Celebrating our Partners: Outfitters and Hospitality Partners
Today’s Great Outdoors Month gratitude post goes to our outfitters and other hospitality partners who are helping to grow the outdoor economy in the PA Wilds.
As one of the largest blocks of green between New York City and Chicago, outfitters play a key role in helping visitors safely connect with public lands and outdoor experiences in the PA Wilds.
Places like Creek Bottom Canvas can set up a campsite in the National Forest for you, while the Pale Whale, located in the region’s Cook Forest & the Ancients landscape, can outfit you for a paddling trip on the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River. The list goes on … Pine Creek Outfitters, Tussey Mountain Outfitters, Rich Port Board Shop (learn more about each HERE).
Outfitters are some of the toughest businesses to grow. They are often highly technical, weather dependent, seasonal, difficult to finance – and absolutely critical to rural areas being able to leverage public lands to build an outdoor rec economy.
We are grateful for the work these businesses do, day in and day out, to get residents and visitors outdoors in the PA Wilds and to pass their foot traffic to other rural businesses.
And speaking of other businesses, a shout out to all our other hospitality businesses!
Hospitality includes food and beverage, travel and tourism, lodging, and recreation.
There are way too many of you to list individually, but you are a huge part of the reason the PA Wilds has seen double-digit growth in visitor spending in every county of the PA Wilds over the last decade!
Some 7M+ people a year visit the PA Wilds. Outdoor experiences may be our main draw, but it is the full experience of lodging, eating, shopping, taking in cultural attractions and the like that make them want to tell a friend and come back again.
The hospitality industry also plays a big part in improving rural quality of life by offering amenities that local resident – and the 21st Century workforce – wants.
Lastly, a big thanks to our local visitor bureau partners, for the work they do daily to promote their areas and the region.
It was the visitor bureaus that worked with the State Tourism Office to create the PA Wilds brand principles back when the regional brand was launched in the mid-2000s.
Click here to see the full PA Wilds Declaration of Principles document.
The principles document has helped shape and inspire a lot of things since, from marketing campaigns to regional commerce infrastructure to even pulling young people back to rural PA.
Allegheny Outfitters owner Piper VanOrd says the effort to grow the region’s outdoor rec economy helped pull her back to rural PA 16 years ago to start her business.
“I found the “Declaration of Principles of the Pennsylvania Wilds” through a late-night internet search,” she said. “These values of, ‘Charm not chain; Stewardship of the land; The joy of exploration and discovery; Cultivating the relationship between people and the environment; Preserving, sharing and creating new stories; and Aspiring to excellence in all we do,’ were not only spot on, but pulled us over the line to move home and be part of such an exciting movement. All these years later, these values are stronger than ever, having been embraced by many of us across the region.”
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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