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Who we are

Through alliances between West Virginia University, educators, state and local leaders, and outdoor enthusiasts, we will redefine our state and enhance the quality of life for West Virginians.

Our Goals

  1. Stimulate and Improve Economic Opportunity

    Grow the population through talent attraction and retention programs by building strong community ties and showcasing the state's unparalleled quality of life. At the same time, support the recruitment and development of local businesses and outdoor recreation entrepreneurs while ensuring these enterprises have the skilled workforce needed to start and expand.

  2. Inspire, Educate, and Develop West Virginia's Youth

    Provide the steppingstones for West Virginia's next generation of innovators, educators, and outdoor enthusiasts through programs linking outdoor education, recreation, youth development, and science. The Science Adventure School and Science Behind the Sport empowers West Virginia’s youth through experiential learning and positive youth development.

  3. Redefine West Virginia & Enhance Quality of Life

    Through outdoor recreation asset and community development, the Smith OEDC will empower communities to leverage their outdoor resources by providing organizational support and expertise through local leaders and organizations. Utilizing the Mountain State's natural canvas, enhancement of these assets will increase access to the outdoors by welcoming all ability levels.

The mission of the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative is to utilize West Virginia’s outdoor assets to ignite the state’s economy and enhance quality of life for West Virginians through outdoor recreation.

We envision West Virginia’s vibrant communities filled with a diverse workforce that enjoys both the outdoors and an innovative state, with a wide range of opportunities that enable the population to stay and thrive. 

To achieve this, the Smith OEDC will create awareness of the state’s unique wealth of beautiful outdoor spaces, where citizens and visitors alike can recreate. The Smith OEDC will create more outdoor recreational access for all ability levels and better infrastructure for mountain biking, hiking, climbing, and water areas, along with other outdoor recreation projects. Additionally, the Smith OEDC will develop incentives for businesses and entrepreneurs to move to and remain in the Mountain State.

Our vision cannot be complete without engaging our most valuable asset, our youth. The Smith OEDC offers invaluable learning experiences to elementary, middle, and high school students through the Science Adventure School and Science Behind the Sport. These programs are dedicated to empowering and educating West Virginia’s youth through linking outdoor education, recreation and science. Sparking both a love of learning and being outside, the Smith OEDC provides steppingstones for the next generation of innovators, educators, and outdoor enthusiasts.

By building alliances between West Virginia University, educators, state, and local governments, the outdoor industry, and outdoor enthusiasts, we will redefine our state and enhance the quality of life for West Virginians.

Reshaping the state is an undertaking only achievable by bringing together as many community partners as possible. If you or your organization are invested in seeing West Virginia reach its potential, we want to include your voice in our public discussions held around the state.

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