On October 26-28th, the Town of Pembroke and Giles County  ‘hosted’ a virtual workshop as part of the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) program. Through RERC assistance, a planning team appointed by EPA and its federal counterparts will help partner communities create an action plan to grow the local outdoor recreation economy in ways that promote sustainable resource management and environmentally friendly community development. Recreation Economy for Rural Communities is sponsored by the USDA-Forest Service, the Northern Border Regional Commission, and EPA.

The NRVRC and Giles County applied for the program in 2019, and is one of only ten communities selected to participate in the program out of more than 120 applicants nationwide. The selected communities are planning to revitalize their communities in a variety of ways, including building new trail connections, boosting downtown amenities, connecting nearby hiking-biking trails to downtown, and working to attract recreation-related economic opportunities. Giles County will focus on working with the USDA Forest Service to manage and use Cascades Falls and other natural assets to attract residents and visitors to downtown Pembroke and other communities.

The planning process takes place over four to six months, with a two-day facilitated community workshop as the focal point. The workshop had been scheduled for late March 2020, but was postponed during the early part of the pandemic and has been adapted to an online format with several workshop sessions from October 26th to 28th . Participants will work together to identify a vision, goals, and specific actions to realize the locally set goals. After the workshop, the consultant team will work with local partners to finalize an ‘action plan’ to advance the goals and projects identified during the workshops.

For more information on the Giles County RERC process, please contact Patrick O’Brien: pobrien@nrvrc.org, 540-639-9313 x206