Community and Business

Strengthening and inspiring communities in the Pennsylvania Wilds


The Pennsylvania Wilds, one of the state’s 11 official tourism regions, is a large rural area that covers about a quarter of the Commonwealth and is home to about 4 percent of the state’s population. The 13-county landscape is known for its more than two million acres of public land — more than Yellowstone National Park. It also boasts two National Wild & Scenic Rivers, the largest wild elk herd in the Northeast and some of the darkest skies in the country. It has a rich oil and lumber heritage.


Tourism currently accounts for about 11 percent of the region’s economy. It is not the only piece of the pie, but it is an important piece, because in addition to the jobs it creates, it also creates amenities that make it easier for our region’s larger employers to attract and retain talent, and improves quality of life for residents. Visitors currently spend an estimated $1.7 billion annually in the Pennsylvania Wilds.


When you visit or move to a PA Wilds community or support a PA Wilds business, you make an impact on the lives of the people who call this area home. If you are a PA Wilds resident, community leader or entrepreneur – check out the resources below!

PA Wilds Network

Businesses, nonprofits and communities located in the 13-county Pennsylvania Wilds region are invited to join the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania (WCO). Members are promoted on, in addition to gaining access to branding and marketing resources, networking and professional development programs, opportunities to sell handmade products on the PA Wilds Marketplace and at PA Wilds Conservation Shops, and referrals to regional resource providers. Perhaps best of all, there are no annual membership dues.

PA Wilds Big Idea Contest

In partnership with the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Ben Franklin Technology Partners is looking for innovators with BIG IDEAS located in the Allegheny National Forest & Surrounds — including Cameron, Elk, Forest, McKean, or Warren County, PA. Entrepreneurs who are developing or crafting a product, process, or innovation related to the maker economy, outdoors and recreation, forest products, manufacturing, and technology, are invited apply by April 18, 2023. Winning up to $50,000 will go a long way in helping you further develop your BIG IDEA and infuse your new startup with much-needed cash. In addition to the cash, the pitch experience you’ll gain, the business training offered, and the contacts you’ll make are just as valuable.

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