Southwest Virginia is home to world-class outdoor attractions, from its rivers and mountains to biking, hiking and more. Community development groups are looking to capitalize on those natural assets to make the region a destination for eco-tourism. And that’s not something you can outsource.
While some sectors in southwest Virginia have seen job loss, Policy Analyst Kelly Smith says trends in spending on travel in the region are climbing steadily.
She says, “it’s gone up by 52% since 2004, which is huge. We’re almost to a billion dollars of travel spending in the region.”
Smith is with Friends of Southwest Virginia. She recently moved back to this area from Denver, Colorado, one of THE places in the country for the outdoorsy crowd.
“But you do have to fight like an hour and a half of traffic to get out there to the mountains.”
Environmental groups are actually hoping to bring a bit more traffic this way by making the outdoors experience more user friendly. A $3.3-million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will enhance the camping area at High Nob in Wise County, same for the Appalachian Trail Center in Damascus and the New River in Giles county, which will get 5 new boat launches
WHERE: Bisset Park in Radford from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
WHAT: 300-foot zip line, paddleboard demonstration pool, outdoor gear raffle and gear swap, local food, brews and live music all staged alongside the New River. Appalachian inspired entertainment such as County Connections and RYZ are scheduled to perform on the main stage.
The Kid Zone with a rock wall and bounce house, and demonstrations such as; chainsaw carving, outdoor survival tips, and Leave No Trace outdoor ethics awareness will round out the event.
More than 100 outdoor related businesses, organizations and attractions including the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Mountain 2 Island Paddleboard, Cabela’s, Virginia State Parks
Sponsors Include: the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Blue Ridge Outdoors, Carilion Clinic, and Mountain Lake Lodge.