UNC-TV to hold ncIMPACT town hall on outdoors, economy June 19

Anita Brown-Graham (left) of the University of North Carolina School of Government faculty moderates a ncIMPACT town hall held recently at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She also will be serving as moderator for a town hall event set for Wednesday, June 19, at WCU.

Western Carolina University is collaborating with the University of North Carolina School of Government and UNC-TV to host a regional town hall Wednesday, June 19, examining the impact of the outdoors and natural resources on economic development in Western North Carolina.

The hourlong town hall, titled “Navigating the Outdoor Economy in Southwestern North Carolina,” will be recorded for statewide broadcast later in June on UNC-TV. It will begin at 11 a.m. in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center on the WCU campus.

The event is part of the ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government, which focuses on local civic innovations and efforts to improve the lives of North Carolinians by supporting leaders as they work to find solutions to complex policy issues. Anita Brown-Graham, a faculty member in the UNC School of Government, serves as moderator for the UNC-TV series.

Scheduled panelists are Jeremy Hyatt, secretary of operations for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Barry Jones, public services staff officer for the U.S. Forest Service; Lisa Leatherman, Nantahala area district manager for Duke Energy; Cory McCall, co-owner of Outdoor 76 outfitters; Sarah Thompson, executive director of the Southwestern Commission; and Arthur Salido, executive director of community and economic engagement and innovation at WCU. They will discuss the economic impact of outdoor recreation, stewardship of natural resources and strategies to stimulate the outdoor economy.

“The ncIMPACT town hall is a logical follow-up to our inaugural Outdoor Economy Conference held on campus last fall, which brought together about 250 representatives from the outdoor recreation industry to discuss ways to work collaboratively for the good of the entire region,” Salido said. “As the reigning champion in Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine’s ‘top adventure college’ contest, it makes sense for WCU to continue to serve in the role of convener as we try to grow our already thriving outdoor recreation industry.”

UNC-TV also is producing short video presentations highlighting stories from the region that illustrate the challenges and innovations of how regional partners are leveraging outdoor recreation to stimulate economic development in WNC.

To register for the town hall, contact Toogie Hampton of the UNC School of Government at 919-843-6518 or thampton@sog.unc.edu by Friday, June 14.

The WCU town hall will air beginning June 27 on UNC-TV, the North Carolina Channel and various online and social media outlets.

For more information, visit the websites https://www.unctv.org/watch/unctv-originals/ncimpact/ and ncIMPACT.org.