Strat grew up on the north side of Piney Mountain. He spent much of his youth messing about in the forests around Tryon and on his uncle’s cattle farm on Bright’s Creek. For several years he worked as a whitewater raft guide on the Nolichucky, French Broad, New, and Gauley Rivers in summers and in the ski industry in the winters.

He earned a BA in History and a PhD in Economics from UNC-Chapel Hill, and went on to become Associate Professor of Economics at West Virginia University in Morgantown. While in Morgantown he did research on energy, recreation, health, and quality of life, and he served on the Board of Friends of the Cheat River. In his spare time he maintained a system of hiking and xc-ski trails at a place called Snake Hill.

Strat and his wife Jodie Jackson retired and moved back home to Polk County to rejoin his siblings in 2020. They hike or bike or paddle nearly every day, and so they couldn’t help observing the positive impact of Conserving Carolina on the quality of life here. Wanting to get involved, he joined CC’s Rock Crushers in the spring of 2021, and was thrilled and honored to be asked to join its Board in 2022.

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