To encourage quality growth in Western North Carolina, a regional assessment is required for sufficient management of our many attractive features: our infrastructure, residential and commercial development, food production, energy production, and recreational areas. Balancing these demands of land use is a difficult challenge, but one that must be met in order to sustain the quality of life we enjoy in the communities we call home.
This Western North Carolina Vitality Index, funded by the Mountain Resources Commission in partnership with the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and the USDA Forest Service, reports on the vitality of 27 counties in Western North Carolina through the perspectives of their natural, social, built, and economic environments.
The effort is made to allow planners and decision makers the information necessary to inspire quality discussion and craft informed decisions on issues affecting Western North Carolina’s abundant natural resources and its potential for sustainable growth. The 27 counties of this report include six Councils of Government: the High Country Council, three counties of the Western Piedmont Council, the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission, the Land-of-Sky Regional Council, the Southwestern Commission, and two counties of the Piedmont Triad Regional Council.
The Mountain Resources Commission was established during the 2009 North Carolina General Assembly legislative session to encourage healthy and equitable development while preserving the natural resources, open spaces, and farmland of the mountain region of Western North Carolina. The Commission is entrusted to provide recommendations to local, state, and federal legislative and administrative bodies for the protection of these natural resources.
The mission of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership is to protect, preserve, interpret, and develop the unique natural, historical, and cultural resources of Western North Carolina for the benefit of present and future generations, and in so doing to sustain the heritage and stimulate improved economic opportunity in the region.
Established in 1905, the USDA Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that manages over 193 million acres of public lands in national forests and grasslands.