2022 Conference: Stewards of Opportunity

COVID-19 Protocols

Keeping Everyone safe and healthy at the Conference

After so many months of Zoom meetings and home offices, we’re incredibly excited to get together in person this Spring at our brand new, state-of-the-art venue in Cherokee. The sense of community and energy that comes from being together is so powerful, and we can’t wait to see you all! With continuing news on emerging COVID-19 variants, we all have a shared responsibility to ensure that everyone is safe, healthy, and comfortable.

Our COVID-19 protocols have two parts: the first is what we as organizers and hosts are doing to help create a healthy, safe environment for everyone. The second part is what all of our attendees are expected to do so that everyone can have a safe, enjoyable, and generally awesome Outdoor Economy Conference. 

Big picture, we are working diligently with our Conference partners to ensure the health and safety of all attendees, exhibitors, and staff/team members at the event. We are monitoring and tracking both the virus itself, and updates in COVID-19 protocols both from the CDC and our partners in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. If guidelines change we will modify our health and safety protocols accordingly.

What we're doing as organizers

Providing Ample Space: We are intentionally leaving lots of extra capacity in all of our sessions, breakouts, and Expo Hall, and will be using all ~80,000ft2 of our space so that people have room to spread out and get their distancing on

Ample Notice of Any Changes: Things are fluid right now, and we’re watching both regional and national trends and guidance closely. Health and safety is of the utmost importance. If anything major changes, we will let everyone know ASAP, and will do everything in our power to ensure we’re keeping everyone safe

Frequent Sanitizing: We’re working with our partners at Harrah’s to make sure that all high-touch surfaces are frequently sanitized, and that the whole place gets cleaned and wiped down on the regular

Easy Ways to Communicate Your Social Distancing Needs: Modeling off of our friends at the Big Gear Show, we’ll be making it easy to show how big your bubble needs to be and help avoid awkward moments like the infamous “fist bump + handshake combo”

Attendee Expectations

Community health takes a communal effort, and we respectfully require all of our attendees to meet the following expectations in order to take part in the 2021 Outdoor Economy Conference:


  • Arrive Fully Vaccinated: We are requiring full vaccination from all attendees; even with the Omicron variants, vaccinated people are dramatically less likely to get COVID, and just as importantly, are incredibly unlikely to get seriously ill or require hospitalization
  • Don’t Attend If You’re Sick: Obviously, COVID is the thing we’re all most worried about, but conference crud was a thing long before COVID came along. If you’re not feeling well, please do not attend the conference and put others at risk, because even a cold is a whole lot more nervous-making these days
  • Masks Optional but Available: We have been watching CDC and Tribal recommendations/requirements carefully, and are NOT requiring masks at the Conference, but please bring some regardless, especially for close-quarters times (like the bus ride to an Excursion!) And if you need a great mask to use at the event, and afterwards … we are pleased to announced that the crew at Kitsbow has graciously provided 500 of their award-winning HEPA-filtered masks for our attendees, available at Registration.
  • Respect Others‘ Social Distancing Needs, without judgement (and be respectful of others just in general, please)
  • Sign the Excursions Liability Waiver required of everyone attending an Excursion at the Conference
  • Take Care of Your Conference Badge! That’s your pass to the event, and you can’t attend without it

Thank you!

We are so excited to see you in April, and really appreciate you being so understanding and respectful of these rules while you’re at the Outdoor Economy Conference. If you have any questions, or if you’ve seen other great practices/protocols you think we should be following, please email our operations coordinator, Melissa Scheiderer, at [email protected].

4th Annual Conference Tracks: "Stewards of Opportunity"

Photo: Bren Photography for Camp Grier

Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Tourism

Explore this Track

Outdoor-Driven Economic Development

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Photo: Bear Allison for Cherokee

Balancing Conservation and the Outdoor Economy

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Photo: Industry Nine

Responsible Outdoor Product Innovation

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venue and rooming info

harrah's cherokee conference center

777 Casino Dr. Cherokee, NC 28719

Lodging info

ticket info