Southeast Tennessee’s Bledsoe and Grundy counties targeted by an economic initiative

 Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Southeast Tennessee’s Bledsoe and Grundy counties are among nine in the state to be targeted by an economic initiative for boosting tourism using state-owned lands.

Distressed counties are those that rank among the 10% most economically challenged counties in the US, according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Besides Bledsoe and Grundy, Tennessee has seven other troubled counties: Lake, Lauderdale, Perry, Clay, Scott, Hancock and Cocke counties.State lands exist in all of them.

The program will take advantage ofthe attraction of state parks, state natural areas, state forests and state wildlife management areas, which are rich in natural resources and can attract visitors to local communities, according to TDEC spokesperson Kim Schofinski.

Outdoor recreation makes up almost $9 billion of Tennessee’sgross domestic product, accounting for more than 100,000 jobs, Schofinskisaid.

County mayors in the two counties — members of the task force comprising top officials and stakeholders who will help direct the project by providing information on key areas — hope that the initiative will helpattract more out-of-town visitors and their money.

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