boat landing on New River with people in canoes
Mar 16 2020

POSTPONED Recreation Economy for Rural Communities in Giles County and Pembroke, VA | Workshop Invitation

Due to the developing situation and fact that many of our state and federal partners and their agencies now have travel restrictions through the end of the month, we have found it prudent to postpone our Recreation Economy for Rural Communities workshops, scheduled for March 25-27. We very much look forward to hosting this workshop series and working with local, state, and federal agencies at a future date. When that information becomes available we will be in touch. Thank you for your understanding as we are adapting to the situation as it progresses.


For additional information, you may visit the CDC website:

Workshop Invitation: Recreation Economy for Rural Communities in Giles County and Pembroke, VA


Do we have what it takes to make Giles thrive? We need your voice and ideas!

detailed information with picture of the Cascades

Giles County is one of ten communities in the nation selected as part of the new Recreation Economy for Rural Communities planning assistance program, and we’re hosting a community workshop focused on growing the outdoor recreation economy, revitalizing our downtowns, creating opportunities for physical activity and health, and stewarding the region’s natural resources.


The Recreation Economy for Rural Communities program, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the USDA Forest Service, and the Northern Border Regional Commission, is helping Giles County and the Town of Pembroke develop an action plan to revitalize its community through outdoor recreation.


A planning assistance team, which will include federal and state agency partners as well as experienced facilitators, will join local stakeholders for a community meeting and action planning work sessions in Giles on March 25-27, 2020.  Your knowledge of the local area and ideas for the future are needed to make this event a success!


Among other topics, we will be focusing on these goals, which were developed by the local Steering Committee:

  1. Improve access and infrastructure. Better publicize and manage recreation access and infrastructure, especially trails connecting to towns, highlighting less used sites, and improving existing infrastructure (parking, boat ramps, Cascades access).
  2. Improve mobility and safety. Improve transportation options and traffic flow conditions, focusing on quality of the experience, walkability, and safety.
  3. Enhance the visitor experience and choices to stay longer, do more. Better connect current visitors to existing downtown amenities and develop new related amenities, especially lodging but also other businesses.
  4. Strengthen partnerships and improve area-wide promotion. Coordinate area-wide marketing and promotion, and explore how to fund a County-wide ‘Downtown Coordinator’ to work on behalf of all Towns in Giles.


The workshop will include a community meeting the evening of Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and action planning work sessions all day Thursday, March 26 and the morning of Friday, March 27, 2020.


The community meeting will include brief presentations on main street revitalization and the outdoor recreation economy and will provide community residents an opportunity to share their visions and values related to creating a vibrant, walkable, and healthy Pembroke; enhancing access to the Cascades, New River Water Trail, and other recreational amenities; and strengthening economic opportunities for local residents and businesses.


The action planning work sessions will engage residents to identify strategies for achieving local goals and will form the foundation for a Community Action Plan that charts next steps local stakeholders can take.


Workshop details are provided below:


  • Walking Tour of Pembroke: Wed, March 25, 2-3:30 PM
  • Community Meeting: Wed, March 25, 6-8:30 PM (light refreshments provided); Pembroke Town Hall, 500 Snidow Street.
  • Action Planning Work Sessions: Thurs, March 26, 9 AM- noon & 1-5 PM, (lunch provided); Pembroke Fire Department, 103 Cascade Drive.
  • Explore Communities of Giles: Fri, March 27, 8:30 AM- 12 PM, Tour Narrows and walkable hike of Mill Creek Nature Park; 210 Main Street.
  • Please RSVP: Patrick O’Brien, New River Valley Regional Commission.
  • RSVP Site:


Your perspectives, experience, and enthusiasm for Giles County will make this workshop and the resulting action plan a success.  We look forward to seeing you there!


Thank you,


The Giles County Recreation Economy for Rural Communities Steering Committee


  • Patrick O’Brien, New River Valley Regional Commission
  • Kevin Byrd, Executive Director, New River Valley Regional Commission
  • Giles County: Chris McKlarney, County Administrator, John Ross, Missy Bray, Planning.
  • Cora Gnegy, Tourism and Marketing Director, Giles County
  • Mary Kay Carroway, Assistant Town Manager, Pembroke
  • Terry Nicholson, Narrows Resident
  • Terri Fisher, Narrows Resident
  • Elizabeth Shaver, Pembroke Resident
  • Susan Kidd, Director of Strategic Development, Narrows
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