North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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78 N o rt h C a r o l i N a E Co N o m i C D E v E lo p m E N t G u i D E Beaches North Carolina has 300 miles of sandy beaches and more than 3,300 miles of coastline, but Dare County is where tourism had the biggest impact — $953 million in 2013. It's home to two major lighthouses; Jockey's Ridge, the largest natural sand dune on the East Coast; Wright Brothers Memorial, site of the frst powered fight; and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the frst federally recognized area of its type. Seafood Tar Heel commercial fshermen caught 50 million pounds of fn fsh and shellfsh in 2013, valued at about $79 million. The state also has a growing aquaculture industry. It's second only to Idaho in U.S. trout produc- tion, and 8.4 million pounds of catfsh were raised in 2008. Commercial fshing is a long tradition that's celebrated at events along the coast, including the annual Swansboro Mullet Festival. You might see some outdated hairstyles there, but you'll certainly fnd the namesake fsh prepared every way you can imagine. Hiking Hiking is a popular way to explore the state. There are miles of trails, from diffcult ones that blaze paths through untamed wilder- ness to paved community greenways with little elevation change. The longest is the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which runs about 1,000 miles from Clingmans Dome on the Tennessee line to Jockey's Ridge on the Outer Banks. About 300 miles of the Appalachian Trail are in North Carolina. Paddling From the quiet coastal Newport River to the whitewater of the New and French Broad rivers in the mountains, there is water here to match any kayaking or canoeing ability. That variety made Charlotte the natural choice for the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which was built with fnancial support from surrounding communities. It's an offcial Olympic training site, and you can learn fat-water or whitewater paddling there. Angling From mountain streams to the offshore Gulf Stream, North Carolina has cold water, warm water and salt water for contemplative or competitive fshing. The N.C. Wildlife Commission counted more than 1.2 million anglers in the state in 2014. Five times have its waters hosted the Bassmaster Classic world champion- ship, most recently on Lake Wylie, near Charlotte, in 2004. Every June, anglers arrive in Morehead City for the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, where winners took home more than $300,000 in 2014. Watersports North Carolina has many reservoirs for boating, water skiing and fshing. The largest entirely within the state is Lake Norman, near Charlotte, which is about 32,500 acres at full pool. Impoundments on the Yadkin and Catawba rivers are popular, as are Jordan and Falls lakes near Raleigh. Marinas and public boat launches line coastal waters. State parks North Carolina created its frst in 1916 to protect Mount Mitchell — at 6,684 feet, the tallest peak in the East — from abusive logging and mining. There are now 74 sites in the state-parks system, which attracted more than 13.9 million campers, bicyclists, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts in the 2013 fscal year. Music The Avett Brothers call Concord home, and comedian and banjo picker Steve Martin

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