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Podcast # 111 - The Great Outdoors as an Economic Engine with Noah Wilson and Bradley Spiegel

Where the wild funds are: An adventure into outdoor economy

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
2 min read
Podcast # 111 - The Great Outdoors as an Economic Engine with Noah Wilson and Bradley Spiegel

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Episode 111 of the Econ Dev Show Podcast is live.


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In the this episode of the Econ Dev Show podcast, Dane Carlson shares an insightful conversation with Noah Wilson of Mountain BizWorks and Bradley Spiegel from the Made By Mountains Partnership, delving into the outdoor recreation economy in Western North Carolina. Together, they explore the diverse elements of the outdoor economy supply chain encompassing manufacturing, guiding services, retail, and infrastructure planning, elucidating how each component significantly contributes to the region's vibrant outdoor recreation ecosystem.

Noah unfolds the narrative of how the Western North Carolina's Outdoor Economy Conference came to fruition, under the theme "Connecting the Ecosystem." This annual convergence is highlighted as a crucial nexus for stakeholders across the outdoor recreation industry, fostering networking and the exchange of best practices.

Noah delineates the four thematic tracks for this year's conference, aimed at cultivating vibrant communities, bolstering outdoor businesses, spearheading inclusive coalitions, and envisioning the future of the outdoor industry. The discussion also touches on Thomas Salley's podcast episode, where both the Outdoor Economy Conference and the Building Outdoor Communities program were mentioned, making a cool connection between these initiatives.

Shifting focus, Bradley sheds light on the Building Outdoor Communities program, a 7-month capacity-building initiative powered by an ARC grant. This program, as Bradley articulates, is aiding communities in meticulously assessing their outdoor recreation assets and devising sustainable development plans. They delve into strategies to adeptly manage the escalation in tourism and amenity migration alongside the growth of outdoor recreation.

The conversation underscores investing in the outdoor economy as a potent strategy to attain triple bottom line goals -- economic development, social equity, and environmental stewardship. The nuanced discussion offers a comprehensive outlook on the opportunities and challenges entailed, providing invaluable insights for communities and stakeholders invested in this dynamic sector.

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  1. The outdoor recreation economy in the U.S. is valued at over $700 billion.
  2. The outdoor economy supply chain includes manufacturing, guiding services, retail, infrastructure planning, and more.
  3. The Outdoor Economy Conference brings together stakeholders from across the industry annually.
  4. The conference aims to foster connections that create real economic impacts.
  5. The Building Outdoor Communities program helps towns assess and develop their outdoor recreation assets.
  6. Managing increased tourism and housing costs are key challenges as the outdoor economy grows.
  7. Dispersing tourists to lesser-known areas can help prevent overcrowding problems.
  8. Providing supporting amenities like shuttles and downtown attractions helps improve the visitor experience.
  9. Collaborating regionally helps communities benefit from the outdoor economy sustainably.
  10. Envisioning the future of outdoor recreation and stewarding resources are crucial.

Dane Carlson Twitter

Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. Also: Sitehunt CEO and economic development consultant in Greater Houston, Texas.

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