2021 Stewards of Opportunity Conference Track:

Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Tourism

About the Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Tourism Track

This track will ensure that outdoor recreation destinations continue to drive their local economies, by activating people to recreate responsibly and care for our lands and waters; channeling visitors to underutilized locations; improving infrastructure and accessibility; and increasing visitor spending. Growing outdoor tourism responsibly requires inclusive planning and collaboration that engages both public and private sectors to identify critical issues and advance a holistic agenda improving residents’ quality of life, protecting natural and cultural heritage, and enhancing the visitor experience and connection with the community.

Topics for this Track Include:

  • Supporting Sustainable Outdoor Destinations – From enhancing cycling and mountain bike tourism, to rural tourism studios, Travel Oregon has invested in helping local communities and partners. We’ll examine how they have successfully provided the resources, connections, and education needed to help grow their sustainable destinations.


  • The Goal of Public Lands and their Impact on our Community


  • Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Tourism Models and Case Studies – Sustainable tourism, at its core, includes social responsibility, environmental conservation, and economic viability. This session will demystify the often misunderstood concept of sustainable tourism, illustrate community connections, and introduce the concept of destination stewardship and how it fosters sustainable tourism. We’ll look at global trends, challenges, and solutions. After which, the case study community will share an in-depth look at their community projects.

  • Visitor Use Management Data, Tools, and Techniques


  • Effective Messaging Campaigns for Local Communities – Learn about how you and your partners can utilize the many assets, programs, and resources of Leave No Trace to help create a more sustainable destination through messaging and communications.


  • Making the Outdoors a Welcome, Safe Space for all Folks – Tourism is an international industry built on welcoming visitors, and success is measured in terms of satisfaction. “All are welcome” is a part of tourism’s DNA. In addition to social responsibility, environmental conservation, and economic viability, sustainable tourism standards specifically call out diversity, equity, and inclusion, as it relates to workforce hiring and advancement since international standards were adopted in 2008.

Speakers for this Track Include:

  • Bobby Chappell, Tourism Impact Services

  • Clark Lovelace, Executive Director at Transylvania Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority

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

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

  • Nick Breedlove, Executive Director, Jackson County Tourist Development Association

  • Andrew Leary, Leave No Trace

  • Faith Overall, Leave No Trace

  • Earl B. Hunter Jr., CEO, Black Folks Camp Too

  • Michelle Mitchell, USFS Southeast Director for Wilderness

  • Dr. Aby Sene-Harper, Assistant Professor, Parks and Conservation Area Management, Clemson University

Be Awesome. Save Money. Buy Tickets.

The past year has been life changing, not just for us as individuals, but for our communities, economies, and the outdoor industry as a whole. The need to grow and strengthen our respective outdoor economies is more relevant than ever. 

Since its inception, Outdoor Economy Conference has provided an invaluable opportunity to connect with, learn from, and be inspired by the leaders and doers who are working to grow the outdoor industry and craft an economy that’s intimately tied to the well-being of their places and communities.

This year’s conference is no exception. Our team is passionate about their work and has been busy crafting an amazing program centered around place driven community and economic development.

Did we mention that the conference is in the legendary outdoor playground that is Western North Carolina? You’ll be just 5 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 5 minutes from some of the country’s most epic mountain biking, and within walking distance of fantastic fly fishing.

Maybe you’re more of a luxe digs sort of person – well, we’ve got that too. The Outdoor Economy Conference will be one of the first events at the swanky, newly-constructed, Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center. And the room rates are crazy good. Oh, and it’s also during those magical first few weeks of spring, when the trillium and the trout are rising. So what are you waiting for? Register now! 

Register Now And...

Save $100

Score Swag

Show us some Love

4th Annual Conference Tracks: "Stewards of Opportunity"

Photo: Bren Photography for Camp Grier

Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Tourism

Explore this Track

Outdoor-Driven Economic Development

Explore this Track
Photo: Bear Allison for Cherokee

Balancing Conservation and the Outdoor Economy

Explore this Track
Photo: Industry Nine

Responsible Outdoor Product Innovation

Explore this Track

Register Now

venue and rooming info

harrah's cherokee conference center

777 Casino Dr. Cherokee, NC 28719

Lodging info

ticket info