Technical assistance

Launch of the Building Outdoor Communities program

North Carolina earns $28 billion from outdoor recreation. The WNC: MADE X MTNS ((Made By Mountains) Partnership has launched the Building Outdoor Communities program which focuses on capacity building, technical assistance, training, connectivity and education for communities looking to make advance their outdoor economy goals.Mitchell County was placed at the top of the list and is one of the first five counties to start the program along with McDowell, Burke, Wilkes and Rutherford.Over the next seven months, Mitchell will organize his central committee members and stakeholders, finding out what infrastructure they need, how it impacts their economy, how to activate it among their workforce, and then brand it and make it another part of county tourism. Mitchell County Economic Development Commission Director Matt Ward said, “We have been told that the state of Maine and many other communities across the country are the envy of es of the highly concentrated natural beauty and outdoor activity that already exists in WNC and the potentia l for even more to come to our area. We hope to attract the manufacturer of the various outdoor items and perhaps the enthusiasts to move here because of this. »

Critical partners in this work are the Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis at Appalachian State University, six regional councils of government, and the Brad & Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative at West Virginia University. Teams will embark on a seven-month dive into data collection with community cohorts from September 2022 to August 2024 to strategically assess and prioritize external infrastructure and economic development goals, chart implementation pathways, and create a external economic impact toolkit, so that community leaders can be equipped with data to leverage future project investments.

Successfully participating communities will obtain crucial user data needed to advance their outdoor recreation planning goals and be eligible for technical assistance funds through a matching grants program to advance their main priorities.

Building Outdoor Communities Program (BOC) on September 19-20, welcoming over 100 participants for an introduction to its two-year outdoor community economic development initiative.

About the WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership

The WNC: MADE X MTNS (Made By Mountains) partnership strives to expand the outdoor industry and economy in North Carolina’s Appalachian region and catalyze rural development by creating outdoor communities dynamic, driving the growth of the outdoor industry and strengthening regional storytelling. The partnership includes Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC, Mountain BizWorks and the NC Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, as well as numerous stakeholders including regional universities, rural communities, economic development and conservation organizations. With the support of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Dogwood Health Trust, the WNC:MADE X MTNS partnership celebrates, supports and builds pride around our region, our people and the extraordinary leisure industry and culture of open air that these mountains have made. . For more information, visit or @madexmtns on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.