Appalachian Gateway Communities Initiative: Providing Tools for Tourism 

Appalachia’s gateway communities — towns bordering on publicly owned lands, like national and state parks and forests — often find themselves caught between promotion and preservation. Promoting nature and culture is key for economic growth, especially for areas experiencing economic distress and transition. Too much use, however, impacts the preservation needed to maintain trails, waterways, crafting traditions, and more for future generations. 

To help communities develop thoughtful strategies around some of Appalachia’s most treasured assets,  The Conservation Fund launched the Appalachian Gateway Communities Initiative (AGCI) in 2007 with support from ARC and the National Endowment for the Arts.  

Smart, Sustainable Planning  

During the three-day workshop, participating teams hear from national and regional experts, exchange ideas with other teams, and ultimately develop action plans for their communities. Before, during, and after the workshop, teams receive targeted technical assistance, community tourism assessments, small grants for project implementation, and more.  

To date, AGCI has supported 12 regional and place-based workshops, issued 46 grants, and engaged teams representing 51 counties across 12 Appalachian states. 

What does a gateway community look like? Explore some success stories from around Appalachia.

Congratulations to the teams selected for the 2022 Appalachian Gateway Communities Initiative!

The 2022 Gateway Communities Workshop will be held from October 25-27 in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Congratulations to this year’s participants:

Chattooga County, GA
Watauga County / Boone and Blowing Rock, NC
Allegany Region/Southern Tier, NY
Polk County, NC and Landrum, SC
Ocoee and Greasy Creek in Polk County, TN
Fayetteville / Fayette County, WV
Lewis & Upshur Counties, WV
New River Gorge Region, WV