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TVA launches an ecotourism initiative in four north Alabama counties

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TENNESSEE VALLEY, Ala. (WHNT) — TVA is launching an ecotourism initiative in four north Alabama counties with a goal to build on efforts to draw visitors to those areas.

Supporting existing travel and tourism efforts while building on drawing more visitors to north Alabama – that’s what TVA’s goal is in launching an ecotourism initiative in Franklin, Colbert, DeKalb, and Jackson counties.  It’s a partnership between different players in those four areas, with TVA as one of the leaders. “So much is here in the community, that we want to be able to tell people about it,” TVA Senior Manager of Public Outreach & Recreation Bucky Edmondson says.

TVA is launching a comprehensive study. “Basically to determine the assets that we have here that we can promote,” Edmondson says. Then the idea is to make a strategic plan, involving other players like residents and local community stakeholders.

“Then from that strategic plan, decide how we’re going to market ecotourism – huge industry – here in north Alabama,” Edmondson says.

The four counties have destinations that are heavily traveled to each year, like DeKalb’s DeSoto State Park or Little River Canyon, so the idea is to market those assets to bring in even more visitors. That’s where tourism associations come in.

“The surveys that we will get back, it’s going to be able to help us to position ourselves on our visitors’ needs and we can help better promote the tourism industry in north Alabama,” Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association President Tami Reist says.

TVA is funding the study and Auburn University will conduct it.

Officials say ecotourism is a multi billion dollar industry in Alabama.

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