ATTN Podcast: Trail Stories Worth Attention

This podcast explores themes that identify the Appalachian Trail (AT) as a form of economic development. The AT not only fuels the desires of those who tackle the trek, but it feeds the rural economies found throughout the 2,000+ mile corridor.

The Appalachian Trail Tennessee Podcast (ATTN Podcast) was created by the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership to showcase stories about people and places along the section of the Appalachian Trail that traverses the eastern most part of the state.

Production took place May-June 2018 in small and rural Tennessee mountain towns Erwin, Roan Mountain and Shady Valley. Current northbound thru-hikers, local business owners as well as city and county officials were all interviewed about why they value the AT.

Butters and Too Sweet, thru-hikers from Birmingham, Ala., had this to say when they were found wandering the streets of downtown Erwin during the Great Outdoors Festival in May 2018. “The Appalachian Trail provides a lot of unique experiences like getting to spend every day together, which you usually wouldn’t be able to do,” said Too Sweet. “We love the sense of freedom that the Appalachian Trail gives us.”

Steel Rails Coffeehouse owner Ben McNabb expressed his gratitude for the trail broadening his customer base. “We want Erwin to become a trail town,” he said. “The revitalization of downtown has made a positive impact because we are now seeing more hikers step off the trail and spend more time here.”

Carter County Commissioner Mike Hill praised the trail for inspiring entrepreneurs like David Magee, owner of Doe River Hiker Rest and The Station at 19E, to invest in his district. “Small business is going to be the salvation of ,” Hill said. “We are all about helping hikers find accommodation and showing a little kindness.”

Tim “Mountain Squid” Stuart, a member of the Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club, leaves listeners with a yearning to become a steward of the trail. “We give hikers the chance to learn how much work goes into making a trail,” he said. “Outreach is key. It lets people know what opportunities are out there for them to give back to something they love.”

The podcast can be downloaded from Podomatic, but can also be found on the NETREP website. Please also take time to follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts as well. Thank you for your support in advance. If you have questions, comments or would like to share your story with us, please email us at [email protected].

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