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Chamber Of Commerce Receives Tourism Grant

Covington, VA (May 16, 2024) - Today, the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism received grant funding ($20,000) through Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) DRIVE Outdoor program, a tourism development grant program targeting outdoor product development and entrepreneurial expansion throughout the Commonwealth.

To meet the consumer demand for outdoor travel, the Chamber will use awarded funds for outdoor development projects that will have an immediate impact on the area’s outdoor recreation offerings. Specifically, funds will be used to expand access to the outdoors through the purchase of a fleet of bikes for multiple age groups, paddle boards & kayaks, complimenting safety equipment and other outdoor equipment. Furthermore, expanding access to people with limited mobility is at the forefront. The Chamber plans to purchase handicap accessible, trail-capable wheelchairs that can be used on the beach & trails at Douthat State Park & Lake Moomaw, along the Jackson River Scenic Trail through area outfitter Alleghany Outdoors, within the Town of Clifton Forge’s trail system including the sensory trail, and in the City of Covington at the Jackson River Sports Complex and other frequented areas. Additional funds will be used to enhance the Chamber’s Blueway brochure & maps to include potential hazards, rapids, campsites, lodging, restaurants and more along the Jackson & Cowpasture Rivers in an effort to better educate visitors on water-based experiences in the Alleghany Highlands.

DRIVE Outdoor builds on VTC’s DRIVE 2.0 Statewide Strategic Plan to enhance outdoor recreational development, assets, and entrepreneurial opportunities within Virginia. Following participation in the program, the Alleghany Highlands received the foundation for a competitive outdoor product development plan, including specific action steps, success factors, timelines, priorities, and identified partners to help with project success.

“We are so excited to have received full funding from Virginia Tourism’s Drive Outdoor grant program! This funding will be instrumental in enhancing accessibility and safety for all outdoor enthusiasts visiting the Alleghany Highlands. Our goal is to make outdoor experiences in the region inclusive and enjoyable for everyone. Through this initiative, we are not just expanding equipment offerings but also enhancing our informational resources to guide visitors seamlessly through our diverse outdoor attractions, ensuring a memorable and accessible experience for all", said Chamber Executive Director, Josh Taylor.

“Visitors come to Virginia for its wealth of outdoor recreation experiences that millions of people every year,’ said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “The DRIVE Outdoor program will help these communities develop new projects that will attract new and returning visitors wanting an authentic outdoor recreation experience.”  

The Alleghany Highlands is approximately 50% national forests lands providing a number of wonderful outdoor recreational experiences. The region is home to hundreds of miles of trails for hiking & biking, including some of the finest mountain biking trails in Virginia at Douthat State Park. Two easily accessible rivers and lakes form the Alleghany Highlands Blueway, including the Jackson River, a Blue Ribbon Trout Fishery. Numerous launch points for kayaks, canoes and tubes can be found along each body of water in the region, including 43 miles of undeveloped shoreline at Lake Moomaw. The Jackson River Scenic Trail is easily accessed at four public access points along the nearly 16-mile route, offering gorgeous views of the river, farmland and nearby mountains. Whether you're seeking a peaceful retreat or an adrenaline-pumping escape, the Alleghany Highlands promises unforgettable experience that celebrates the outdoors.

Outdoor recreation has proven to be a recession-proof industry and a driving force in the American economy. In 2022, outdoor recreation contributed $11.3 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy and supported 125,000 jobs and $5.6 billion in wages and salaries in Virginia according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

For more information or to explore more outdoor offerings in the Alleghany Highlands, visit visitalleghanyhighlands.com. To learn more about VTC’s DRIVE Tourism program, please visit vatc.org/.

About Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

The Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism is a destination marketing organization representing the Alleghany Highlands and a non-profit chamber of commerce that is a resource for local businesses in the community. The organization promotes the region through brochure placement, digital and print advertising, outdoor events, tourism video production and much more. Projects are funded by the Alleghany Foundation, Virginia Tourism Corporation and other grant opportunities available to non-profits.

About Virginia Tourism Corporation
Virginia is for Lovers is one of the most iconic and recognizable travel brands in the world. Using that powerful brand equity, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) is charged with promoting the Commonwealth as a premier travel destination by showcasing all there is to love in a Virginia vacation. The dollars spent by travelers fuel the economy, provide jobs for Virginians, and improve communities across the state. Simply put, tourism helps make Virginia a great place to live, work, and vacation. Learn more at virginia.org.


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