Our Tourism Assets
The Pennsylvania Wilds is known for its tremendous outdoor recreation experiences, small town charm and rich oil and lumber history.
Our assets include:
- More than 2 million acres of public land – including 29 state parks, 8 state forests, 50 state game lands and the 500,000-acre Allegheny National Forest. We’re the biggest block of green between New York City and Chicago. Fifty million people live within a day’s drive of the Pennsylvania Wilds, and a growing number are coming here to do everything from hunt and fish to paddle and bike — enriching experiences that also leave behind valuable dollars in our communities.
- Two National Wild & Scenic Rivers, the Allegheny and the Clarion. Many other rivers, lakes and cricks (yes, many call them cricks here) attract visitors, too, including the mighty West Branch of the Susquehanna, which was recently named a Best Adventure Destination by National Geographic.
- The largest wild elk herd in the Northeast. The Elk Country Visitor Center, a premier elk conservation facility in the heart of the region, interprets this magnificent wildlife through interactive displays and programs to more than 400,000 visitors a year.
- Some of the darkest skies in the world. Cherry Springs State Park, a certified dark-skies park, draws astronomers and visitors from around the globe who want to explore the galaxy – an experience that’s attracted media coverage from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Backpacker Magazine and other media.
- Hundreds of miles of land and water trails that are used for everything from hiking, biking and paddling to ATV and horseback riding. Trails in the Pennsylvania Wilds regularly earn designations such as PA’s Trail of the Year and PA’s River of the Year. The Pine Creek Rail Trail, which takes visitors through the PA Grand Canyon, was named by USA Today as a Top 10 place for cycling in the country.
- Heritage: The Pennsylvania Wilds has a rich oil and lumber history, which is interpreted through state-designated Heritage Areas at a variety of sites throughout the region, from CCC Camps to the PA Lumber Museum. The Route 6 Heritage Corridor runs through four of the region’s 12 counties and is a favorite among touring motorcycle groups and other travelers looking to explore the region’s small town charm.
- Rural Traditions & Craftsmanship: The Pennsylvania Wilds has a growing community of creative entrepreneurs and artisans who do everything from chainsaw carving to fine paintings to making wine. Many are involved in the Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan Trail and carry the “Proudly Made in the Pennsylvania Wilds” brand on their products.
- Our Communities: From tying local tourism projects into regional efforts, to using the Pennsylvania Wilds brand, to welcoming visitors through race events and heritage festivals, to building memorable businesses that help meet visitor demand, to being good stewards of their community character – communities are at the heart of the tourism experience in the Pennsylvania Wilds.