The Pennsylvania Wilds is a place and it is the home of a movement to build a sustainable outdoor recreation economy that creates jobs, diversifies local economies, inspires stewardship and improves quality of life in our rural region. This regional strategy is seen as a national model, and has been referenced in various reports. In addition, as the PA Wilds Center, the nonprofit tasked with coordinating the regional strategy, grows its stakeholder network it is able to conduct and share its own research on how businesses and organizations are being impacted.
2021 – PA Wilds Economic Impact National Reports
The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Rural Economic Development Toolkit
This toolkit was developed by The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable in partnership with Oregon State University’s Outdoor Recreation Economy Initiative and the National Governors Association Outdoor Recreation Learning Network. It compiles best practices from interviews with dozens of practitioners across the county. The PA Wilds region and PA Wilds Center Founder + CEO Ta Enos is featured in the report. See the toolkit.
Our place-based brand is built around our region’s tremendous public lands and outdoor experiences, maker culture, and rural lifestyle. But we know if we continue to invest in this brand, and this strategy, it brings real economic power to our rural businesses and communities.”
- Ta Enos, PA Wild Center CEO + Founder
Extending Our Welcome: Trends and Strategies for Tourism in Appalachia
Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), in partnership with University of Tennessee Knoxville and Collective Impact, produced the Extending Our Welcome: Trends and Strategies for Tourism in Appalachia report to look at the history of tourism in Appalachia and make recommendations for communities looking to employ it as an economic strategy. Though the research was conducted prior to COVID-19, many of these findings remain relevant and useful for tourism planning. It features case studies from the PA Wilds, including Straub Brewery in Saint Marys. See the report.
For years, Straub Brewery used their “fiercely independent” motto to support their market region, sponsoring and promoting local artists, chefs, and bands. Around 2015, Straub Brewery began to collaborate with PA Wilds to better align themselves with tourism in the region, while also expanding their market. With St. Marys being in Elk County and part of the Elk country landscape of PA Wilds, more and more tourists are finding their way to the brewery for tours during their trips to see the elk herds. The PA Wilds commitment to regional business and artisans was appealing to Straub, and very much kept with the spirit of Straub’s “fiercely independent” ethic. ”
- Extending Our Welcome: Trends and Strategies for Tourism in Appalachia
2020 – PA Wilds Center Releases White Paper on COVID-19 Impacts
White Paper on the Early Impacts of COVID-19 on the rural Pennsylvania Wilds Initiative
PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. released its White Paper on the Early Impacts of COVID-19 on the rural Pennsylvania Wilds Initiative in May 2020 to state partners, the region’s county commissioners, state and federal legislators, PREP Network, DMOs and other stakeholder networks. Read the white paper.
The rural Pennsylvania Wilds region (PA Wilds) has taken a huge economic blow to its tourism industry because of the novel coronavirus…. But changing travel trends and positive public sentiment toward many of the core tenets of the PA Wilds strategy — supporting local businesses, the value of the outdoor experience and public lands, stewardship of the environment, creative partnerships — mean the PA Wilds will be in a position to make a strong tourism recovery once the crisis passes. By redoubling our efforts now, partners involved in the PA Wilds can help the region’s communities leverage this moment for a better and more sustainable tomorrow.
- Ta Enos, Founder + CEO, PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc.
2020 – PA Wilds as a Model for Conservation Landscapes
PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) “Pennsylvania Conservation Landscapes – Models for Successful Collaboration”
The report, which points to the growing outdoor recreation industry and strategic investments in public lands and facilities in the Pennsylvania Wilds, positions the region as a model for how the Conservation Landscape program is gaining traction and creating real value for communities. See the report.
The Pennsylvania Wilds Conservation Landscape (PAWCL) is one of the most ambitious landscape-level initiatives in the United States. This highly impactful practice is most evident in the Pennsylvania Wilds conservation landscape, a very rural place with more public land than anywhere in the state.
- PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
2019 – PA Wilds Economic Impact National Reports
Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) “Strengthening Economic Resilience in Appalachia”
10 Case Studies in Economic Resilience – PA Wilds & McKean County, Pennsylvania – moving multiple sectors forward for economic development. See the report.
McKean County benefits from the coordinated Pennsylvania Wilds effort, which includes regional planning, community character and natural resource stewardship, public and private investments, operation of a regional value chain of local products and services tied to the regional brand, and a successful marketing campaign.
- ARC Case Studies in Economic Resilience
National Governors Association Report “Rural Prosperity through the Arts & Creative Sector” See the report.
The northwest region of Pennsylvania includes a rural region known as the “Pennsylvania Wilds.” In that region, the Wild’s Cooperative of Pennsylvania
is a program of the nonprofit Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship. The Wilds Cooperative is working to develop tourism to increase the exposure of the local artisans.
- Rural Prosperity Through the Arts & Creative Sector Report
ARTS / CREATIVE INDUSTRIES ECONOMIC IMPACT
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s 2016 Arts and Cultural Production report: $23 billion is added to Pennsylvania’s economy from the arts sector, 175,000 are working in the arts, and $11.2 billion is earned by these producers. See report.
OUTDOOR RECREATION – ECONOMIC IMPACT
An Overlooked Economic Giant – Outdoor Recreation is Big Business: Each year, Americans spend $887 billion on outdoor recreation.
- Outdoor Industry Association
Pennsylvania – 5th in the Nation in Outdoor Recreation Consumer Spending
- The Outdoor Industry Association examined the impact of spending on outdoor recreation in 2017. In Pennsylvania, outdoor recreation generates $29.1 billion in consumer spending, $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue, $8.6 billion in wages and salaries, and sustains 251,000 direct Pennsylvania jobs.
- In 2017, Pennsylvania ranked 5th in the nation for spending on outdoor recreation. The OIA went on to report that 56% of Pennsylvania residents participate in outdoor recreation each year.
Communities across Pennsylvania recognize that outdoor recreation supports, contributes to a high quality of life and—perhaps most importantly—attracts and sustains employers and families. Investing in outdoor infrastructure attracts employers and active workforces, ensuring those communities thrive economically and socially.
Download the Outdoor Recreation Economy 2017 Report