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Hood’s Winks – Tourism and natural assets

By Ralph Hood

A recent issue The Erwin Record announced the possibility—perhaps the probability—of a committee to promote tourism under the leadership of Lee Brown. Gosh, I hope that happens.

Unicoi County could benefit highly from a growing tourist industry—without spending a fortune. Let’s promote what we already have on hand: the wonder and beauty of nature.

We already have Rock Creek Recreation Area, Rocky Fork State Park, the world-famous Appalachian Trail (AT)—breathes there a soul who wouldn’t love to say, “I have walked part of the Appalachian Trail?”

On our part of the AT lies the well-known Uncle Johnny’s Nolichucky Hostel and Outfitter for hikers. Our reputation for welcoming “through-hikers” is also well-known. Wife Gail and I have met through-hikers galore on our brief forays on the AT, and met others at the Steel Rails Coffee House and other establishments (spending money, BTW).

We also have some stunningly beautiful waterfalls and rapids.

These waterfalls may be the first attractions we should promote. Before you laugh, Brevard, North Carolina, has a beautiful brochure with pictures of their surrounding waterfalls. Yes, they do have more waterfalls than we do. On the other hand, we have some beauties and we need to let the world know.

Erwin Kiwanis Club presents a Campfire Program once a week during summer months—absolutely free—at Rock Creek Recreation Area.

Our natural assets have several great advantages:

1) They are already in place

2) They attract nature lovers, who tend to be neat, non-littering people

3) We have professionals already in place and providing kayaking, river rafting and other activities.

4) People who participate in outdoor recreation tend to tell their neighbors all about it—they promote it for us.

Let’s get started!