The North Carolina Department of Commerce reported that tourism was a 14.2 billion dollar industry in North Carolina in 2005, generating $120 million in Alamance County, $21 million in Chatham, $127 million in Orange, $949 million in Guilford, and $54 million in Rockingham Counties. Among people visiting the Piedmont region in 2005, 7.5% of overnight visitors and 9.3% of daytrippers indicated that primary purpose for their trip was visiting a nature park, hunting and fishing, or other nature-based activities. Another 13.6 and 17.8 percent respectively traveled primarily for sightseeing.
Conserving the natural beauty of the Haw River, and providing recreational opportunities for residents and tourists is more than a quality of life issue. It is an industry, capable of producing substantial revenue for small business owners, hotel and restaurant purveyors and local governments as wells as jobs for local residents. Further, a conservation and recreation based tourism industry is non-polluting, preserves rather than depletes natural resources, and serves to attract non-tourism based industries.