Contact: Bradley Spiegel
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First of its Kind “Building Outdoor Communities” Economic Development Program Launches in Western North Carolina

WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership launches transformative program to support communities across 25 counties in developing their outdoor economies.

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA, NC (July 12, 2022) – The WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership is launching a new outdoor-driven community economic development initiative, Building Outdoor Communities (BOC), spanning 25 Western North Carolina counties and the Qualla Boundary. Building Outdoor Communities focuses on capacity building, technical assistance, training, connectivity, and education for communities seeking to advance their outdoor economy goals. The program begins with a community open house series in August, and will formally launch with a workshop in Boone, NC on September 19-20, 2022. Program applications open Tuesday, July 12th and will close on Friday, August 26th. The schedule of events, application details, and event registration are all available on the MADE X MTNS Building Outdoor Communities webpage.

The WNC: MADE X MTNS Building Outdoor Communities Program is funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) initiative, with support from Mountain BizWorks and the Dogwood Health Trust, as well as numerous regional stakeholders.

“Overwhelmingly, rural community leaders see the value and importance of leveraging and caring for their outdoor assets. This program will provide them with targeted assistance to assess, analyze, and prioritize outdoor infrastructure investments, grow their outdoor economies, and truly take WNC to the next level as the Outdoor Industry Hub of the East,” says Noah Wilson, Mountain BizWorks’ Director of Sector Development.

In partnership with Appalachian State University’s Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis, six regional Councils of Government, and West Virginia University’s Brad & Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative, the Building Outdoor Communities program team will coordinate with local Community Working Groups to strategically assess and prioritize outdoor infrastructure and economic development goals and forge pathways to implementation. The team will create an outdoor economic impact toolkit, so community leaders can be equipped with data to leverage future project investments. Community Working Groups that successfully complete the capacity building portion of the program are eligible for technical assistance funds to advance their community’s top priorities.

“The NC Appalachian Regional Commission program is excited by the potential of this initiative to create investment-ready outdoor infrastructure projects that can catalyze greater talent attraction and economic development opportunities across the region,” says Olivia Collier, NC ARC Program Director.

The September 19-20 program Launch Event & Workshop is open to WNC stakeholders seeking to engage within Community Working Groups throughout the duration of the program. To stay in-the-know about program updates, key events, and major milestones, join the Building Outdoor Communities mailing list.


About WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership
The WNC: MADE X MTNS (Made By Mountains) Partnership is working to expand the outdoor industry and economy across North Carolina’s Appalachian region and catalyze rural development by building vibrant outdoor communities, driving outdoor industry growth, and empowering regional storytelling. The Partnership includes Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC, Mountain BizWorks, and the NC Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, as well as numerous stakeholders including regional universities, rural communities, economic development, and conservation organizations. With support from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Dogwood Health Trust, the WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership celebrates, supports, and builds a stronger sense of pride around our region, our people, and the extraordinary outdoor recreation industry and culture that these mountains have made. For more information, visit or @madexmtns on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Building Outdoor Communities Program Page
Building Outdoor Communities Program Details & FAQ
Building Outdoor Communities Application
Register for WNC Open House Events
Register for Launch Event & Workshop

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