Pendleton County looks to boost tourism

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 10:32 PM EDT
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FRANKLIN, Wv. (WHSV) - Pendleton County is getting a rebrand.

The County’s Economic Development Authority is launching a campaign to boost tourism in the area by attracting more rock climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The campaign called ‘Pendleton Rocks’ is focused on highlighting the county’s unique rock formations and climbing opportunities like the famous Seneca Rocks.

“What it’s gonna do for the county is it’s going to set us apart. Some of our local assets are already well known in the world of West Virginia. We have the highest point in the state, Spruce Knob, and we have iconic Seneca Rocks, but what we’re trying to do connects our county as a whole,” said Laura Brown, director of the Pendleton County Economic Development Authority.

Pendleton County has seen a nearly 50% increase in its hotel-motel tax which funds tourism in the county, so organizations like the EDA, Convention and Visitors Bureau and Pendleton County Schools have worked with the county commission to find ways to bring more people to the county.

“Within Pendleton County, we wanted something that sets us apart, so what sets us apart is our rock climbing and we really see that taking off. We want to be the climbing Mecca of the United States or at least the east coast,” said Ciara Lambert, executive director of the Pendleton County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The county’s EDA is also working to help pass legislation that would allow for more rock climbing on private land, expanding the opportunities for climbers visiting the county.

“It’ll take the liability off of private landowners in our county if they choose to allow visitors to their site. So there are a lot of public rock climbing opportunities but some of our best assets are owned by private companies. So that legislation will basically take away the liability for climbing,” said Brown.

Ciara Lambert said that Convention and Visitors Bureau also has plans to host a music festival, and a beverage trail highlighting local businesses. Pendleton County organizations are also working to create more biking and recreation trails across the county.

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