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Potter County Tourism/Recreation Work Group Moves Forward

May 29th, 2021

Potter County Tourism & Recreation Work Group held its monthly meeting on May 24. The panel is part of the Revitalize Potter County campaign, a mission to reverse the population loss and rising median age in the county. For more information or to volunteer, contact Potter County Planning/GIS Director Will Hunt at whunt@pottercountypa.net.

Members Attending: Curt Weinhold, Chris Nicholas, Ben Stone, Josh Roth, John Snyder, Lori Szymanik, Candace Hillyard and Chuck Dillon.

Guest: Nicole Faraguna (DCNR Policy/Planning Director)

County Attendees: Will Hunt, Ellen Russell, Paul Heimel, Nancy Grupp and Barry Hayman.

Denton Hill State Park Update: Ben Stone (Bureau of State Parks) reported that the state has set a new deadline of July 9 for proposals from prospective partners/concessionaires to develop and operate Denton Hill State Park as a four-season attraction. Both archery festivals have been relocated to Ski Sawmill Resort this year.

Visit Potter-Tioga Overview/Update: Ellen Russell (board member) said the agency is putting the finishing touches on a new visitors’ map of Potter County. Fourteen new members have joined VPT. Click-through numbers on the VPT website are rising, indicating increased interest in the two counties by prospective tourists.

Maryland Air Force National Guard Low-Level Training Flights: DCNR’s Nicole Faraguna (Policy/Planning) shared that plans now call for flights from Tuesdays through Saturdays, up to 170 days per year, for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. A draft “environmental assessment” and related public comment period are expected by late summer or early fall. DCNR and others are calling for a more detailed “environmental impact statement.”

Susquehannock State Forest: Chris Nicholas (district forester) reported that the ATV trail will reopen over the Memorial Day weekend. Interest in that hobby has continued to grow. DNCR has also seen an increase in camping permit requests and is expecting an increase in state forest visitors this summer and fall.

Northcentral Pa. ATV Pilot Project: Will Hunt reported that PennDOT and DCNR continue laying the groundwork for “connector routes” linking designated ATV trails. Work group members agreed that details of the pilot project, which includes new trails in Potter County, need to be better communicated to township/borough officials and the public. Four of our work group members have been involved in production of an instructional ATV video that will soon be prominently posted on websites and social media. Its emphasis is safety, courtesy and legal operation of the vehicles.

Dark Skies/Cherry Springs State Park: Ben Stone advised that DCNR’s improvement project at Cherry Springs State Park is now in the design stage. It includes new entrance/exit arrangements, expanded parking, an information hub, a pavilion for hosting programs, increased water supply and other improvements. The Galeton Rotary Club Woodsmen’s Show will return this summer. Members continued discussion of options for protecting the dark skies through public education and/or regulation of outdoor lighting to reduce light trespassing.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum: Josh Roth (administrator) said the phased reopening – 10 am to 4 pm Fridays through Sundays – has seen steadily increasing attendance. It appears that the Bark Peelers Convention will return this year, but no final decision has been reached.

Other Reports

  • Candace Hillyard (Pa. Rt. 6 Alliance executive director) said the major current emphasis is on promoting and accommodating bicyclists.
  • Steve Green (Eliot Ness Museum) submitted a log of museum visitors coming from several states. He has been referring them to several area businesses and attractions, developing a network of cross-promotion that enhances visitors’ experiences while supporting the local economy.
  • Paul Heimel (Commissioner) reported on a discussion with the Elk County Council on the Arts as part of the effort to resurrect the Potter County Arts Council and potentially incorporate that group with a Potter County Recreation and Events organization.

 NEXT MEETING: Monday, June 28, 11 am by Zoom or call-in

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