Monday, January 30, 2023

North Carolina Selects 34 Communities for Creating Outdoor Recreation Economies (CORE) Program

Raleigh, N.C.
Jan 30, 2023

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division has selected 34 local governments from across the state to participate in the Creating Outdoor Recreation Economies (CORE) program. The CORE program offers strategic planning and technical assistance to help rural communities leverage North Carolina’s abundant outdoor recreation assets to bolster local economic vitality.

The CORE program is a component of the Supporting and Strengthening Resiliency in North Carolina’s Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Sectors Initiative that was awarded a $6 million U.S. Economic Development Administration State Tourism Grant. 

Outdoor recreation is a significant economic driver across the state of North Carolina. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis outdoor recreation in North Carolina contributed over $11.8 billion to the state’s GDP in 2021. This economic sector accounts for over 130,000 jobs annually resulting in more than $5.9 billion in compensation for employees.

“The outdoor recreation sector is a substantial contributor to our state’s economy,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “With boat building at the coast to kayak manufacturing in the mountains, and diverse natural landscapes offering tourism opportunities in between, outdoor recreation is an industry primed for continued growth in North Carolina.”

Through CORE, communities will collaborate with local stakeholders through a strategic planning process to identify and develop outdoor recreation assets that present economic growth opportunities. Strategy development will focus on leveraging outdoor recreation assets to increase tourism, encourage small business development, enhance quality of life for residents, plan for asset and infrastructure development, and/or position communities to grow and attract outdoor gear manufacturing industries. The planning process will be tailored to meet the needs and goals of each community. The CORE program will also provide technical assistance and training to help communities implement their strategies.

“Our rural communities have long been destinations for recreation and relaxation in the great outdoors,” said Kenny Flowers, Assistant Secretary of Rural Economic Development. “The strategic planning assistance offered through CORE will help these communities leverage natural assets to increase economic opportunity and improve quality of life for residents across the state.”

The following communities will participate in the CORE program:

  •  Ashe County
  • Town of Black Mountain (Buncombe County)  
  • Bladen County
  • Cabarrus County
  • Town of Catawba (Catawba County) 
  • City of Creedmoor (Granville County)
  • Town of Dallas (Gaston County)
  • Duplin County
  • Town of Edenton (Chowan County)
  • Town of Erwin (Harnett County)
  • Halifax County
  • Town of Hamilton (Martin County)
  • City of Hickory (Catawba County)
  • Jackson County
  • Town of Jonesville (Yadkin County)
  • Lee County
  • Martin County
  • Montgomery County
  • Town of Nashville (Nash County)
  • Pamlico County
  • Rockingham County
  • Town of Roseboro (Sampson County)
  • Town of Sandyfield (Columbus County)
  • Town of Scotland Neck (Halifax County)
  • Town of Seven Springs (Wayne County)
  • Town of Severn (Northampton County)
  • Town of Sharpsburg (Edgecombe County)
  • Town of Spencer (Rowan County)
  • Town of Sylva (Jackson County)
  • Town of Valdese (Burke County)
  • Warren County
  • Town of Warrenton (Warren County)
  • Town of White Lake (Bladen County)
  • Yancey County

For more information on the CORE program, visit the Rural Planning Program Services webpage

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