Nationally, outdoor recreation is a $788 billion dollar industry, accounting for 2.1% of U.S. GDP and 5.2 million jobs in 2019. In North Carolina, the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2 percent ($12.1 billion) of the state GDP and created 151,661 jobs in the state.
Thomas Salley, the director of tourism for the City of Wilkesboro, North Carolina knows this all too well. He's an integral part of a team working to create a community-led vision and 15-year roadmap to grow the outdoor economy and encourage active living in Wilkes County.
The group is focusing on the planning and development of outdoor recreation infrastructure projects such as trails, greenways, destination-quality parks, attractive downtowns, and the creation of multi-use public spaces suitable for major events and festivals. These projects contribute significantly to the quality of life for local residents, help grow small businesses, and attract visitors.
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