investing in the ecosystem:
6th annual outdoor economy conference
october 21-24, 2024

the nation's leading outdoor recreation-focused economic development conference.
sponsor and exhibitor info available now.

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The Outdoor Economy Conference brings together thought leaders, industry experts, and enthusiasts from across the nation to explore, learn, and collaborate on fostering a sustainable and thriving outdoor economy. As the nation’s largest outdoor recreation-focused economic development gathering, the Outdoor Economy Conference  aims to provide a holistic understanding of the intricate relationship between outdoor recreation, community health, and economic vitality.

Expect the return of our hugely popular Expo space, inspirational programming, workshops & field visits, cross-sector summits, facilitated networking opportunities, and much more.

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This year’s theme of “Investing in the Ecosystem” and its four main tracks focus on: People, Community, Businesses, and the Natural World. The conference aims to provide a holistic understanding of the intricate relationship between outdoor recreation and economic vitality.

We invite dynamic and knowledgeable individuals to submit a proposal to speak at this year’s conference. Successful proposals will align with one of the four main tracks and address topics relevant to the intersection of outdoor recreation and economic development!

All proposals must be submitted by April 19th.

6th Annual Conference Tracks: "Investing in the ecosystem"




The Natural World

All tracks and sessions are all organized around the greater conference theme of Investing in the Outdoors Woven throughout these core Program Tracks are common threads, including:

Sustainability & Resiliency
Accessibility & Inclusivity
User Retention & Growth
Data & Trends

2023 speakers

Last year’s conference featured some of the most prominent movers and shakers in outdoor industry and community.

James Melonas
North Carolina Forest Supervisor, USFS

Dr. Aby Sène-Harper
Assistant Professor, Clemson University

D. Reid Wilson
Secretary, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

Earl B. Hunter Jr
Founder & President, Black Folks Camp Too

Amy Allison
Director, NC Outdoor Recreation Industry Office

Scott Bricker
Interim Vice President, Travel Oregon

Dr. Melissa Weddell
Chair, Appalachian State Department of Recreation Management 

Dr. Ryan L. Sharp
Associate Professor, Applied Park Science Lab, Kansas State University

Erin McCombs
Southeast Director, American Rivers

Steven Foy
Director of Outpost Operations, Nantahala Outdoor Center

Megan Lawson, Ph.D.
Economist, Headwaters Economics

2023 Photo Gallery

2024 Sponsorships and Exhibitor Opportunities are Available Now!

See what happened in 2023 by checking out the gallery below.

Photos by David Huff Creative

thank you, sponsors

This event is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors, who recognize the value that the outdoors brings to our communities and our companies. Our 6th Annual Conference sponsors include…

what makes this event great

Our attendees regularly rate the Outdoor Economy Conference as one of the best events of the year, noting our top-notch production, engaging speakers and topics, and the awesome community of people they’ve connected with. Here’s just a few testimonials…

venue and rooming info

harrah's cherokee conference center

777 Casino Dr. Cherokee, NC 28719

Lodging info

2024 tickets ON SALE NOW!

Connect with and exchange ideas with outdoor industry and thought leaders from around the nation and the world.