“Walker Rocks” Visionary Honored with Chamber Award

Rock Spring, GA – Everywhere he goes, Robert Wardlaw takes the message of why Walker Rocks with him.  His excitement for Walker County’s abundance of exhilarating outdoor experiences knows no equal.

Appointed by Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield last March to serve as the county’s Economic and Community Development Director, Wardlaw began examining quality of life issues important to business and industry.  Following a recreational hike on Lookout Mountain last spring, he started developing a vision to grow the county’s sales tax base by showcasing its environmental wonders.

After months of planning behind the scenes, Walker Rocks emerged in late June.  The partnership between Walker County Government and the Walker County Chamber of Commerce serves as a platform to encourage outdoor enthusiasts to make the Walker County trip to go hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking and caving, among other activities.

During the Walker County Chamber’s Annual Dinner, Wardlaw was honored as the 2018 Chamber Member of the Year.  The award comes on the heels of Northwest Georgia’s Historic High Country Travel Association recognizing Walker Rocks with the 2018 Award for Association Excellence for Best Marketing Campaign.

As word continues to spread about Walker County’s exciting options for tourists, bookings at locations like Mountain Cove Farms Resort and sales tax revenue have grown.  In fact, there was an $88,519 increase in sales tax revenue from July-November last year when compared to the same period in 2017.

The Walker Rocks team continues to explore options to grow the tourism brand in 2019.  Several exciting announcements are planning in the months to come.

Walker County & City of LaFayette Recognized for Tourism Efforts

Cartersville, GA – Walker County’s growing reputation as an outdoor adventure destination just received a boost from regional travel industry professionals.  Northwest Georgia’s Historic High Country Travel Association (HHCTA) recognized Walker Rocks with the 2018 Award for Association Excellence for Best Marketing Campaign.

Walker Rocks, a partnership between the Walker County Chamber of Commerce and Walker County Government, highlights the scenic and stunning destinations available in the county for rock climbing, caving, kayaking, hiking, biking and other outdoor experiences.  The campaign launched with the creation of videos highlighting local attractions, a start-up grant competition to encourage business growth in the tourism industry and the introduction of walkerrocks.com and several social media platforms, among other efforts.

“It’s thrilling to know that others in the region are taking note of what we have to offer here in Walker County,” said Lacey Wilson, President of the Walker County Chamber of Commerce.  “The Chamber is proud to be part of the collaborative team working to showcase and share the assets of this community with the rest of the world.”

Robert Wardlaw, Economic & Community Development Director for Walker County Government, said “This validates the valuable role tourism plays in our community.  Six months in and we’re already seeing an increase in sales tax revenue and a boost in occupancy at area accommodations.”  Wardlaw added, “Walker Rocks is fun, but Walker Rocks is also an economic initiative to help bring equity to our tax base, which in turn helps our citizens.”

HHCTA, which is comprised of travel industry professionals from a 17-county area, also honored one of Walker County’s cities for its tourism efforts.  HHCTA named the City of LaFayette’s Honeybee Festival as Best Event and LaFayette Mayor Andy Arnold as Tourism Advocate of the Year.

Georgia Trend Recognizes Chickamauga as “Live, Work, Play” City

Chickamauga, GA – One of Walker County’s four cities was recently recognized by Georgia Trend magazine with a Live, Work, Play award.  Chickamauga, and just eight other cities across the entire state of Georgia, earned the designation.  Doing so puts Chickamauga in the same quality of life conversation as powerhouse cities like Cartersville, Athens and Decatur.

The Live, Work, Play award highlights a city’s efforts to improve or add local amenities, maintain a strong workforce to keep the local economy flowing and exhibit a friendly, yet conscious community. Recreational events like Ironman, Movies in the Park and First Fridays helped Chickamauga set itself apart, while still being able to maintain its rich antebellum history.

Georgia Trend described Chickamauga as, “a family-friendly city that boasts sidewalks, a highly ranked (seventh in the state) school system and the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the oldest military park in the country and a huge tourism driver.”

The magazine also highlighted Chickamauga’s partnership with Walker County to designate the city as a Preserve America Community, and the creation of Historic Overlay Districts to protect the gateway into the city.