Balancing Nature and Commerce in Rural America

This week I will be heading out to Shepherdstown, WV, to be one of the trainers in a very interesting program sponsored by The Conservation Fund.  Balancing Nature and Commerce in Rural Communities and Landscapes is a training program designed for community leaders who are pursuing economic development opportunities that align with and support their region’s scenic, natural, and recreational assets.    The program has been underway for several years, and this year’s program includes teams from Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.    I learn a great deal at these events as the teams are among the nation’s leaders in promoting new thinking about rural economic development.   They are part of burgeoning movement that is seeking to use natural assets as a driver of rural prosperity.  Lots of great new information seems to be coming out nearly every day.  For example, check out this piece on small town trail development.   While it’s too late to apply for this week’s event, you can learn more about the program and (hopefully) its future iterations here.