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Chapter 13 Geotourism potential in North Carolina perspectives from interpretation at state parks

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-906884-09-3-1063

ISBN: 978-1-906884-09-3

Published: April 2010

Component type: chapter

Published in: Geotourism: the tourism of geology and landscape

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-906884-09-3-21



Established in 1789 as the 12th state, North Carolina lies in the eastern seaboard of the United States of America between the Appalachian mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean. It is ranked 28th with respect to its size (139,389 square kilometers) and is the 10th most populated state with 9.1 million residents as of 2007 (US Census Bureau, 2008). The state was known for its farming/tobacco, textile and furniture industries, but substantial transformation has taken place over the past few decades and now the service industry, led by tourism, is the major part of the state’s economy (Gade, 2008). North Carolina has a unique and rich natural heritage which includes geological, landscape and biological resources that span three physiographic regions: the Appalachian Mountains, the Piedmont Plateau and the Coastal Plain (Horton et al., 1991; Stewart and Roberson, 2007). This natural heritage forms an integral part of the network of attractions enticing local, out-of-state and international tourists, who spent over $17 billion in the state and generated almost 200,000 jobs in 2007 (TIA, 2008). Indeed, North Carolina’s tourism promotional material (e.g., travel guides, brochures, websites) routinely highlight physical landscapes such as the Great Smoky Mountains, peaks like Pilot Mountain and geomorphic features such as waterfalls. Many of these geological features and attractions can be found in North Carolina’s state park (NCSP) system, which received over 12.8 million visitors in 2007– 2008 (Leung et al., 2009), with an estimated annual economic impact of $289 million to local economies (NCDPR, 2009). Landform-dependent recreation opportunities draw tourists to the state as well, with skiers enjoying the mountains and kitesurfers flocking to sandy beaches at the Outer Banks. In addition, mineral hunting has become a popular tourist activity with several independent contractors offering mine tours, cave tours and gemstone mining.

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  • Stacy Supak, North Carolina State University (Author)
  • Yu-Fai Leung, North Carolina State University (Author)
  • Kevin Stewart, University of North Carolina (Author)

For the source title:

  • David Newsome, Murdoch University (Editor)
  • Ross K. Dowling, Edith Cowan University (Editor)

Cite as

Supak, Leung & Stewart, 2010

Supak, S., Leung, Y. & Stewart, K. (2010) "Chapter 13 Geotourism potential in North Carolina perspectives from interpretation at state parks" In: Newsome, D. & Dowling, R.K. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-906884-09-3-1063


Published in Geotourism: the tourism of geology and landscape

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