Episode 111

The Great Outdoors as an Economic Engine with Noah Wilson and Bradley Spiegel


October 2nd, 2023

39 mins 38 secs

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About this Episode

In the this episode of the Econ Dev Show podcast, host Dane Carlson shares an insightful conversation with Noah Wilson of Mountain BizWorks and Bradley Spiegel from the Made By Mountains Partnership, delving into the outdoor recreation economy in Western North Carolina. Together, they explore the diverse elements of the outdoor economy supply chain encompassing manufacturing, guiding services, retail, and infrastructure planning, elucidating how each component significantly contributes to the region's vibrant outdoor recreation ecosystem.

Noah unfolds the narrative of how the Western North Carolina's Outdoor Economy Conference came to fruition, under the theme "Connecting the Ecosystem." This annual convergence is highlighted as a crucial nexus for stakeholders across the outdoor recreation industry, fostering networking and the exchange of best practices.

Noah delineates the four thematic tracks for this year’s conference, aimed at cultivating vibrant communities, bolstering outdoor businesses, spearheading inclusive coalitions, and envisioning the future of the outdoor industry. The discussion also touches on Thomas Salley's podcast, where both the Outdoor Economy Conference and the Building Outdoor Communities program were mentioned, making a cool connection between these initiatives.

Shifting focus, Bradley sheds light on the Building Outdoor Communities program, a 7-month capacity-building initiative powered by an ARC grant. This program, as Bradley articulates, is aiding communities in meticulously assessing their outdoor recreation assets and devising sustainable development plans. They delve into strategies to adeptly manage the escalation in tourism and amenity migration alongside the growth of outdoor recreation.

The conversation underscores investing in the outdoor economy as a potent strategy to attain triple bottom line goals — economic development, social equity, and environmental stewardship. The nuanced discussion offers a comprehensive outlook on the opportunities and challenges entailed, providing invaluable insights for communities and stakeholders invested in this dynamic sector.

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