Join PA Wilds Center at the National Summit for Gateway Communities December 11-13
As a premier outdoor recreation destination that encompasses 12.5 counties (and is larger than some states), the Pennsylvania Wilds is inevitably home to many “gateway communities.”
These towns, boroughs and villages flank some of the most awesome outdoor experiences. And when travelers roll into town, it’s these gateway communities that serve them. Local entrepreneurs provide gas, serve up food, offer lodging options, and also ensure other needs are met during a visitor’s stay. The influx of outside dollars helps sustain the local economy.
According to the Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism in Pennsylvania, 4.1% of people visiting Pennsylvania in 2016 were traveling to the PA Wilds and they spent $1.7 billion while in the region. The travel industry accounted for 10.7% of the region’s employment and 10.9% of the labor income earned that year. As more visitors make their way to the region, the gateway communities of the PA Wilds will continue to share the related social, economic and ecological impacts.
The PA Wilds movement grew from the idea that the region’s rural communities could benefit from capitalizing on the natural assets around them. It encouraged development of amenities around our region’s headliner experiences, so that as visitors make their way to the region, our small businesses are able to meet new markets and local communities prosper. In addition, stewardship of the natural assets and regional heritage would become central to continued success.
That’s why PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. is investing in sending staff to the National Summit for Gateway Communities in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, December 11-13.
The event will feature experts from conservation, community and economic development, recreation and tourism, planning and other creative fields, who will each be sharing stories of successes and lessons learned. Participants will also discuss the future of inspiring gateway and rural communities.
PA Wilds Center Managing Director Abbi Peters will talk about how the PA Wilds Center is marrying conservation and economic development by rebooting PA Wilds regional marketing, building an omni-channel retail model through the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania and PA Wilds Conservation Shops, and inspiring stewardship of natural and historic treasures.
“Community character stewardship is a key component of the PA Wilds Center’s work,” said Peters. “We want to continue the discussion on how to be good stewards of our historic communities and natural places, while also finding creative ways to encourage development. The National Summit for Gateway Communities is a great opportunity to learn about what is being done on the frontlines of sustainable rural community development, while also being able to help plan for the future. I’m excited to be a part of the conversation and to see what all I am able to learn and bring home to the Pennsylvania Wilds.”
Registration for the National Summit for Gateway Communities is open through Friday, November 9. (For more details, click here. Scholarship assistance may be available.) Gateway community leaders; local, state, and federal public land managers; professionals in conservation, community and economic development, recreation and tourism, and planning, are invited to attend!
“Join us in Shepherdstown December 11-13 to help us better understand and shape the future of rural gateway communities,” said Peters.
For more information about the National Summit for Gateway Communities, click here.
Learn more about what Ed McMahon, national sustainable development expert, had to say about gateway communities while speaking at the 2017 Champion of the PA Wilds Awards Banquet here.
National Summit for Gateway Communities Sponsors
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