Celebrating our Partners: Gear Manufacturers
A lot of people immediately think “tourism” and “service sector” when you talk about outdoor rec. Those are certainly critical elements, but they are by no means everything. A huge part of our outdoor rec cluster are people and companies who make things, from artisans, to producers, to manufacturers.
Outdoor rec touches a lot of industries, and that’s part of what makes it so powerful.
For example, Organic Climbing, a global producer of gear for rock climbing, employs 31 people at its state-of-the-art solar-powered sewing factory built on a reclaimed coal strip mine in Phillipsburg, in the PA Wilds.
Proprietor Josh Helke, a champion of the PA Wilds Center’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, says the region’s outdoor rec assets are critical to rural quality of life, to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce, as well as important for inspiring and testing new gear. “Now, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic’s momentum towards outdoor recreation, rural community life and sense of place, there has never been a better time to create sustainable economic sustenance by expanding the region’s outdoor rec economy,” he says.
Similarly, Equinox, a soft-goods manufacturer based in Williamsport, specializes in products related to backpacking and hiking, and has been making highly-quality outdoor gear in the PA Wilds for over 30 years.
Under Build Back Better, we’d work with the region’s Industrial Resource Centers to knit rural manufacturers closer to our industry cluster.
About the Series:
To celebrate June being Great Outdoors Month, we are highlighting partners throughout June who are helping grow the outdoor recreation economy here in the PA Wilds to help revitalize rural communities. Our 13-county region is the only outdoor rec industry cluster to make it to the final round of the national Build Back Better Regional Challenge competition, where we are now competing for $50M in federal investment from the US Economic Development Administration. We couldn’t have made it this far without our incredible partners!
Learn more about the PA Wilds and the BBBRC competition here.
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