Adventure Tourism Outdoor Recreation

Adventure Tourism & Outdoor Recreation (ATOR) Program

adventure tourism and outdoor recreationtourism outdoor recreationThe Adventure Tourism and Outdoor Recreation cohorts are a POWER Grant funded career training initiative in which you can earn nationally recognized credentials in tourism and outdoor recreation. This would be a great opportunity for anyone wanting to make a career change, someone who has recently been laid off, or for someone who has been laid off and is currently underemployed.

This program offers students a fast-tracked, six month, accelerated program to gain the knowledge and skills needed to become an entrepreneur in the adventure tourism career sector.  The Adventure Tourism program is twenty-nine credit hours and gives students the opportunity to earn a Career Studies Certificate.

Outdoor Recreation Students Design Single Motocross Trail with Spearhead Trails

outdoor recreation

Students with Southwest Virginia Community College’s Outdoor Recreation program are helping to give back to the community. Through Trail Planning and Design courses, instructed by Spearhead Trails’ Field Operations Supervisor, Chris Sturgill, students have learned the proper techniques to plan and design trails based on the type of the intended use, sustainability, and least environmental impact.

In one of the earlier projects, students worked in teams, to design a single motocross trail for dirt bikes and mountain bikes in Tazewell County. Utilizing GPS technology, the trail design was determined by the students, which included walking the trails, charting them off, and flagging the trails for future construction. Throughout the planning, students determined landing zones, safety aspects for emergency situations, as well as engaging the natural features and overlooks of the trails. Using computer software, the data was downloaded and compiled for presentation to the Tazewell County Recreational Development Authority. Speaking of the project, Chris Sturgill stated, “They did a wonderful job, I was thoroughly impressed and so were the board members.” The project has been approved for construction once the survey of the site has been completed.

The class also visited a local Tazewell County land owner to assist with another project. The property was evaluated for use as a tourist destination highlighting the property’s history and potential uses once the property is restored. Students gave input to the landowner for possible uses including walking/biking trails, equipment rentals for bikes/kayaks, shuttle services, training/educational classes, museums/visitor centers, and overnight lodging. The property was also assessed for modifications that would need to be addressed such as accessibility, parking, and zoning requirements. This service provided the landowner with valuable information and insight, while sharing the knowledge gained by students through the Outdoor Recreation program.

SWCC’s partnership with Spearhead Trails has given students experiential learning in trail design and maintenance, making it possible to share that experience with the community and to assist in ongoing projects throughout the region.

For those interested in Adventure Tourism & Outdoor Recreation, classes are forming now! Students may qualify for free tuition.

The Adventure Tourism program is designed for those wishing to open a small business in the tourism industry.  Whether it be opening a business as an outfitter, bed and breakfast, restaurant, campground, kayaking/bike/atv rentals, or tour guide, the opportunities are unlimited.  Program courses allow students the potential to earn nationally recognized credentials while enrolled in classes specific to entrepreneurship, including: Intro to Computer Applications, Marketing and Accounting for Small Businesses, Risk Management, Customer Service, Entrepreneurship, or Small Business Management.  Students will participate in field trips to local businesses in tourism to glean from their experience.  Assistance will be given throughout the program to help students create a business plan that will be beneficial when seeking funding.

You may contact:

Cardova Ratliff – Career Coach; 276.964.7505;

Ariel Hartman – Associate Instructor of Outdoor Recreation; 276.964.7570;

OR call 276.964.7277 or email for an appointment to discuss this great opportunity.

Learn more on the Adventure Tourism and Outdoor Recreation info pages.

Disclaimer: Must meet eligibility requirements. Funded by the POWER-RESOURCE FULL National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG) Project and the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act.