MCDOWELL COUNTY, W.Va. — Betty Jones remembers well McDowell County’s best of times “when everything was booming.”

Now she’s settling into her role as executive director of the McDowell County Convention and Visitors Bureau during what some would argue are among McDowell County’s worst of times.

“It’s like everybody just gave up,” she told MetroNews.

A lifelong McDowell County resident, she’s not willing to abandon her native county.

“We want to showcase our county and we can do it,” she told MetroNews of a new effort to pitch McDowell County as a tourism destination with the recent launch of the “Meet McDowell” campaign.

JJN Multimedia produced the video component of the campaign that’s narrated by Alan “Cathead” Johnston.

It highlights McDowell County sites like the Hatfield-McCoy ATV and UTV Trails, Elkhorn Creek, and Blackwolf Links along with restaurants and lodging locations.

Meet McDowell – Adventure Awaits

The McDowell County Convention & Visitors Bureau is proud to announce our new tourism campaign Meet McDowell! You will now have an extensive online resource to plan your next adventure in McDowell County, West Virginia with MeetMcDowell.com.Be sure to enter our huge giveaway by following these three simple steps:1) 'Like' this video!2) 'Share' this video and make sure it is a public post!3) 'Tag' three of your friends in the comment section of this video!To view the prizes and read our rules and regulations visit http://bit.ly/2xD7IGCAll submissions must be received by November 1st at 7:00pm est. The three winners will be announced in November via Facebook Live Raffle with Betty Jones! Check out all that our beautiful county has to offer by visiting MeetMcDowell.com today!Special thanks to all the vendors as well as citizens who participated and also to Alan "Cathead" Johnston and his beautiful narration for this film. This tourism campaign was produced by JJN Multimedia.

Posted by Meet McDowell on Thursday, September 28, 2017

 

The video tells a much different story that what many people usually hear about McDowell County.  The county has continually been ranked among the poorest, unhealthiest and least educated counties in both West Virginia and the entire United States.

On the Economic Innovation Group’s recently released 2017 Distressed Communities Index, McDowell County scored in the 100th percentile which was the highest score possible.

Factors considered in determining “economic distress” were higher poverty rates, a higher percentage of adults without high school diplomas, negative changes in employment and lower median income rates.

Such rankings, Jones argued, do not tell McDowell County’s full story.

“I am so tired of all, not only me but there’s others working with me, and we’re just tired of all the negativism,” Jones said.

“We have good people. With the good people that we have in McDowell County and everyone working together, there is no reason why the McDowell County Convention and Visitors Bureau cannot be one of the best tourism sites in the state.”

Prior to 2013, McDowell County did not have a CVB, according to Jones. She became its permanent executive director in May of this year.

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