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Appalachian States Are “On the Map” for Tourists

March 20, 2008

Charlestown, WV – Just in time for spring and summer travel plans, West Virginia is "on the map" for tourists -- literally. A National Geographic map released today highlights states in the Appalachian region. It is expected to boost tourism and introduce travelers to the area's rich history and heritage.

Anne Pope with the Appalachian Regional Commission says tourism already creates a number of jobs throughout the region, and the added recognition from National Geographic is a proven way to bring in more tourist dollars.

"Given that the Appalachian region has such a unique culture and heritage as well as its natural beauty, we think that this project and others like it can help create jobs in our region."

Jill Kriesky with Wheeling Jesuit University's Appalachian Institute says the region has been a central part of American culture, from the Native Americans who first lived in the area to its contributions to American religion and popular music.

"Even our industrial heritage, the coal production and steel production, all really had their foundations in this part of the country. So, there's a lot we can connect with in Appalachia, and I think the more people who are interested in looking at that, the more popular the region becomes."

In West Virginia, the map includes driving tours of the Coal Heritage Trail and historic Lewisburg, as well as natural areas like the New River Gorge.

Rob Ferrett/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - WV