2012 Champion of the Pennsylvania Wilds Awards

Recognizing outstanding efforts in sustainable tourism development in the Pennsylvania Wilds

The Pennsylvania Wilds Planning Team is proud to recognize individuals, groups, organizations, communities and businesses that have done outstanding work related to the Pennsylvania Wilds Initiative and its goal of growing the region’s nature and heritage tourism industry as a way to create jobs, diversify local economies, inspire stewardship and improve quality of life.

Business of the Year: Benezette Hotel, Brian Kunes and Matt Castle

Great Design Award:  Jerry Clark,  Sign Design of Westline

Inspiring Youth Award:  Dr. William Schumann and his students – University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

Artisan of the Year:  Doug Firestone, Firestone Forge

Great Places Award:  Kinzua Bridge State Park – Jason Heasley, Park Manager

Conservation Stewardship Award:  Ken Rowe, President – Bennett Branch Watershed Association

Conservation Stewardship Award – Allegheny River Clean-Up:
John Beard – Northwest Savings Bank, Nate Welker – US Forest Service, Piper VanOrd – Allegheny Outfitters

Conservation Stewardship Award:  Trout Unlimited, Eastern Abandoned Mine Program

Government Leadership Award:  McKean County Commissioners & Smethport Borough

Member of the Year:  Matt Quesenberry, Elk County Planning

Outstanding Leader Awards
The PA Wilds Initiative is not just about the state making strategic investments in rural PA to help us grow our nature tourism industry.   It is about local communities investing in themselves, and tying projects they care about into the larger regional vision and strategy. Of  course that is easier said than done. It is one thing to have a good idea – and quite another to successfully execute it. This year’s outstanding leader awards go to four people who are doing just that, navigating the complex world of partnerships and grant funding to advance their projects, while their humble, passionate actions attract others to their cause.

Ron Steffey, Executive Director, Allegheny Valley Land Trust

Wes Ramsey, Executive Director, Penn Soil RC&D

David Brooks, Director, Potter County Visitors Association

Tionesta Valley Snowmobile Club

The Pennsylvania Wilds Planning Team would like to thank:
• The Potter County Education Council for organizing the 2012 Annual Update and Awards Banquet.
• The Red Fern for their excellent accommodations.
• DCNR & DCED for their ongoing support and commitment to the success of the Pennsylvania Wilds Initiative.
• The local stake holders who have embraced the initiative and made it their own.
The Steering Committee would like to acknowledge the members of the Planning Team whose dedication and hard work have been a driving force for the success of the Initiative

For the full stories and photographs, go to:  http://www.pawildsresources.org/ and follow the link “2012 PA Wilds Champions”.

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