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Plans for outdoor recreation expo underway

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Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014 11:43 pm | Updated: 4:29 pm, Fri Aug 22, 2014.

ABINGDON, Va. -- Plans are well underway for a regional outdoor recreation expo, the first of its kind in far Southwest Virginia.

The Southwest Virginia Outdoor Expo, hosted by the Appalachian Spring initiative, will be held in September and will feature all that the region has to offer in terms of outdoor recreation, said Stephanie Otis, a member of Appalachian Spring.

"The idea is to really encourage people to get outside and try something new, something they haven't done," she said.

The expo begins Sept. 13 at Heartwood in Abingdon, and will feature different vendors who provide outdoor recreation experiences, she said. The idea is to showcase what's available here and some businesses will likely offer next-day excursions or ways to sign up for a future kayaking trip or hiking adventure.

"We want the region to take ownership of this and ... get people here," Otis said of the region's recreational opportunities.

The expo will focus around eight outdoor recreation "anchors" as identified by Appalachian Spring -- the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the New River, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, the Clinch River, Breaks Interstate Park, High Knob Recreation Area and the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail.

The event will be free to the public and feature clinics and demonstrations, activities and educational information, as well as live music and local beer.

Otis said they are looking for more vendors -- businesses, sponsors and musicians.

"Our intent is all about community development through outdoor recreational development," she said. "We thought it would be a great opportunity to get everyone here. ... We're really just providing a platform for them to come in and showcase."

Vendors can apply online at www.swvaoutdoorexpo.com by July 31.

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