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Town of Damascus invests in outdoor recreation

By Tamas Mondovics
Editor

In a recent announcement, the town of Damascus, VA, was pleased to promote its efforts to reinvent its Recreation Department.
“The goal is to strengthen our position as the top outdoor destination in the Southwest Virginia (SWVA) region,” said mayor Katie Lamb.
Lamb confirmed that two new full-time employees have been hired to assist with the changes and will increase Damascus’ capacity for growth in outdoor recreation and tourism.
“We needed help,” she said. “There is so much workload that we feel it’s money well spent.”
The move comes as no surprise while promoting a strategy that Johnson County and Mountain City officials are well to take note of.
The “strategic action follows in the footsteps of the new state-level Office of Outdoor Recreation in Virginia,” a release said.
Damascus has long been called ‘Trail Town USA’ and ‘The Friendliest Town on the Appalachian Trail.’
In 2021, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine recognized the town as ‘Top Tiny Adventure Town’. It is known for its stunning natural beauty and authentic small-town feel.
Top adventure destinations include the Virginia Creeper Trail, Appalachian Trail, Backbone Rock (located in Johnson County), not to mention Mount Rogers and Grayson Highlands State Park.
Lamb did not hesitate to acknowledge the importance and connection between  her town and nearby Mountain City. While crossing state lines, the geographical location and closeness of the cities have the potential to work toward a mutually beneficial, tourism-oriented goal.
“I would love to see a trail connecting Mountain City to Damascus via the Laurel Creek Trail, which is connected to the Creeper Trail, taking bikers and hikers up the mountain to Green Cove Station,” Lamb said, adding, “Yes, we are in this together.”
In the coming months, residents and tourists can expect to find new events throughout the town and the usual favorites of Trail Days, Beaverdam Friday Jams, and the Damascus Farmers Market.
Year-round, Damascus offers a wide variety of outdoor adventure options, from family-friendly to remote backcountry.
The town looks forward to a bright future with outdoor recreation for all.