The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network (CLN) was invited to the county to build awareness for these unique assets among stakeholders through our Balancing Nature and Commerce workshop model. The community is striving to build economic resiliency by diversifying its economy and creating and sustaining jobs that ensure a high quality of life. By working with the community, CLN assisted in bringing those first steps towards that goal a reality by developing a forum for community stakeholders to develop a road map for the future. 

In March 2014, the Conservation Leadership Network (CLN) led a group of over 80 community stakeholders through a three-day Balancing Nature and Commerce workshop to build capacity among community leaders and decision-makers to implement projects to strengthen partnerships, protect community character, and improve overall quality of life for the residents of Transylvania County, North Carolina.

With regional tailoring, this program assists the community in forming action plans to capitalize on their unique assets to protect their identity as a rural gateway community, attract and diversify business opportunities and ensure a high quality of life. Transylvania County is working towards economic resiliency in the future as they thrive, not just survive for generations to come. Here are a few of the steps they will be taking to get there:

Developing Best Practices Design Guidelines–An action plan was developed for the creation of a voluntary, best practices design guideline program that will encourage development investments in the county to complement the community character and respect of the surrounding natural environment. 

Development of a Hospitality Training–An action plan was developed to create a half-day hospitality training for service industry employees in the county to improve hospitality practices and provide better information and services to customers and visitors.

Becoming the First City in Western North Carolina to have Free Wi-Fi on Main Street–Working with the local internet service provider, an action plan for the implementation of free wireless internet access on Main Street, Brevard was fully scoped out for implementation by Labor Day.