McCALL -- Some people might have the perception that Valley County and McCall are where the wealthy build their homes.

But the reality in Idaho's Heartland, is that the economic situation is bleak.

The unemployment rate currently sits at 16 percent, the highest in the state. But the beautiful scenery, and the activities the area has to offer is helping to keep the tourist destination up and running.

Well, our slogan is, 'McCall is where your adventure begins' and I think that's really true because there's so much offered here, said Judi Woods, who lives in McCall.

It's a recreational town and for me it's history, and I don't know, I just remember my family and my sisters playing in the water, said Lynn Neil, who is visiting from Nampa.

McCall is a great little small community, a tourist attraction and a great place to recreate, have fun, said McCall Mayor Don Bailey.

The reality of what McCall is best answered by those who live here.

Just a normal Idaho community, people that are working hard, day in and day out, said Jim Thackeray, the manager of the McCall division of the Idaho Department of Labor.

But getting McCall to be the place we all know and love today, took some work.

It used to be a village, that's what they called it, the Village of McCall, and it started out very small 100 years ago, said Mayor Bailey.

Logging and mining were the professions back in the day.

Since then, the McCall Sawmill closed and the mining industry slowed, but that didn't slow down McCall.

We have adapted. We've taken advantage of the area, the surroundings, the tremendous opportunities for recreation, both summer and winter, said Mayor Bailey.

This town that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year, now relies on tourists more than ever.

Without it, it would have a totally different face, said Thackeray. We rely on it heavily, and our future appears to be heavily involved in recreation and tourism.

And while the weather of this past winter caused so much destruction, it has proven to be a good thing for Brundage Mountain, allowing it to stay open longer than ever before.

Valley County is obviously a very seasonal, tourist economy, so the later we can stay open into the spring time, any extra business we can bring to the McCall area is really an important thing this time of year, said April Russell, Brundage Mountain.

While the unemployment numbers here are high, many people, including the mayor, believe the economic situation is improving. It will lag behind bigger cities like Boise, because it relies heavily on the tourists that visit and spend money.

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