Endeavor News

Would ‘Warthogs’ gut tourism?Free Access

It was no surprise that members of the Potter County Tourist and Recreation Work Group took a dim view of the proposed A-10 Warthog training flights swooping across the county.
Discussion during the group’s recent meeting focused largely on how tourism could be adversely affected by the frequent Maryland Air National Guard’s low-level training exercises. The plan calls for the flights to be staged for up to 170 days a year and dip as low as 100 feet from the ground.
The work group is part of the “Revitalize Potter County” campaign, a mission to reverse the population loss and rising median age in the county. Tourism is the county’s second-leading industry, ranking only behind agriculture/forest products.
Guest speakers Nicole Faraguna and Meredith Hill from the Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) discussed the agency’s response to the proposal. They pointed out that a public comment period will soon begin.
DCRN believes the National Guard Bureau should be directed to prepare a detailed “environmental impact statement,” rather than the current plans for a cursory “environmental assessment.”
Work group members 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 tourist promotion branding for many decades.
Also during last month’s meeting, the work group heard an update on tourist marketing activities by Visit Potter-Tioga.
Spring advertising continues with a focus on bicycling, hiking and fishing. VPT is highlighting outdoor settings popular with tourists as the pandemic continues.
The VPT website has experienced more click-through traffic, resulting in additional requests for visitors’ guides and other 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.
In other business, the work group:
–heard from Ben Stone of the Pa. Bureau of State Parks that a stakeholders’ meeting will be held this summer to prepare for DCNR’s improvement project at Cherry Springs State Park.
–continued discussion of options for protecting the dark-sky tourism, potentially through public education and/or regulation of outdoor lighting to limit light pollution. An educational presentation on dark-sky protection will soon be posted on the county website.
–discussed the possibility of a planetarium being erected at Cherry Springs or Denton Hill State Park to capitalize on dark-sky tourism.
–discussed forming sub-committees to focus on arts and culture, hospitality and lodging, and other priority areas for supporting tourism.
–heard that the Revitalize Potter County Steering Committee is seeking a state grant for site improved at the proposed God’s Country Market Village & Farmers Market lot in Coudersport.
Members attending were Curt Weinhold, Chris Nicholas, Ben Stone, Steve Green, Josh Roth, John Snyder, Lori Szymanik, Candace Hillyard, Emily Shosh and Chuck Dillon. County attendees were Will Hunt, Paul Heimel, Barry Hayman.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Potter County Planning/GIS Director Will Hunt at whunt@pottercountypa.net.

One response to “Would ‘Warthogs’ gut tourism?”

  1. Jake says:

    If the Warthogs come, I definitely won’t be going back to the area and neither will the rest of my family/friends. The only reason we go up there is to get away from that kind of noise.

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