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The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority dedicates itself to keeping Jackson County a clean, sustainable, and vibrant destination and community for visitors and residents.

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority dedicates itself to keeping Jackson County a clean, sustainable, and vibrant destination and community for visitors and residents. To maintain these efforts, the JCTDA participates in and sponsors various environmental initiatives ranging from promoting Leave No Trace Principles® on its publications to sponsoring the largest single-day river cleanup event, the Tuck River Cleanup. Throughout the year, the JCTDA participates in the below efforts:


Tuck River Cleanup:

The JCTDA sponsors the largest single-day river cleanup in the country, the Tuck River Cleanup. The Tuckasegee River stretches over 50 miles, flowing the length of our county and is a favorite for fly fishing, kayaking, swimming and more. This event, organized by Western Carolina University, gathers hundreds of volunteers uniting for one purpose – to keep one of the area’s most precious resources clean.


Trout Unlimited:

Trout Unlimited LogoThe Jackson County TDA contributes annually to local Chapter 373 of Trout Unlimited As part of our sustainable tourism efforts. Their work helps preserve and protect one of our greatest natural assets – our waterways. We remain appreciative of all our local chapter does. Funds provided by the JCTDA are earmarked for stewardship programs, to help organize cleanups, or in other projects that prioritize keeping our waterways pristine for future generations to enjoy.


Panthertown Valley:

In sponsorships, the JCTDA contributes annually to Friends of Panthertown, who works to maintain over 30 miles of trails in the 6,400-acre Nantahala National Forest backcountry hiking area known as ‘Panthertown Valley. Their efforts encourage environmental stewardship, volunteerism, and create public awareness of issues concerning Panthertown. Each year, the JCTDA volunteers financial resources to their invaluable efforts to keep the “Yosemite of the East” a pristine place to visit.


Pinnacle Park:

The JCTDA donates annually to the Pinnacle Park Foundation, which maintains one of the areas most celebrated trails. The 1,088-acre town park, home to ‘The Pinnacle,’ features streams, waterfalls, and panoramic views. The park is a favorite among visitors and residents and is part of the JCTDA’s sustainable mission.


Keep our Mountains Clean and Green:

The JCTDA is a partner with Jackson County Public Works campaign to keep our scenic area clean and free of litter. The campaign supports the semi-annual ‘Cleaning Up the Mountains’ program. As a result of these efforts, an estimated 4,000 pounds of trash is collected every year by our caring community. 


Leave No Trace®:

The JCTDA is committed to promoting the seven principles of Leave No Trace® to ensure our scenic outdoors are here for generations to come. The JCTDA’s website listings for all its waterfalls and hiking trails along with its printed maps such as the Waterfall and Hiking Map, proudly display the Leave No Trace® logo and/or messaging.

The seven Leave No Trace® principles are:

      • Plan ahead and prepare.
      • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
      • Dispose of waste properly.
      • Leave what you find.
      • Minimize campfire impacts.
      • Respect wildlife.
      • Be considerate of other visitors.


Fly Fishing Trail Pledge:

The WNC Fly Fishing Trail® was designed to help everyone enjoy an unparalleled fly-fishing experience in the NC Trout Capital®. Users of the trail are greeted with the Sportsman’s Pledge on every fly-fishing map we distribute: “As a true sportsman, I pledge to never litter and to avoid trespassing on private lands. I will respect the rights of property owners, and always leave the streams in better conditions than I found them.”


Combating Overtourism:

Research conducted by the JCTDA showed that some months of the year are at peak capacity with occupancy, which makes the experience not as enjoyable with increased traffic, long waits and more people utilizing the same trail. As part of its new strategic plan, the JCTDA will shift marketing focus away from heavy-capacity months to promote and spread visitation year-round. This effort enhances and improves both the visitor and resident experience.

Green Travel NC:

The JCTDA spearheaded a campaign among its local businesses to recognize partners who practice ‘green’ principles. In partnership with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, these restaurants and lodging partners received statewide recognition for their practices. As part of the application, they also learned of other best practices.


Did you know?

  • Sylva was named one of the “Top 10 Cleanest Cities in the U.S.” by Expedia, earning a 4.68 out of 5 rating due to its year-round green initiatives, as well as the Greening Up the Mountains Festival, which celebrates Earth Day and the community’s environmental efforts.
  • #TrashTag: Steven Reinhold, the founder of the viral movement known as #TrashTag, proudly calls Jackson County Home. This concerned mountain lover began collecting litter on a road trip to California when he came up with the TrashTag; he describes it as a way to track cleaning up litter. Several local groups participate in International #TrashTag Day by picking up litter in Jackson County.
  • Jackson County Green Energy Park: The JCGEP is the only renewable landfill methane gas-powered arts studio in the world. Located in Dillsboro, NC, it utilizes clean, renewable energy resources to encourage economic development, provide environmental protection, and offer educational opportunities to help promote a more sustainable future for Western North Carolina. Stop by the Green Energy Park for a tour of working studios to see how Jackson County is leading the charge in sustainability. 
  • Only recycled please: Why use plastic bags when you could use recycled paper? That is what we were wondering too. If you’re picking up brochures or purchasing an item from one of our visitor centers, you will be greeted with a Kraft paper bag that is made of 100-percent post-consumer recycled content. Less plastic means a cleaner environment. 
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