Supporting Our Natural Resources: Waterways
Bringing economic development to rural communities through conservation and enhancement of natural resources is a common bond between the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership and the PA Wilds Center.
Have you ever driven along the Bucktail Trail, one of the state’s scenic byways? The 100+ mile Route 120 connects Cameron and Clinton counties and takes you through some of the lushest valleys and forests in the Pennsylvania Wilds. The southern end of the byway begins in Lock Haven, and you can travel it right to Ridgway. While you travel it, you step back in history – it is, after all, an old Native American trail: the Sinnemahoning Path.
About half an hour from Lock Haven is rural Renovo Borough. Nestled in the valley next to the Susquehanna River, it’s a stone’s throw from Hyner View State Park and the renowned vista, as well as several other state parks.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit the area frequently – but I was never able to see the work that goes into maintaining such a destination. In late February, however, I participated in a meeting where locals discussed ways to enhance the natural assets of Western Clinton County and prepare the rural communities for tourism. Led by the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, a nonprofit organization sustaining the greenway along the Susquehanna River to enhance river towns and the lives of residents, the Western Clinton County River Town meeting was held so stakeholders could prioritize key projects in the community that would boost natural assets and improve tourism. (Renovo Borough, South Renovo Borough and Noyes Township were officially designated a joint River Town by the SGP last year.)
It was moving to see how community officials and civic leaders who attended the meeting each detailed an asset they thought was unique, but could be improved. They care about their small towns. They care about their natural spaces. And they know they have a lot to offer. Participants talked about how tourists they’ve spoken to in the past mention the diversity of birdlife in the region, the beautiful sights, abundance of outdoor recreation activities and slow-paced lifestyle as reasons to keep coming back.
SGP Program Coordinator Trish Carothers and Project Coordinator Alice Trowbridge helped lead the discussion and listed the various elements mentioned by the community representatives. They spoke about the importance of building capacity for proposed projects by bringing a network of engaged individuals into the work and creating public-private partnerships. The list detailed over 15 potential projects, and the group designated the top few, before looking ahead and setting a regular meeting to continue to tackle the goals.
A big part of what SGP volunteers and staff do is work to connect communities to their waterways; this could be in the form of a new river access, signage to inform visitors of the history of the area and river, etc. Bringing economic development to rural communities through conservation and enhancement of natural resources is a common bond between the SGP and the PA Wilds Center. In addition, these efforts create a development strategy for the great features of our small communities and set the stage for generations to come. We are excited about the potential that partnerships with the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership could bring to the Pennsylvania Wilds region.
Learn more about the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership – a leading champion for the Susquehanna River Watershed. The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is a non-profit organization that advocates for public and private efforts to connect people with our natural and cultural resources, and promote a sustainable and healthy environment.