Backroads Reservations preparing for eclipse impact
Bandera County is listed by experts as one of the best places in the nation to view two eclipses occurring less than six months apart, and locally based Backroads Reservations is actively trying to prepare the community and mitigate impact.
Backroads Reservations is a mobile app and website highlighting travel-specific information such as businesses, restaurants, activities, maps and other content, including an eclipse resource section.
“During my eclipse research, I realized the impact, both positive and negative, a significant event like this would have on a small town’s local resources,” said Backroads Reservations owner Spencer Forrrest.
Bandera County will be in the path of totality for a lunar eclipse on Saturday, October 14, 2023, just five days after Columbus Day. Officials with the Bandera County Convention and Visitors Bureau expect people to start arriving as early as Friday, October 6.
Less than six months later, Bandera County will experience a total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024. CVB officials say there is potential for early arrivals as Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024.
Forrest said he realized traffic would be the biggest challenge to the community.
“I developed the Clear the Roads Initiative, a partnership between Backroads Reservations and landowners designed to get these vehicles off the road and into safe and secure viewing locations,” he said.
The program also aims to provide local and state resources with an instant communication system to all travelers for road closures, emergencies, weather alerts, burn bans and other important county/state-specific messaging.
Backroads Reservations will be working with local landowners who can provide space for dry camping. They will also be providing tent camping locations to travelers.
“As part of our initiative, we will develop custom features in our app, including alerts for weather, traffic, gas and diesel outages, and more,” said Forrest.
Other aspects of the program include:
• Cooperation with eclipse management organizations and local/state officials
• Property consultation with landowners
• Preparation guides, site evaluations and recurring updates
• Property marketing for landowners
• Volunteer network assistance and coordination
• Rural offline mode in case of no/ low cell service.
Backroads Reservations covers 18 towns, listing over 750 businesses, parks and attractions. The app is free to download and no fee is charged for travel-related businesses to market themselves.
More information is available at www.BKRDS.com