Home Harrisonburg Tourism receives $20,000 grant to promote outdoor recreation

Harrisonburg Tourism receives $20,000 grant to promote outdoor recreation

harrisonburg hike run ride trail guide New state funding will likely draw more people to Harrisonburg to enjoy their next outdoor adventure.

Harrisonburg Tourism was awarded a $20,000 grant by Virginia Tourism Corporation to promote The Friendly City as the outdoor recreation capital of the Shenandoah Valley.

With cycling, outdoor recreation gear shops, craft breweries and restaurants in close proximity to numerous trails, Harrisonburg draws many outdoor enthusiasts to hike, bike and explore.

This grant will bring awareness to a broader audience, attracting new visitors and supporting Harrisonburg’s tourism businesses by letting even more people know that Downtown Harrisonburg is a great basecamp to use when enjoying their next outdoor adventure.

VTC has awarded Harrisonburg $130,000 in grants in the past four years, with approximately $70,000 being focused on outdoor recreation.

Tourists have increasingly looked since the pandemic for opportunities to hike, bike, run and relax outdoors, and Harrisonburg has proven to be a great option.

“Harrisonburg’s proximity to Shenandoah National Park, the Appalachian Trail and beautiful trails to the east and west is a considerable advantage,” Harrisonburg Tourism Manager Jennifer Bell said. “People flock to Harrisonburg as a basecamp with a plethora of lodging, dining and shopping options including gear shops in close proximity to amazing trails.”

The National Park Service reports that Shenandoah National Park had 1.6 million visitors in 2021 with an economic impact of $113 million in local gateway regions like Harrisonburg.

Tourism is an important economic component to the local Harrisonburg economy. Visitor spending in Harrisonburg reached $214 million in 2021 and generated almost $11 million in local tax dollars.

This grant will allow Harrisonburg to continue to advertise in local and national outdoor recreation publications including Blue Ridge Outdoors and Outside Magazine as well as to do a focused advertising campaign on Trip Advisor.

It will help highlight the new online trail guide featuring 15 local cycling, hiking and running trails.

Find the trail guide and more on local tourism at visitharrisonburgva.com/trails.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.