Eleven residents, business owners, and organizations from across the Pennsylvania Wilds region will be recognized with awards later this month for their contributions helping grow the region’s nature and heritage tourism industry.
The PA Wilds Champion Awards are given out annually as part of the PA Wilds Conservation Landscape movement, a ground-breaking partnership that began in 2003 to grow the region’s outdoors industry in a way that creates jobs, diversifies local economies, inspires stewardship and improves quality of life.
Click Here for a list of all 11 award winners and their accomplishments.
This year’s PA Wilds Champions hail from all corners of the region and their awards reflect values promoted through the landscape work: partnerships, creativity, stewardship, giving back, creating new opportunities and local leadership.
“The people and communities across the Pennsylvania Wilds contribute in many ways to this exciting Conservation Landscape Initiative,” said Jim Weaver, Chair of the PA Wilds Planning Team, which organizes the awards. “By identifying and celebrating the wonderful work that is being done across the region the PA Wilds Team hopes to inspire others to catch and harness the enthusiasm that is the essence of our rural communities.”
April 28 Awards Dinner
The awardees will be recognized at the PA Wilds Annual Dinner & Awards Banquet April 28 at the Red Fern in St. Marys, Pa.
Special guests at this year’s dinner will include Cindy Dunn, Secretary of the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources; Dennis Davin, Secretary of the Dept. of Community & Economic Development; and PennDOT Deputy Secretary Toby Fauver.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our Public Lands,” and will include a keynote by Marci Mowery, President of the PA Parks & Forest Foundation. West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund is this year’s dinner sponsor. Networking will begin at 4 p.m., program starts promptly at 5 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Wilds, one of the state’s 11 official tourism regions, covers about a quarter of the Commonwealth and includes the counties of Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Lycoming, Clinton, Cameron, Elk, Forest, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield and the northern part of Centre county.
The region is known for its more than 2 million acres of public land, and also boasts two National Wild & Scenic Rivers, some of the darkest skies in the country and the largest wild elk herd in the Northeast. Visitors spend an estimated $1.7 billion in the region each year, according to the most recent statistics.For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the Pennsylvania Wilds website.