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Potter County Tourist/Recreation Work Group Moves Forward

April 30th, 2021

Potter County Tourist & Recreation Work Group held its monthly meeting on April 26. The panel is part of the “Revitalize Potter County” campaign, a mission to reverse the population loss and rising median age in the county while adapting to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 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, Steve Green, Josh Roth, John Snyder, Lori Szymanik, Candace Hillyard, Emily Shosh and Chuck Dillon. Guests: Meredith Hill (DCNR/Pennsylvania Wilds) and Nicole Faraguna (DCNR Policy/Planning Director). County Attendees: Will Hunt, Paul Heimel, Barry Hayman.

Old Business

  • The state is issuing its formal request for proposals to develop of Denton Hill State Park as a four-season attraction (Denton Hill Adventure Center) this week. The state hopes to have vendor/partner/operator in place later this year. Members discussed the possibility of a planetarium to capitalize on the dark skies’ popularity.
  • “Potter County Recreation & Events” concept continues to be explored as a complement to current tourist marketing activities. Potter County Visitors Assn. maintains its certified non-profit status, which could be used for the new group. Dedicated leadership and strategic planning are needed.

Visit Potter-Tioga Overview/Update

Spring advertising continues with a focus on bicycling, hiking and fishing. VPT is highlighting outdoor settings popular with tourists as the pandemic continues. VPT website has experienced more click-through traffic, resulting in more requests for visitors’ guides and information by prospective travelers. VPT is accepting grant requests and is eager to work with non-profit organizations seeking to market their events and attractions.=

God’s Country Market Village & Farmers Market

Revitalize Potter County Steering Committee is seeking DCNR funds for site improvements.

Dark Skies/Cherry Springs.

A stakeholders’ meeting will be held this summer to prepare for DCNR’s improvement project at Cherry Springs State Park. Members continued discussion of options for protecting the dark skies, potentially through public education and/or regulation of outdoor lighting to reduce light pollution. An educational presentation on dark-sky protection will soon be posted on the county website.

Maryland Air Force National Guard Low-Level Training Flights

Much of the meeting was dedicated to a detailed review of the plan. DNCR shared background information the department has been collecting since the proposal was first broached in 2019. A consensus has been growing that the National Guard Bureau should be directed to prepare a detailed “environmental impact statement,” rather than the current plans for a cursory “environmental assessment.” Members also agreed that there is a need for more public education on the proposal, which could disturb the tranquility which has been part of Potter County’s branding for many decades, thus having an adverse impact on tourism. Dates for a public comment period on the proposal will soon be announced.

Sub-Committee Options

Arts/Culture. Paul Heimel reported on his discussions with those who were involved with the now-defunct Potter County Arts Council. He said resurrection of the group would require a concerted effort with dedicated volunteers. Research will continue.

Hospitality/Lodging. Members see a need for training tourist-based business owners and/or employees. Market research confirms the importance of visitors having a positive experience with hospitality providers. Options will be explored.

NEXT MEETING: Monday, May 24, 11 am by Zoom or call-in

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