Things we’re thankful for in the PA Wilds
The Thanksgiving season reminds us of the things for which we are grateful: family, friends, health, prosperity, creative endeavors and the awe-inspiring landscape that surrounds us. Our Pennsylvania Wilds region gives us plenty to give thanks for, especially with its rich history and endless variety of natural beauty. Let’s take a moment and remember the things we are much thankful for in the PA Wilds!
The changing seasons
In Pennsylvania, we’re fortunate to have all four seasons throughout the year. Spring reminds us of new life, with trees and flowers blooming everywhere you look. The warm, sunny summers give us time to play outside and hold events in the open air. Autumn brings the changing leaves, with bright orange, red, yellow and even purple colors changing the landscape into a patchwork quilt. And winter (although many complain about it) is a magical time that covers our land in sparkling snowflakes and the joy of the holidays.
Photo: Winter in the Allegheny National Forest
Rivers, lakes, streams… and, yes, “cricks”
The Pennsylvania Wilds is famous for water recreation, with over 16,000 miles of lakes, rivers and streams to enjoy. Our waterways are an ideal opportunity to disconnect and unwind… wide open waters surrounded by scenic shorelines and forest land. Whether it’s a river, lake, stream or the famous “cricks” in the PA Wilds, our clear waters are something we’re thankful to have.
Photo: Pennsylvania Wildlife Habitat Unlimited (PWHU) group at the annual Medix Run Adopt-a-Stream Project. Courtesy of Ray Hunt.
Our lumber heritage
Our lands have remarkable stories to tell, including the story of how much of the infrastructure of the United States was built. Plank by plank, wood timbered in the Pennsylvania Wilds was used throughout the country. People flocked to the region for the lumbering boom. However, this time period left our wilds logged over, nearly unrecognizable from the Penn’s Woods we know today. Through conservation efforts and replanting, the PA Wilds are… well, wild! And a more conscious lumber industry continues to operate in our working forests today, providing jobs and stewarding the land. You can learn more about lumber in Pennsylvania through the Lumber Heritage Region, the Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group, and the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum.
Photo: The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum near Galeton, Potter County
Our vast and varied outdoor recreation opportunities
No matter what kind of outdoor activity you’re looking for, the Pennsylvania Wilds has some tremendous outdoor adventures! The PA Wilds is home to more than 1,600 miles of hiking trails, hidden treasures with geocaching, off-road challenges and hundreds of miles of trails for ATV and snowmobile riders, a chance to dream under the stars while camping, places that are a game hunter’s paradise and an angler’s perfect retreat, biking that suits everything from mountain bikers to leisurely pedals, stargazing at the world’s second certified International Dark-Sky Park, and friendly outfitters and guides to help you on any of your adventures.
Photo: Hiking on the North Country Trail. Courtesy of Beau Martonik.
The quiet moments
Our rural landscape means that things in the PA Wilds are much quieter than in a crowded city. The Pennsylvania Wilds covers 25 percent of the Commonwealth’s land area, and it is home to a very proud 4 percent of the state’s population. We have room to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature all around us. We’re grateful to have this beautiful landscape to call our home… or, for others, to call a “home away from home” and an escape from the hustle and bustle.
Photo: A pink sunrise over water. Courtesy of Kalie Schmader.
The scenery in the Pennsylvania Wilds simply can’t be beat. Think of the soaring heights of the Kinzua Bridge overlooking the wreckage of the railroad tracks, the sunsets you can take in while cruising Scenic Route 6, the glimpse of a bugling elk as the morning fog lifts in Benezette, the meandering yet powerful Susquehanna River as seen from the top of Hyner View, or the fall leaves covering the sides of the seemingly endless PA Grand Canyon and Pine Creek Gorge. Here in the PA Wilds, we’re thankful for the wide array of thrilling views that we often take for granted.
Photo: Kinzua Bridge in winter
A warm cup of coffee with friends, real maple syrup on your pancakes while your kids giggle at the breakfast table, the guilty pleasure of a cheeseburger from your favorite local diner, marshmallows roasted (and sometimes accidentally burnt) over a fire at the campsite, your mom’s home cooking… there’s nothing quite like the taste of coming to the PA Wilds. We’re thankful for every bite.
Photo: Maple sugared walnuts from Sugar Mama’s Appalachian Maple, based in Mansfield
Hidden secrets and marvelous mysteries
Ancient folklore and dark woods make the PA Wilds the perfect place for mysterious stories and long-told legends. Whether it’s trying to find buried treasure or hunting for Bigfoot, many people come to the Pennsylvania Wilds to find mysteries and hidden secrets. Even if you don’t come away with solid evidence, we know that sometimes the best thing is the memories made along the way.
Photo: A Bigfoot exhibit at Kinzua Bridge State Park. Courtesy of Lou Bernard.
Stories with friends
Although the wild landscapes and beauty of nature are what draws so many visitors to the PA Wilds, they often stay because of the kind, welcoming people who live here. Whether you grew up in the area or made friends when you traveled here, those memories will last a lifetime. We love sharing stories with friends and reminiscing… and planning new adventures with them in the future!
Photo: Relaxing and chatting outside outside of the Zippo Case Museum in Bradford. Photo courtesy of Hunter Casilio.
Quality time with family
For so many of us, the Pennsylvania Wilds feels like home. For some of us, it’s where we grew up and spent our formative years. For others, we arrived later in life and built our homes within these communities. And for still more, we may call it our second home, a place where we dream about escaping when life starts to grind us down. We gather our family close to us here, making new memories and laughing as we remember all the fun that we had in the PA Wilds before. We’re thankful for the ability to spend quality time with our families in such an incredible, wild area.
Photo: Writer Lou Bernard and his family in the PA Wilds
Here’s one more thing you can be thankful for!
This blog was originally posted on the PA Wilds Marketplace blog at ShopthePAWilds.com.
Did you know that the products sold through the PA Wilds Marketplace are created, designed and crafted by local artisans? CLICK HERE to check out more products and makers!
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