Ashe County and the Town of West Jefferson with support from Destination by Design and High Country Pathways will be holding the first annual Ashe Outdoor Recreation Summit on Thursday May 4th at 5:00pm. The event will kickoff at 5:00pm with a social hour and the program starting at 6:00pm. It will be held at the Ashe Arts Council at 303 School Ave in West Jefferson.
The event will be an unveiling of the work done on the Northern Peaks Trail that will connect West Jefferson and Boone. This project began as a concept out of the Boone Area Outdoor Recreation Plan as a hiking trail from downtown West Jefferson to Boone over some of the major peaks in the area including Mt. Jefferson, Three Top, the Peak and Elk Knob. Planning of the trail began in earnest in the fall of last year, lead by consultants Destination by Design. Their work will highlight the event including trail concepts and renderings.
In addition to the Northern Peaks Trail, the Blue Ridge Conservancy, New River Conservancy and the NC State Parks will be on hand to present new projects and work undertaken recently. These agencies as well as others will be on hand during the social hour to share their projects and plans.
In addition to the presentations, we hope that the event will be a draw for outdoor enthusiast in the area that want to grow recreational opportunities in Ashe County. This event that will allow like minded folks to network and discuss future recreational infrastructure like trails, canoe/kayak launches, and parking for fishing.
Tourism and recreational tourism in Ashe County is very important to the local economy and this event hopes to expand on that impact in the future. In 2015, visitors to the County spent $51.9 million and generated $2.68 in sales tax revenue. Last year was a great year for visitation to the NC State Parks and Natural Areas in the County which saw and increase in attendance of 4%. Of that increase, 256,713 people visited the New River State Park and 121,904 visited Mount Jefferson State Natural Area.