Pennsylvania Wilds is a state-level program and a brand for one of the most rural and sparsely populated regions in Pennsylvania which since 2003 has revitalized the local economy with the help of new green jobs and initiatives. The region spans 12 counties, accounting for a quarter of Pennsylvania, and includes large public natural spaces which are comparable in size to Yellowstone National Park. The largest population of wapiti in the north-eastern United States has found its refuge here, and this grand animal is a symbol of the region and graces the logo of the regional brand. The rivers and forests offer countless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, the most popular activities being: wildlife watching and birdwatching, bike tourism, water tourism (kayaks and canoes), fishing, hiking and horseback riding. The Pennsylvania Wilds also offers a great range of local products based on and around the region’s cultural assets e.g. museums, theme parks, microbreweries, wineries, family attractions, art galleries, art centers etc.
Tekst: © Dominika Zaręba
Ecotourism has become an effective means to stimulate the development of different economic activities and the creation of green jobs in the region while at the same time building a sense of commitment to protect the environment by locals and visitors alike. Much of the strategy for supporting business growth in the region has focused on small businesses which rely on ecotourism, whether in the form of nature tourism, recreational tourism or heritage tourism, and the support has come via public investments in green infrastructure, preferential loans and grants for small companies, as well as marketing campaigns promoting the Pennsylvania Wilds brand.
– Thanks to the collaboration between state institutions and local government agencies as well as the business community, we were successful in creating a regional brand called the Pennsylvania Wilds – says Meredith Hill, Director of Pennsylvania Wilds. After a couple of years it is clear how state-level investments in infrastructure linked to recreational and eco-tourism have delivered and inspired the growth of new and diverse forms of business activities, making our region a top outdoor destination in America.