HomeCarter County Economic DevelopmentProgress Report Update – Carter County Receives Adventure Tourism Districts Designations and Jobs Creation!  

Progress Report Update – Carter County Receives Adventure Tourism Districts Designations and Jobs Creation!  

From the Mayor’s Desk

For Immediate Release

I am very pleased to report that I received word today from Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett that Carter County’s application for seven areas in the County to be certified as Adventure Tourism Districts was approved!

Pursuant to the Tennessee Adventure Tourism and Rural Development Act of 2011 the County created the following Adventure Tourism Districts:

The Roan Mountain Adventure Tourism District, comprised of Roan Mountain, Ripshin Mountain, Roan Mountain State Park, the town of Roan Mountain, and environs;

The Watauga Lake Adventure Tourism District, comprised of Watauga Lake, its shoreline (including Iron Mountain to its crest), Pond Mountain Wilderness Area, and environs;

The Elizabethton Adventure Tourism District, comprised of the city of Elizabethton;

The Watauga River Adventure Tourism District, comprised of the Watauga River and its environs below Watauga Lake (including Wilbur Lake) to the border with Washington County, and the town of Watauga (excluding lands lying within the Elizabethton Adventure Tourism District);

The Stony Creek Adventure Tourism District, comprised of the environs of Stoney Creek and surrounding mountains (Holston and Cross Mountains, and Iron Mountain to its crest);

The Doe River Gorge Adventure Tourism District, comprised of the Doe River and its environs (below the Roan Mountain Adventure Tourism District), Doe River Gorge, the town of Hampton, Laurel Fork Gorge, Dennis Cove, and environs; and

The Tweetsie Trail Adventure Tourism District, comprising the Tweetsie Trail and its environs between the border with Washington County and the Elizabethton Adventure Tourism District.

The certification is for a 3 year period beginning July 29, 2017 through July of 2020. According to Commissioner Triplett, “Adventure tourism is an industry gaining popularity throughout the world, and it is only fitting that Tennessee’s abundance of natural resources would lend the ideal setting to support this segment of the tourism industry. In addition to the business-friendly advantages our state offers, we are proud to showcase Tennessee’s innate geographical strengths in a way that will help generate job opportunities throughout the state.

Carter County’s Adventure Tourism Districts designations allows qualified businesses that locate within the district to earn a jobs tax credit to offset a portion of the business’ Tennessee franchise and excise tax liability. Qualified businesses may include restaurants, hotels, or other tourism-related attractions. The qualified business must make a capital investment of at least $500,000, and create the required number of full-time jobs with minimum health care benefits under T.C.A. § 67-4-2109. Businesses located within Tier 4 counties which is what Carter County is must create 10 jobs. Two part-time jobs are equal to one full-time position. Additionally, businesses must complete a jobs tax credit business plan which must be submitted to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.”

Commissioner Triplett advised that “the State of Tennessee truly appreciates Carter County’s commitment to further economic development in our great state.” As County Mayor, I would personally like to thank everyone who helped with this application to include the Carter County Parks and Recreation Board, the Carter County Commission and County Attorney, Chris Schuettler and his staff with Carter County Planning, Ronnie Taylor and his staff with the Carter County Property Assessor’s Office, and my office’s Economic and Community Development Director Susan Robinson for submitting the application to the State. Carter County Parks and Recreation Board Chairman Ken Gough commented that this designation adds another tool to Carter County Tourism Coordinator Kayla Carter’s toolbox as she works to promote Tourism in Carter County. Good things are happening in Carter County thanks to everyone working together!

Please feel free to contact me at or by phone at 423-542-1801 if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance to you. My office is located at 801 East Elk Avenue, Suite 201 located in the County Courthouse in Elizabethton. I have an open door policy and everyone is always welcome.

Leon Humphrey

Carter County Mayor