Roanoke, Clifton Forge, and Hot Springs receive national recognition for outdoor excellence

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -- Three of our hometowns are receiving national recognition for their natural beauty and outdoor activities.

“The outdoors is the fabric that connects our entire region, you know, from Franklin County all the way up to Allegheny, it’s something that resonates with everyone,” said Pete Eshelman, the Director of Roanoke Outside.

Readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors ranked the top outdoor adventure towns from Maryland down to Georgia based on how outdoor-friendly they are.

Roanoke topped the charts in the large city category, Clifton Forge took the top spot for small towns, and Hot Springs was the number one "tiny town."

“We have some incredible natural assets right here in our backyard, I mean, we’re sandwiched between the James and the New rivers, we have 24 creeks and rivers in the area, we have the Appalachian Trail passing through here, the Blue Ridge Parkway, we have Carvin’s Cove: the second largest municipal park in the United States, we have more than a thousand miles of hiking trails within an hour radius of here,” said Eshelman.

The only top-ranking town not in our area was Woodstock, Georgia in the mid-size category. The near-sweep in these rankings shows an unmatched versatility from southwest Virginia – no matter the season -- says James Revercomb, a Co-Owner of Roanoke Mountain Adventures.

“Whether you like water sports in the summer or love to hit the trails and hike or mountain bike in the spring or fall, or you like to snow ski or snowboard in the winter, there’s a lot within a short drive.”

The year-round beauty of the region promotes steady tourism month after month, said Revercomb. “The diversity of outdoor opportunities here, in my opinion, is second to none on the East Coast.”

Eshelman agrees, and says the great outdoors is not great just for tourism, but also recruiting companies and employees.

“It’s an economic generator, so it’s helping companies attract and recruit talent to the area. It’s helping us attract companies that want to be aligned with our outdoor brand.”

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