Outdoors Latest

Haywood hires new rec director

Elizabeth "Elli" Flagg. File photo Elizabeth "Elli" Flagg. File photo

Haywood County has a new recreation director with the appointment of Elizabeth “Elli” Flagg, who started her new job Feb. 19. 

Flagg, who previously served as recreation director in Craig, Alaska, is a Georgia native who began her journey in recreational management at Clemson University before pursuing further education abroad at Bond University in Australia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism management.

“We are thrilled to welcome Elizabeth to our team,” said David Francis, Haywood County Director of Community and Economic Development. “Her proven track record of success, coupled with her innovative spirit and dedication to community engagement, will enhance the recreational experiences available to our residents and visitors.” 

During her time in Alaska, Flagg implemented foundational policies, procedures, financial management practices and asset organizational systems that significantly enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of recreational services. A press release called her leadership and collaborative approach “visionary,” saying that she “empowered individuals of all ages and backgrounds to actively participate in recreational activities, fostering healthier and more vibrant communities.”

Flagg will oversee the continued growth of the outdoor recreational programming and the new bike park featuring a pump track, a kiddie track and a skill course to learn mountain biking. 

Her appointment follows the departure of previous director Ian Smith, who left the position in November 2023.

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