Interest in outdoor adventure activities is continuing to grow and Thereasa Hulgan, executive director of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau in Centre is seeking to capitalize on the diversity of the natural resources in Rome’s neighboring community to the west, launching their Weiss Is marketing campaign about three weeks ago.
A collaborative group including the Rome Floyd Chamber, Downtown Development Authority, Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism along with the city and county governments just unveiled details of a Rome Is marketing campaign earlier this week. The local campaign was first mentioned during the chamber's annual meeting in May at State Mutual Stadium..
The local campaign is more of a diversified marketing effort than the Cherokee campaign which is heavily focused on outdoor recreation.
Agriculture and tourism are the two leading economic sectors in Cherokee County with Weiss Lake being the number one destination.
“We just wanted to let people know what Weiss is, and its opportunities for outdoor recreation and lake living,” said Hulgan. “All of Cherokee County is an outdoor adventure.”
In addition to the lake, Hulgan said the Little River Canyon National Preserve and Cherokee Rock Village are also huge draws. Visitation to the canyon preserve was up dramatically from 2019 to 2020 when people were looking to get outdoors and explore places that they may never have been to before. Visitation to the preserve in 2019 was close to 650,000 but that number jumped to more than 800,000 in 2020.
“People have been coming from everywhere to kayak on Terrapin Creek,” Hulgan said. Even the Chattooga River which flows from Summerville into the lake now has a canoe and kayak rental facility near Gaylesville called Tooga Yaks.
Tourism in Cherokee County is a $20 million industry however Hulgan admits that it’s not always easy to track those numbers because the county has more campsites than hotel rooms. It also sees a large number of day-use visitors as opposed to overnight stays.
Considering the number of boat ramps and entrances to the 30,200 acre lake, Hulgan said it’s almost impossible to count everybody.
The Indian Mountain ATV Park in the southern part of the county has become more and more popular, and busy with every passing year.
“They’re just booming with great opportunities for people to joyride on the trails along with a few challenging hills to climb,” Hulgan said.
The Chestnut Bay Resort has close to 100 campsites and plans to add another 100 before the summer of 2022.
A new Leesburg Landing boat launch has grown the number of crappie, bass and even catfish tournaments to the community.
“People are needing to get out, wanting to get out, spend time with family and nature,” Hulgan said. “We want folks to know that’s what Weiss is.”