Lace up your hiking boots!
The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship has partnered with the Keystone Trails Association (KTA) to develop and publish a Pennsylvania Wilds-branded hiking guidebook for the Pennsylvania Wilds region.
The PA Wilds region is home to the greatest concentration of public lands in the commonwealth, more than 2 million acres, which includes more than 1,600 miles of trails.
The hiking book is meant to highlight just some of the amazing trails and vistas that define the PA Wilds region as a premier outdoor recreation destination.
The finished hiking book will include hiking trail options for all 13 counties that make up the PA Wilds region as well as stewardship messaging.
“The PA Wilds region is vast with a variety of unique landscapes that are full of rolling hills, gorges, trails, wildlife, and country roads. As the region has become more well known as an outdoor recreation destination, it creates the opportunity to create more consumer-facing guidebooks and maps to help unlock the region for a new generation of travelers,” said PA Wilds Center Founder and Chief Executive Director Ta Enos.
“This book will complement other hiking books that are focused on specific parts of the region or certain experiences. It will also speak to our values of stewardship and exploration, making sure that readers are prepared for their hike and understand how to respect the natural beauty they’ll encounter and will encourage them to connect with gateway communities and support local businesses.”
The center is partnering with the nonprofit Keystone Trails Association (KTA) to develop the book.
“When you’re looking at 1,600 miles of trails in the PA Wilds, it’s important to partner with someone who truly knows what it’s like to get their boots dirty and has hiked these trails extensively,” said Enos.
“The Keystone Trails Association has worked with industry experts to publish other hiking guides. They help organize trail hike events and trail maintenance events, including here in the PA Wilds, and they have experience working with public lands managers, local trail groups and other partners. And they understand our brand values. We are excited to work with them on this project.”
Enos said the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) are helping to fund the project. “The Richard King Mellon Foundation and DCNR are longtime repeat investors in the PA Wilds effort,” Enos said. “We are grateful for their continued support.”
Established in 1956, the KTA has been working to protect and promote Pennsylvania’s hiking trails for more than 60 years. Over time, the organization has continued to grow and expand its advocacy efforts and trail programs.
“KTA members have always valued the PA Wilds region because it is packed with some of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful hiking trails. The mention of names like the Black Forest, Susquehannock and Quehanna – just a few of the signature footpaths in the PA Wilds – evoke excitement and anticipation for so many hiking enthusiasts,” said Brook Lenker, executive director of KTA.
“For decades, our volunteer-driven Trail Care Program, now in its 40th year, has helped to maintain these and other area trails and we will soon be hiring a Regional Trail Care Rep in the PA Wilds. Needless to say, we’re honored and excited to be part of this project and promote these hiking gems.”
Residents and visitors of the PA Wilds are encouraged to submit their thoughts on some of the best trails in the 13-county PA Wilds region. Part of the hiking book will include some “people’s choice” trails that are given by the public through this form, which is open until Thursday, Feb. 29.
The first phase of the PA Wilds hiking trail book is focused on research and drafting the content, which will take place through 2024. The next phase will include publication of the hiking book, and the book is expected to be available for purchase in 2025-26.
When available for sale, a portion of proceeds from the PA Wilds hiking book sales will benefit the mission of the nonprofit PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, which is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that strengthens and inspires communities of the PA Wilds region, as well as KTA’s mission.
Be sure to submit your favorite trail before the deadline, Feb. 29, at https://bit.ly/PA-Wilds-Trail-Survey, and let others know why the PA Wilds is one of the best places to enjoy a hike.