Investments in Action

Every year, ARC investments support hundreds of economic development projects benefiting Appalachia’s 420 counties. Projects align with one of five goals outlined in our current Strategic Plan. The resulting investments ultimately help Appalachian communities address economic disparity and advance prosperity.

Explore stories from ARC projects and partners across the Appalachian Region.

States & Counties
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Erwin Utilities: Enhancing Broadband in Unicoi County

The town of Erwin, Tennessee is nestled in the mountains of Unicoi County (pictured above) and home to just over 6,000 residents. Though the area is abundant in undisturbed natural assets and access to major roadways, Unicoi is considered economically at-risk and has faced its fair share of challenges. After the coal-industry-related closure of a CSX rail yard in Erwin, around…


Great Smoky Mountains: Adventure Creates Opportunity in Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of two designations in Appalachia, was the country’s most-visited National Park in 2020. The Smokies’ 12.1 million visitors more than tripled the #2 most-visited destination, Yellowstone National Park. Though surrounding communities like Sevierville benefit greatly from this natural asset, one of the park’s three counties, Cocke, is still considered economically distressed. In fact, the county lacks recreational trails despite its proximity to…
New York, West Virginia

Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Preston,

Trail Systems: Guiding Communities to Opportunities

Every Appalachian state has ample trail opportunities, from the Tanglefoot Trail in Mississippi, to South Carolina’s Swamp Rabbit Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Trails are incredible gateways for attracting outside visitors and increasing quality of life for community members. ARC partners have long worked to establish trail systems that…
West Virginia

Kanawha, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers, Webster,

New River Gorge: America’s Newest National Park

West Virginia’s New River Gorge is America’s newest national park, which has made headlines in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Conde Nast Traveler. Though excited by the national attention and economic potential, West Virginians have always known this area as an invaluable natural asset. Over the years, ARC…

Allegheny, Bradford, Warren,

Pennsylvania Wilds: Connecting Nature, Culture, and Entrepreneurship

In Northern Pennsylvania, 50 state game lands, 29 state parks, 8 state forests, and one National Forest combine to form an ultimate outdoor destination – the Pennsylvania Wilds. Besides being a haven of outdoor recreation, what else do the 12 counties comprising the PA Wilds have in common? They’re considered coal-impacted, and have felt the effects of America’s changing energy production. Though beautiful, the rugged…
Rural Action

Athens, Hocking, Perry,

Rural Action: Moving Forest Communities Forward in Ohio

Though Appalachia has two incredible national parks, the Region is also filled with 16 National Forests. ARC partners are finding ways to connect those assets, which are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, with surrounding communities to sustainably leverage the economic potential. One great example? Rural Action in Ohio, which is using ARC POWER support to strengthen their community through Asset-based Entrepreneurship: Trails,…