Associate Investigators: Dr. John McGee (Virginia Geospatial Extension), Dr. Cari Goetchus (Planning and Landscape Architecture, Clemson), Dr. William Norman (PRTM, Clemson),
Funding Source: This was a joint university project, between Virgina Tech and Clemson University, with Virginia Tech serving as the lead investigating institution and Clemson serving as a partner; Sponsor: National Park Service/Blue Ridge Parkway and Blue Ridge Heritage Inc. (initiated through Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units - CESU Network)
Project Description: This collaborative, interdisciplinary project was designed to assist the NPS/BLRI and BRHI in the joint development and planning of a sustainable tourism destination/centerpiece strategy for the Rocky Knob Heritage Project. The cooperative research effort actively involved key community stakeholders. This approach was a high priority, given the project history and importance to the future economic sustainability of Floyd and Patrick Counties. The project involved integration of GIS/geospatial analysis, landscape analysis and planning, stakeholder interviews, and tourist surveys to gather information necessary to identify the best strategies for the region. The project involved a multi-disciplinary team of experts and was integrated with graduate student training.
Objectives: 1) Define and inventory the Zone of Influence (ZOI) - asset/resource inventory and assessment, 2)Identify tourism needs - visitor surveys (current and potential), 3) Conduct gap analysis - integration and evaluation of data sources, 4) Make recommendations
July 2, 2009 press release "National study shows most travelers undeterred by economy"