outdoor recreation

Meet The Coal Town Betting Big On Outdoor Recreation

Sep 30, 2019
Brittany Patterson I Ohio Valley ReSource

Standing on the breezy outlook at Flag Rock Recreation Area, Norton City Manager Fred Ramey is taking in the panoramic view of downtown Norton, Virginia. The brick building-lined streets are framed by the verdant, rolling Appalachian mountains. Jagged, brown scars from mountaintop mining operations can be seen in the distance, reminders of the region’s history of coal production.

“It’s a great overlook of the city, and people really are surprised when they get up here at the view,” he says. “It's truly beautiful, and it's unique. It's something that we have that not everyone else has.”


Kentucky.gov

The Kentucky Department of Tourism says a national study found the economic impact of outdoor recreation in the state jumped to $12.8 billion last year, up from $8.4 billion in 2012.

The study done by the Outdoor Industry Association also indicates that outdoor recreation in Kentucky directly supports $3.6 billion in wages and salaries from 120,000 jobs and provides $756 million in state and local tax revenue.

The Tourism Department said in a statement that the numbers show Kentucky is starting to position itself as a top-tier destination for travelers seeking outdoor activities. Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum says Kentucky offers outdoor recreation opportunities in communities across the state.