To Explore

Recreation & Attractions

The area surrounding the Cumberland Byway abounds with recreational lakes, scenic and whitewater rivers, impressive canyons, waterfalls, natural bridges, caves, cliffs for rock climbers, and beautiful forested mountains and valleys. These scenic natural resources – mainly geologic features – draw many tourists to our area. The region has state parks and wildlife preserves, resorts and bed-and-breakfast inns, and many historic and attractive small communities (and communities that could be attractive if an effort were made to make them so). The scenic natural resources of the region can contribute much more than they already do to our regional economy, but only if we properly promote our existing facilities at developed attractions. This is the purpose of the Cumberland Byway and why it makes sense for this region. The same scenic resources that draw tourists to our region also make the region highly attractive to retirees as permanent residents, which can bring a significant investment into the local economy. Development, consisting of resource extraction, road building, housing subdivisions, or whatever, needs to be done in the context of what is good for the region as a whole.

Future development patterns should meld resource extraction with development of intrinsic qualities of the Byway. The preservation of our scenic natural resources for the enjoyment of the people of our region, as well as for the region’s economy, needs to take a high priority in private and public planning; business and political leaders of the region have to work together to avoid incompatible land uses.

What is the outlook for the future role of natural resources in the economy of the region? Can the region’s economy take advantage of our natural resources in some manner other than by extractive industries? Yes, indeed, we can. Our soils are still productive. Our mountains still grow fine timber. And the geologic scenery of the region is spectacularly attractive … where it has not been marred by extractive industries or poorly planned development.

Traditional ways are being augmented and altered by new approaches, but the region maintains its fundamental cultural identity, which is its strongest selling point and one that should be preserved and strengthened in order for the region to grow into the future. The Cumberland Byway seeks to tie the best of all of the historic, scenic, recreational, cultural, archaeological, and natural resources into a single narrative and voice.