Tourism Advisory Board adds two members

Rick Wallner and Tracey Salzbrenner will add new perspectives to the Tourism Advisory Board. Wallner is a long-time member of the National Park Service and retiring Chief of Interpretation at Bent’s Old Fort. Salzbrenner is president of the board of the oldest continually operating community theatre in Colorado, the Picketwire Center for Performing Arts. They were added to the Tourism Advisory Board by a unanimous vote of the City Council at the last City Council meeting on Dec. 17.

On the occasion of his appointment, Wallner writes, “I believe La Junta has great potential as a tourism destination with Bent's Fort, Comanche Grasslands, the Koshare and Otero Museums, the Picketwire Center and all of the sporting events hosted at the High School and Otero Junior College.  Developing that potential will not only bring outside money into the community, but will make La Junta a better place for all of us to live.”

Wallner has over 32 years with the Park Service and has served at Yellowstone and Everglades National Parks, Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Buffalo National River and Mount Rushmore  in addition to Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, where he has spent a major part of his career. He has constructed a 1.5 mile hiking trail with interpretive panels, an interpretive plaza at BOF, and managed the Trails & Rails program aboard the Southwest Chief, as well as developing a new junior ranger handbook. He has also served as Chief of Interpretation at Sand Creek.  

Over the past year, he has participated in the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey, which provided him with learning opportunities and experiences across Colorado related to the development of tourism as an economic driver. He, with Tourism Director Pam Denahy, is one of two local champions of the current Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism Studio 101 Project.

Salzbrenner is well known for acting in and directing events and plays for the Picketwire Center for Performing Arts. She is currently the president of the board of directors of  the Picketwire Center.
Her letter states her election to the board will be mutually beneficial to herself and the community. She has been president of the Picketwire Center Board of Directors since 2011. She currently works at her family’s business, the La Junta Trading Company, which has been in business in La Junta for 111 years. She understands the importance of tourism for the community firsthand and hopes to bring fresh ideas, while keeping the traditions and values of La Junta.

On election to the board, she said, “Thank you to the existing board [Tourism Advisory Board]  and the La Junta City Council for this opportunity. I am looking forward to getting involved on the La Junta Tourism Board and discovering in what ways I can contribute to its future success.”

bmcfarren@ljtdmail.com