A flaw in the economic model that calculates tourism impact in the mountains has been uncovered, resulting in a major adjustment to tourism spending in Jackson and Swain counties.
Every year, the N.C. Department of Commerce releases the economic impact of tourism by county. For years, Swain was heads and shoulders above Jackson. But not anymore.
There’s nothing Adam Bigelow likes better than a full tank of gas in the summertime with an open road ahead. After all, the drive from Sylva to Cashiers, where he works three days a week, is a beautiful, twisting mountain route that’s great for someone who wants to put their steering skills to the test.
But Bigelow’s feel-good mood comes more from the contents of his tank than the places it’s getting him. He’s been driving a car powered by veggie oil for years, and he’s got nothing but good things to say about it.
Word on the river is that more and more people are getting into fly fishing, spurring a push for fly-focused tourism and marketing – and the opening of a pair of new fly shops.
“‘A River Runs Through It’ with Brad Pitt brought a lot of attention to the sport,” said Bob Bennett, who co-owns Tuckaseegee Fly Shop in Bryson City with Dale Collins. “Just in the recent five years or so, things have just really taken off, and I think part of it is bringing awareness to access. This is not a sport that you have to go to Montana for, or Alaska. You can bring it right here in Western North Carolina in the thousands of miles of stream we have.”
The key to economic and community development in Western North Carolina is for leaders of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to reach beyond town limits and county lines to embrace a more regional approach, steeped in a spirit of cooperation and partnership.
That was the message heard again and again Wednesday, Nov. 12, from speakers and participants at LEAD:WNC, a one-day summit convened by WCU to discuss solutions leading to sustainable economic and community development.
For the past few years, the Blue Ridge Breakaway has lured cyclists to Haywood for a ride through the mountains. The big attraction is the sweeping views to be had along the route.
“They’re wanting to get up on the Parkway,” explained Melissa Tinsley, who coordinates events for the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce and is charged with the logistics of the annual Breakaway.
There’s also another pretty big attraction. “Tater-mater” sandwiches.
It’s been two years since Bruce Yarrington and his Knights of Columbus buddies started volunteering at the Veterans Restoration Quarters in Asheville. Twice a month the crew makes the trip from Waynesville to cook for the veterans at the center.
As the leaves change and the air becomes crisp, the mountains of Western North Carolina transform into a landscape of mystery and mischief. In the spirit of ghouls, ghosts and everything creepy and crawling, communities around Southern Appalachia will celebrate Halloween with an array of local and regional events, for kids and parents alike.
Two candidates are competing for the job of top legal prosecutor in the seven western counties.
The seat came up for grabs when District Attorney Mike Bonfoey announced his retirement after 11 years in the role. Two assistant prosecutors who work under Bonfoey are vying for the job.
Attendees at Cullowhee’s hearing on the proposed oil and gas rules Sept. 12 were overwhelmingly anti-fracking, but a small contingent of men showed up on a bus from Winstom-Salem — provided by the N.C. Energy Forum — wearing sky blue t-shirts bearing the words “Shale Yes.” Except, fracking opponents are saying, the men weren’t exactly informed proponents of the fossil fuel extraction practice.