Virginia City's historic district and the Emigrant Trails center near Elko were the big winners among the 73 recipients of a total of $510,000 worth of state marketing grants to promote rural tourism in Nevada.
The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City and Fallon officials who want to promote the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge were among others picking up checks last week from the Nevada Commission on Tourism.
"These grants help rural Nevada communities accomplish vital projects that otherwise might not have been possible," said Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, commission chairman.
The National Historic California Emigrant Trails Interpretive Center Foundation received the most money — $20,000 to continue contracts on three existing billboards and to establish two new billboards promoting the visitor's center that opened along Interstate 80 in June near Elko. The center tells the story of pioneers during the Gold Rush years of 1841 to 1869.
The Virginia City Tourism Commission was awarded $12,000 to develop a mobile application that will enable visitors to access information on their smartphones, tablets and mobile websites. It will include real-time information on lodging, events, attractions, shopping and dining.
Grant applicants must be nonprofit entities and are required to provide a 50-50 match in funds or volunteer hours. NCOT reimburses applicants after projects are completed and labor and funding details are documented.
Other big grants included:
— $10,000 to Nevada Silver Trails, a group that promotes travel to southern Nevada, excluding the Las Vegas area, to work with a public relations firm on a comprehensive social media strategy and to provide social media training to its members.
— $9,500 to Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway Inc. to promote a Day Out With Thomas, a special event featuring children's character Thomas the Tank Engine.
— $8,000 to the Fallon Convention & Tourism Authority to pay for production costs for an episode of "The Birdmen" television series, focusing on stories of hunting and wildlife biology in Fallon, home to the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge.
— $7,200 to Indian Territory, an organization that promotes Indian cultural and special events throughout the state, to provide training to Nevada tribes and tribal members on national tribal tourism initiatives and projects.