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Recreation Infrastructure

Developing and enhancing West Virginia's outdoor recreation assets for all.

The Mountain State boasts a brilliant canvas in which extensive asset mapping has shown that its outdoor recreation opportunities are valuable, rare and cannot be imitated.

West Virginia’s rugged topography creates a great backdrop for high-octane adventures and advanced skillsets. Through innovative and sustainable trail building techniques, the Smith OEDC will build new and enhance existing assets to provide access to the outdoors. A focus on outdoor recreation infrastructure development in West Virginia will:

  • lower the barrier to entry for all ability levels to find and enjoy places to recreate,
  • increase health and wellness for our communities, and
  • provide economic opportunities through new business and tourism.
High quality beginner and intermediate mountain biking and hiking trails, easy-to-find destinations for climbing, and access to put-ins and take-outs for paddling will allow for West Virginia to be competitive with other outdoor destination states.

Image Credit: West Virginia Department of Tourism

Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative

Rich Edwards

Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Coordinator

Rich Edwards is the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Coordinator for the Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative. Before joining the team, Rich worked for 21 years at the International Mountain Biking Association as the IMBA Trail Solutions Director of Community Engagement and Education. Rich has gained quite the reputation in the trail building community and is known for the care and effort he places into design, with special attention to sustainability and working with the land, not against it. Rich has gathered this knowledge across time and space, traveling over 33 U.S. states and eight countries to build his understanding of trail building, mountain biking land management, and techniques. He’s brought this knowledge, experience, and creativity with him as he seeks to reimagine trails in West Virginia that will shape our communities for years to come.

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