CULLOWHEE – Students studying tourism and hospitality management at Western Carolina University are gathering historical information that could lead to the creation of a Heritage Walk for the nearby Jackson County town of Dillsboro.
Working with Bonnie Martin, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism at Western, students in “Tourism Planning and Development” courses are researching information and historical people, sites and events in Dillsboro. This spring marks the second consecutive year students in the class have worked on the project, Martin said.
“After compiling interesting facts about the town, the students then go to Dillsboro for a practice Heritage Walk,” she said. “They make a loop through the town, stopping at each historic site on the schedule they’ve developed and presenting information to tourists.”
Town Clerk Herb Nolan and former Vice Mayor Reg Moody accompany the students during the Heritage Walks, adding their own tales of interesting people and places to the heritage tourism experience, Martin said.
Dillsboro officials say they hope to create a true Heritage Walk in the future, using research done by the Western students to develop the plan.