PA Wilds Planning Team tours Denton Hill State Park with DCNR

PA Wilds Planning Team tours Denton Hill State Park with DCNR

DCNR gave a tour of Denton Hill State Park (and the ski lodge building) to members of the PA Wilds Planning Team. From left to right front: John Lavelle (Lycoming County), Deb Bigley (Tioga County), Britt Madera (PA Wilds Center) From left to right top: Meredith Hill (DCNR), Peg Engasser (Lumber Museum intern), Ben Stone (DCNR)

As part of an excursion following the PA Wilds Planning Team’s June meeting, a park manager from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) gave the group a tour of Denton Hill State Park and the currently closed ski lodge building.

Ben Stone, the DCNR park manager of Denton Hill State Park and Cherry Springs State Park, led a tour and provided backstory about the challenges that Denton Hill has faced.

The Denton Hill State Park tour with DCNR, just outside of the ski lodge building

DCNR recently concluded its second attempt to gain an operator for the shuttered ski resort in Potter County. The first attempt had no bidders, and the second attempt resulted in the rejection of both bids. The rejection was due to both proposals not achieving the technical scoring requirements for the religious formal review.

Stone explained that the process was not all or nothing and that there are still hopes for the ski lodge to be reopened as an all-season outdoor recreation destination.

Meetings have been scheduled with the interested bidders, and DCNR remains hopeful that these conversations could lead to a Denton Hill State Park in the future.

Stone explained the history of Denton Hill and the ski lodge building. The downhill ski area at the park has been closed since the end of winter 2014. In 2018, a master plan recommended that the ski lodge be rebranded as a four-season “Adventure Center” to expand services beyond skiing. DCNR is committing $10 million to rehabilitate and renovate Denton Hill.

As the search for a concessionaire continues, DCNR is also focusing on what the vendor can provide or collaborate on in regards to other outdoor recreation activities that are available in Potter County and the surrounding areas.

The PA Lumber Museum in Ulysses, PA (Potter County)

Prior to the Denton Hill tour, the PA Wilds Planning Team meeting was held at the PA Lumber Museum. Ta Enos, Founder and CEO of the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, gave an update about the Center’s recent work and upcoming projects. Britt Madera, communications manager for the PA Wilds Center, gave a brief overview of the PA Wilds Leave No Trace Initiative.

“It was great to have the opportunity to tour the Denton Hill ski lodge and learn more about the park’s history and vision for the future. It’s a sign of Pennsylvania’s continued commitment to building upon its outdoor recreation assets and growing sustainable economic development in our region,” said Deb Bigley, a planning specialist for Tioga County who is a member of the PA Wilds Planning Team.

The PA Wilds Planning Team voted in favor of allowing e-ballot voting for general approval of projects in between in-person meetings when an issue needs to be addressed in a timely manner (such as applying for grants).

Candace Hillyard, executive director of the PA Route 6 Alliance, gave an update about some of Route 6’s recent projects and ongoing collaborations in the PA Wilds region. As one of two heritage regions in the PA Wilds, PA Route 6 Alliance works closely with the PA Wilds Center and helps support economic development and pride in the area. Candace spoke about the PA Heart and Soul program, a recent active transportation workshop in Kane, and the PA Route 6 Alliance Bike-Friendly Community program.

Brief updates were given about rapid response programs and efforts that the PA Wilds Planning Team supported, including raising awareness about the proposed Duke Low Military Operations Area (MOA) project and the Potter County Rapid Response Grant.

Chris Nicholas, Forest District Manager for DCNR’s Susquehannock State Forest, outlined last year’s data from the motorized recreation ATV pilot trail system. Now in its second year in 2023, he said that the pilot’s coordinators have learned from the data they gained to make the ATV map more user-friendly and community-friendly.

The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that inspires the communities of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The PA Wilds Center promotes the region as a premier outdoor recreation destination as a way to diversify local economies, inspire stewardship, attract investment, retain population and improve quality of life. The PA Wilds Center’s core programs seek to help businesses leverage the PA Wilds brand and connect with new market opportunities, including: the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a network of over 300 place-based businesses and organizations, and the PA Wilds Conservation Shop, a retail outlet primarily featuring products sourced from the WCO. For more information on the PA Wilds Center, visit To learn more about the WCO, visit Explore the PA Wilds at Find regionally made products at

The PA Wilds Planning Team is one of the largest and longest-standing governance structures around the PA Wilds effort. It was formed in 2006 through a groundbreaking Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement (ICA), the largest geographically of its kind in Pennsylvania. The ICA brings together the region’s county governments, typically through representation of the county planner, the region’s four Economic Development Districts, two Heritage Areas, visitor bureaus, PA Wilds Center, conservation partners and others to work on regional planning issues related to outdoor recreation development.


  1. Lisa on July 18, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    Would love to see Denton Hill in use.

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