Appalachian Gateway Communities Regional Workshops



The following regional workshops are offered in partnership by the Appalachian Regional Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, The Conservation Fund, and National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Southern Regional Gateway Community Workshop 

January 14-16, 2014 at The Heartwood Center in Abingdon, Virginia

Northern Regional Gateway Community Workshop

 February 10-12, 2014 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Community Leaders and Citizens:
  • Do you live in a community that borders a national or state park, wildlife refuge, forest or other public land?
  • Is your community located in a county deemed “at-risk”, “distressed”, or “transitional” by the Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Are you seeking viable mechanisms to jump-start economic growth in your community, especially through the arts?
  • Is your community concerned about losing its unique character and special places?
  • Does your community want a better relationship with the managers of a neighboring public land?
Public Land Managers:
  • Are you interested in improving communications and partnerships with nearby communities?
  • Are you feeling the pressures of reduced budgets and changes in visitor patterns?
  • Are you interested in opportunities for improved resource management by addressing adjacent land issues in your surrounding community?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then consider putting together a community team and attending a workshop near you!

Download Workshop Information and Team Application Package

Application Deadline: December 6, 2013

 The tuition fee is $500/team.

 Limited travel assistance is available.

 *NOTE: After the deadline, accepted teams will be provided instructions to register!

These events are intensive three-day action-planning workshops focused on the specific trends and opportunities in Appalachian gateway communities related to sustainable drivers for economic development, cultural heritage and natural resource tourism, public arts promotion, and preservation and stewardship of community character. The two workshops will follow a similar program. Participating teams may attend either workshop, regardless of location, but it is recommended that teams attend the workshop closest to their location.

Participants will attend a workshop in teams of 4-7 community members comprised of public land managers, elected officials, local business representatives/tourism councils, civic leaders, and others in public service roles. The team make-up should reflect a cross-section of the community, and while having an elected official involved is recommended, there are instances in which an acknowledged (but not elected) community leader (e.g., a community member active in many organizations and/or influential with key leaders) may make the most sense. Each team must have one public land manager and one community arts representative. Teams with a diversity of participants will be given higher preference during the review of applications.

These workshops incorporate an action planning element that invites community teams to discuss specific issues or opportunities in their own community to capitalize sustainably on their natural resources and cultural heritage and the arts. At the end of the workshop, teams will leave with a specific action plan for implementing a collaborative project when they return home. Workshops will be led by experts from The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Heritage Tourism Program and involve national and regional speakers. 


Southern Regional Workshop:

Lodging is available at the nearby Abingdon Comfort Suites for $88/night and Abingdon Comfort Inn for $79/night. Breakfast is included. The hotels are adjacent to one another, and both offer single and double rooms with King and Queen beds. Phone 276-698-3040 for the Comfort Suites or 276-676-2222 or the Comfort Inn; Room block is under “Gateway Communities”.

Northern Regional Workshop:

Lodging is available on the National Conservation Training Center campus for $144/person. Discounted rates for double occupancy available as space allows. Teams will be provided with reservation instructions once accepted.


For questions about the workshops or to discuss forming a team, please contact Katie Allen (304-876-7925 /