global Development through Sustainable Tourism

NGS Four Corners USA

The Trail of the Ancients Geotourism Project – Four Corners Region of America

Preserving cultural heritage and the natural environment through the promotion of sustainable tourism in the Four Corners region of America.

  • Client: National Geographic
  • Partners:
    • National Geographic
    • Arizona Archaeological Society
    • Bureau of Land Management
    • Colorado Tourism
    • Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
    • National Park Service
    • New Mexico Tourism Department
    • Rivers & Birds
    • Preserve America
    • The Navajo Nation
    • The Pueblo of Acoma
    • Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byways – Colorado and New Mexico
    • U.S. Forest Service
    • The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
    • Zuni Tourism Department
    • Cities of Aztec and Farmington, New Mexico
  • Project Duration: July 2010 – May 2012

The Challenge

The Trail of the Ancients traverses a unique portion of the American Southwest. The Scenic Byway provides a centerline for exploring the Four Corners area, passing through the four states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Within the geographic circle defined by Trail of the Ancients lie six National Parks, thirteen National Monuments, numerous Wilderness Areas, and twenty-four Native American tribes. Along the Trail one finds a blend of pre-historic sites and early Mormon settlements and farms, intertwined in a landscape of canyons, mesas, river gorges and precious fertile bottomland. It is common for visitors to note the one-of-a-kind quality of this remote region, but faced with energy development, water scarcity, climate change, and population growth, collective local stewardship of area resources becomes more vital than ever.

The Solution

Solimar and National Geographic will promote sustainable tourism as a way to link social and conservation goals to market-based solutions that improve local economies, develop and strengthen communities, and foster collective local stewardship of natural resources. The multi-party process organized through the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway will help educate local residents about their significant tourism resources, stimulate local business growth through increased sustainable tourism, and work together with the established tourism industry in the Four Corners area to market this historical, cultural and natural global treasure to a wider audience.

Major Activities

  • Creating website: Solimar and the Four Corners Region Geotourism Stewardship Council have created a website to showcase the region's tourism attractions and local communities.
  • Developing MapGuide: creating online and in-print Four Corners Geotourism MapGuide to increase awareness of tourism attractions and communities of the region and to help plan trips.
  • Managing relationships: establishing connections between the various tourism and conservation stakeholders in the region and fostering collective communication and action.
  • Identifying new tourism opportunities: based on the cultural, natural, and historical assets found within the geographic circle defined by the Trail of the Ancients.
  • Incentivizing the Travel Trade: promoting tourism and increasing visitorship to the region through the use of online tools and traditional media platforms.


  • Creation of a Four Corners Region Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council.
  • Development of an in-print Four Corners Geotourism MapGuide.
  • Development of a website with an interactive online map viewer and valuable, updated content.
  • Development of a public relations campaign through TV, print, radio, and media.

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Project Fact Sheet

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