Trail Towns: Celebrating Nature While Growing the Economy
Thursday, September 19 at 11:00 a.m.
Speakers: Tonya Triplett with the Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau,
Elaine Wilson with the Kentucky Office of Adventure Tourism
Opportunities for outdoor recreation are a significant asset for Appalachian communities with their lush forests, beautiful vistas, and idyllic streams. There are few places in Appalachia where those assets are more visible than in Virginia, home to 544 miles of the Appalachian Trail, more than any other state in the region. Virginia is also home to Damascus, a small town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, and otherwise known as Trail Town USA. Once a struggling coal town with a rapidly declining population, Damascus is now a vibrant, bustling place that ranked on Budget Travel’s list of “Coolest Small Towns in America.” Every year in mid-May, Damascus hosts an annual Trail Days festival that draws more than 20,000 tourists to this small town of less than 1,000 residents. This gathering of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to the town’s multitude of trails, including the Virginia Creeper Trail, considered one of the nation’s best bike trails.
Join us as our keynote presenters, Tonya Triplett and Elaine Wilson, help us explore what it takes to build a successful trail town and discover how recreational trails and rivers can boost your community’s tourism traffic. Also learn about Kentucky’s new Trail Town initiative, a statewide effort to inventory trails and recreational assets, identify the needs of trail users, and coordinate with businesses and towns to promote Kentucky’s nature destinations.