ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin to Moderate Aug. 31 Panel

Lewisburg, W.Va. (August 25, 2022) –   Multi-state collaboration across Appalachia’s outdoor economy industry will be the focus of a 3 p.m. August 31 panel at the annual Business Summit hosted at The Greenbrier by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.


The Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin will moderate the panel, which will bring together national and local leaders, as well as experts from across the region’s outdoor industries. The travel and tourism industry in Appalachia is among the region’s fastest-growing employment sectors, generating more than $4.5 billion in local tax revenue and employing more than 570,000 Appalachians.


Manchin will also offer insight on ARC’s new Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) funding opportunity, which makes available $73.5 million to drive large-scale, regional economic transformation through multi-state collaborative projects across Appalachia.


Jina Belcher, Executive Director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, is one of the event’s featured panelists and will share West Virginia’s efforts to lead the Outdoor Recreation Industry and Vibrant Economies Strategies (Outdoor RIVERS), a project that works to enhance the assets within the Central Appalachian region’s most rural and coal-impacted communities. The Outdoor RIVERS project recently received a $250,000 planning grant from ARC and served as a model for ARISE. In partnership with the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative at West Virginia University, NRGRDA serves as the project’s strategic lead.


Photos courtesy of ARC and NRGRDA.