Sylva, NC (May 23, 2016)- The popular travel site Expedia.com has ranked the country’s top 10 Cleanest cities, and Sylva, North Carolina in Jackson County ranked number four on the list. Expedia’s criteria was based on thousands of verified user-generated reviews, determining 10 destinations on both ends of the tidiness spectrum.
“Sylva earned a 4.68 average rating. While the city promotes year-round green initiatives, it also hosts the annual Greening Up the Mountains Spring Festival, an Earth Day celebration focused on the community’s sustainable and environmental initiatives. This event includes environmental group presentations promoting tips for green living, in addition to concerts, crafts, and activities.”-Expedia.com
Sylva’s Town Manager Paige Dowling said, “Being named one of the ten cleanest cities in the nation is so exciting for Sylva! We live in a beautiful place and it speaks to our community pride that we value it and keep it clean.
”The Greening Up the Mountains Spring Festival is the city’s celebration of renewal and revitalization. More than 10,000 people attended this year’s 19th annual festival.
Jackson County advocates Leave No Trace principles that teach both locals and visitors to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, cleaning or “packing out” as you go about your daily routine. This is most vital at outdoor destinations such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Panthertown Valley, Pinnacle Park, and other hiking trails in the county.
In addition to Greening Up the Mountains, Jackson County hosts the nation’s largest single-day river clean-up, the Tuckasegee River Clean-Up. More than 1,000 volunteers paddle in rafts or walk along the banks to clean up 27 miles of river. The event was originally organized by students and staff of the Western Carolina University’s Base Camp Cullowhee, who recognized the need to clean up the river. The community helps beautify this natural area so that tourists may enjoy a litter-free environment.
As one of the major tourism attractions for Jackson County, the “Tuck” draws trout fisherman to fly fish on the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail. The first and only flyfishing trail in the United States, the trail boasts some 4,600 miles of pristine, fishable waters. The Watershed Association of the Tuckaseegee River also plays a key role- testing water samples and maintaining habitats on the river.
For the region’s burgeoning craftsman, Jackson County’s Green Energy Park, located in the neighboring town of Dillsboro, utilizes clean, renewable energy resources by capturing methane gas from Dillsboro’s old landfill to use as fuel for many of the city’s crafts: blacksmith forges, metal foundry, glassblowing studios, greenhouses, and pottery kilns.
“Sylva is getting well-deserved national attention for it’s beautiful, clean and tourist-friendly townscape,” said Nick Breedlove, Jackson County’s Tourism Director. Businesses in town pride themselves in leading the change in becoming green-friendly with some adopting solar energy to reduce their carbon footprint. Sylva’s dedication to providing its residents and tourists with a clean, eco-friendly experience plays a large role in driving repeat visits. I’m proud of our merchants, business community, volunteers, citizens and others involved who made this recognition possible.”
Keeping Sylva green aligns with its tourism goals. Green Money Journal states “One of the biggest issues with providing ecologically-sound tourism will be the management of landscapes and regions where tourism has taken off. There is a new type of ecotourism that is developing around the world; urban ecotourism, that encourages visitors to explore a city’s culture and heritage and aims to minimize the impact of tourism on the city’s environment.”
Sylva’s sustainability initiatives contributed to Sylva’s rating as one of the Cleanest Cities in America. The spirit of Jackson County’s commitment to balance people, products and planet by focusing on natural resources for local visitor enjoyment.