"Appalachia’s Recreation Industry Faces Climate Change Challenges"

"The impacts of climate change are steadily and exponentially being felt here in Appalachia just as they have across the globe, and environmental activists, scientists and outdoor enthusiasts alike find themselves in a race to counter the climate curve in the region.

The discussions in some communities, however, have shifted to predicting what long-term effects climate change will have on outdoor recreation that, in many places, has supported a changing economy and how our communities can cope.

Appalachia’s varied topography provides opportunities for outdoor recreation year-round – more than 3 million people section-hike the Appalachian Trail each year. And according to the Outdoor Industry Association 2023 report, West Virginia’s recreation sector in particular is responsible for $660 million in tax revenue and 91,000 jobs. Tennessee’s numerous recreation options brought in nearly $12 billion in 2022 with over 38 million people visiting the state’s 57 parks.

Protecting the outdoors is an environmental investment, but one that is likely to also secure Applachia’s economic health. "

Colleen Kelly reports for 100 Days in Appalachia April 2024.

Source: 100 Days in Appalachia, 04/29/2024