Julie Judkins -Ecotourism Green Mondays 12-12-11


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Manager of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s A.T. Communities Program, Julie talks about the effort to enhance the benefit local communities obtain from use of the Appalachian Trail

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Julie Judkins -Ecotourism Green Mondays 12-12-11

  1. 1. Appalachian Trail Communities ! The Trail ! A.T. Communities ! Sustainable Tourism in Unicoi County
  2. 2. Benton MacKaye
  3. 3. " a path interspersed with planned wilderness communities where people could go to renew themselves" " to seek respite from an increasingly industrialized, urbanized society.
  4. 4. ATC Last year, more than 6,200 volunteers contributed over 220,000 hours to Trail maintenance projects.
  5. 5. Appalachian Trail Communities
  6. 6. Economic Impact of the A.T.!2 million recreation visits annually!$125 168 million annual spending! $27 million spending in local communities!626 jobs supported by trail-related tourism J.M. Bowker, S.J. Zarnoch, H. Ken Cordell USDA FS; Neelam Poudyal, Gary Green UGA; Matt Owens GA DNR. Presented as preliminary findings at 20th American Trails National Symposium in Chattanooga, TN, November 14-17, 2010
  7. 7. How the Trail Benefits CommunitiesProtecting Natural Resources:vital habitat corridors, species diversity, ecosystem services thatcitizens depend on such as watershed, air quality, foodsheds and evenmedicineProtecting Rural Character and Place:ridgelines, river corridors, visual relief by framing neighborhoods in theface of sprawl, preserving farmland (e.g. in PA)Healthier lifestyles:encouraging hiking, walking, jogging from a close location, positive life-long exercise and experience, free!Education:citizen scientists, outdoor classrooms, experiential learning, teachingstewardshipEnhanced quality of life for residents
  8. 8. EcosystemManagement Restoration Employment opportunities for ecosystem management and monitoring, Increase the work force of communities to accomplish ecological restoration activities like non-native invasive species control, prescribed fire, timber stand improvements, and biomass thinning Job training opportunities for young adults Providing high quality experiential education
  9. 9. Appalachian Trail Community Benefits Media Support:guidebooks, web mapping, etc.. National Network Logo Usage and branding Signage Increased Recognition and Visibility Teacher Eligibility Increased Environmental Stewardship
  10. 10. Outcomes and Successes, exampleUnicoi  CountySustainable  Tourism  InitiativeHiking  Trails  infoFestivalIncreased  land  manager  and  community  partnership
  11. 11. Asset Based Action Plans1) Recreational activities at Rocky Fork2) Programming showcasing the new TN WelcomeCenter3) Cultural Asset guidelines booklet4) Commercial Services through beautification plan5) Marketing plan for natural resources
  12. 12. Entrepreneurs WorkshopRegional economic analysisBusiness planningFinancial Strategies and resourcesCase studies
  13. 13. Unicoi Already Attracts Tourists 3,600 Hikers visit Unicoi each year 28,000 Boaters visit Unicoi 50,000 Anglers live within an hour Many More ____________________________________________________ TOURISM IMPACTS on UNICOI County: Local Taxes: Employment: Local Taxes: $620,000 74 Jobs $620,000 Source:    Upper  Nolichucky  River  Watershed  Resource  Benefit  Study,  Equinox  Environmental  Consultation,  May  2005
  14. 14. 2008 Tourist ExpendituresSelected TN & NC Counties 2008 Tourist Expenditures County / State ($ million) Source:    TN  Dept.  of    Tourist  Washington Co., TN $197.37 million Development  &  U.S.  Travel   Association;  NC  Dept.  of   Commerce,  Tourism  DivisionAvery Co., NC $89.76 millionGreene Co., TN $71.83 millionCarter Co., TN $31.27 millionMadison Co., NC $29.26 millionYancey Co., NC $26.33 millionMitchell Co., NC $19.86 millionUnicoi Co., TN $7.62 million
  15. 15. Economic Benefit Could Be Higher! Unicoi receives an estimated $12.1 M annual economic benefit from nature-based recreation! Economic Impact from Recreational Users in Unicoi Could Increase by 39%! With planning, promotion, and partnerships built from asset-mapping plans! With growing of Appalachian Trail Community Network (now 24 Communities) and! Growing destination packages to an national and international market of Voluntourists. Source: Upper Nolichucky River Watershed Resource Benefit Study
  16. 16. Julie Judkins, ATC jjudkins@appalachiantrail.orgThe Mountains are calling, and I must go. John Muir Join the Journey