Hi Joe - I agree that too many chat boards can be redundant. That's why I'm thinking that making this a regional forum is the only way to make it have a life in the future. I may do something like the UBC forum is now and have one main regional forum and one main worldwide forum. I would hate for so many knowledgeable people from other parts of the world to feel left out just because of a strong regional emphasis.
I have mixed feelings about blogs too, and I don't think they really replace a forum. They're kind of narcissistic and cliche. But if you can make it funny or otherwise special or cool, or do something unique with it, it might draw more positive attention to your website and business.
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