February 15, 2012 — Local citizens and government representatives are invited to attend a Clinch River Regional Summit on Feb. 29, from 1 to 5 p.m., at the Oxbow Center in St. Paul. The summit, with a focus on engaging communities and towns in the Clinch River Valley, will include presentations on business and outdoor recreational potentials, downtown revitalization, entrepreneurship, water quality and environmental education opportunities that highlight the distinctive culture and environment of the Clinch River region.
At a forum in fall 2010, about 60 participants from a wide range of organizations and interest groups – including the Virginia Department of Forestry, the University of Virginia's College at Wise, economic developers, concerned citizens, environmental groups and various state agencies – initiated "the Clinch River Valley Initiative" to build Southwest Virginia economies with a focus on outdoor recreation and downtown revitalization.
U.Va.'s Institute for Environmental Negotiation, is coordinating the initiative, working with local, regional and state partners in the collaborative multi-year planning effort to create economic development opportunities as well as preserve, protect and promote the Clinch River. That effort focuses on the Clinch River Valley's unique and rich bio-diversity.
Utilizing a consensus-based approach, project partners created the Clinch River Valley Initiative to articulate and prioritize goals for connecting downtown revitalization, outdoor recreation, entrepreneurship and environmental education along the Clinch River, and develop an action plan to realize those goals. The effort builds upon the unique cultural and ecological assets of the Clinch River to distinguish and create new possibilities in the communities along the river as distinctive cultural and ecological areas, particularly possibilities centered on environmental education and opportunities for entrepreneurship.
Action teams have been formed to work on strategies for education, environment, state parks, river access and downtown revitalization. Information on these action teams will be provided during the summit.
For information on the Clinch River initiative, click here.