Family gatherings are better at Black Balsam Knob / Eagles Nest Outfitters

About Us

WHY WNC?

The Western North Carolina Made By Mountains program is all about telling the story of how the people, companies, and communities that make this such an extraordinary outdoor mecca have all been shaped by the mountains we call home.

Made By Mountains is here to celebrate and build a stronger sense of pride in our region around the extraordinary outdoor recreation industry that these mountains have made, the mountain towns and cities that were literally built from the mountains, and the exceptional people who have made their lives here. We are building a shared narrative that will help people from the Smokies to the Blue Ridge, High Country to the Foothills all tell a collective story of how these mountains have made them who they are today.

And we want to invite others to have these mountains make them, too, so that we can recruit, retain, and grow companies and people who appreciate all these mountains have to offer, and who will continue to care for and steward them for generations to come.

This is a collective effort, powered by people from every part of the outdoor economy. With support from the Appalachian Regional Commission, this brand was developed by the Growing Outdoors Partnership, a collaborative of 18 different organizations ranging from outdoor industry to economic development to local and state government and academia.

Three core organizations – the Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC, Mountain BizWorks, and the NC Outdoor Recreation Industry Office – collaborated with industry leaders and key figures from across Western North Carolina to develop and launch this program. We worked with the outdoor-focused marketing and design company Outpost to bring the brand to life and tapped Graham Averill, a local who writes for publications like Outside and Blue Ridge Outdoors, to craft our anthem and Tommy Penick to create our movie. And we are thankful and fortunate to have leading lights like Jennifer Pharr Davis, Tom Dempsey, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, and Earl B. Hunter, Jr. join us to share their Made By Mountains stories.

Now, the future of this work is in the hands of the community. Dozens of partners have been involved in bringing the brand to life, and we are always looking for more companies, communities, and people who are passionate about the mountains of Western North Carolina, and want to tell their own stories, and help spread the word of how WNC is Made By Mountains.


MXM Partners

Pressing a headset / Cane Creek Cycling

outdoor gear builders

Our collaborative network of manufacturers, outfitters, retailers, nonprofits and partners makes up the largest concentration of outdoor businesses East of the Rockies and the first regional outdoor industry association in the US. The OGB’s mission is to Cultivate, Connect, and Support a Community of Outdoor Industry Leaders here in Western North Carolina. Our member companies are dedicated to supporting one another and the region in growing our outdoor economy.
VISIT OUTDOOR GEAR BUILDERS
Freshly anodized hubs / Industry Nine

Outdoor Industry Office Of North Carolina

The Outdoor Industry Office of North Carolina , the first State Outdoor Industry Office in the Eastern US, is focused on recruiting new businesses to the state, supporting the needs of existing businesses, connecting exporters to global customers, and helping small business owners get their start. The office promotes conservation and stewardship, workforce training, economic development, and public health and wellness to ensure the state’s strategic growth as a place where outdoor businesses and recreation communities can thrive.
VISIT THE OREC
Riding the Fire Mountain Trails / Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

MOUNTAIN BIZWORKS

Mountain Bizworks is one of the best small business financing and training organizations in the nation. From the Waypoint Accelerator, the first outdoor industry business accelerator in the East, to small business financing, coaching, mentorship, and training programs, Mountain BizWorks is here to help small businesses start, grow, and thrive.
VISIT MOUNTAIN BIZWORKS

Thrive Here

These mountains have made dreamers and doers, tinkerers and builders, industry leaders and pioneers.
FIND A CAREER IN THE OUTDOOR INDUSTRY
Thrive Here