North Carolina Outdoors is the online home of John B. Marek — North Carolina-based outdoor enthusiast, adventurer and author.

As an avid kayaker, hiker and fisherman, I have always been driven by the search for innovative ways to connect with the world outdoors, and have drawn key elements of my personal philosophy from my love of and appreciation for nature. While I am not a “tree-hugger,” I do believe that corporations and business leaders can and should help shape the culture in which they operate. In my professional role as an economic development marketer, I work to promote rural areas and attract new and expanding businesses that are a good fit for the community; creating jobs and investment so those areas can flourish and provide the type of environment which brings people closer to the land, while affording the opportunity for a good standard of living.

Originally from Port Clinton, Ohio, I graduated from Bowling green State University in 1985 and lived for a number of years in the Toledo, Ohio area. I moved to North Carolina in 1995 and was immediately taken by the extraordinary natural beauty and diversity of the state; from the ancient peaks of the Appalachian Mountains to the sandy dunes of the Outer Banks.

Most weekends, April through October, you can find me kayaking and fishing on Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake near my home in Huntersville. In September of 2011, I completed a circumnavigation of South Bass Island in Lake Erie with my wife, Janet. Over the past ten years I have kayaked in locales as divergent as the Harraseeket River near Freeport, Maine; the Atlantic Coast near Beaufort, North Carolina; and the Inner Passage near Juneau, Alaska.

In the late Fall and early Spring, I can typically be found hiking in the mountains of North Carolina. Over the past few years, I have successfully climbed most of the significant peaks in the area; Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Pisgah, Crowders Mountain, Fall Mountain, and Mt. Mitchell — at 6,684 feet, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River.

I believe in giving back to the community through involvement in community-based groups and initiatives. In 2005, I was named to the Parks & Recreation Commission for the Town of Huntersville (NC) and was elected Vice-Chair of that organization in 2006. In 2007, I was named to the Board of Directors for Iredell Museums, and was elected President/Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2009. I also serve on the Existing Industry Committee of the Charlotte Regional Partnership (2008 Chair), and on the Leadership Statesville Board of Directors. In May 2012, I participated with CureSearch in the Ultimate Hike for Children’s Cancer Research, a 28.3 mile trek across the Foothills Trail in North and South Carolina.

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