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Friday, October 8, 2010

PA Wilds trails conference to help communities benefit from geocaching trend

PA Wilds trails conference to help communities benefit from geocaching trend
Expert geocaching promoter to offer insights, lessons from around the country

Lyn Pilch, a marketing professional whose Madison, Wisconsin-based public relations firm has worked with more than 100 tourism destinations around the country, will be the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Wilds Planning Team’s annual trails conference this November.

This year’s conference, “Cashing-In on Geocaching,” will focus on how trail groups, businesses and communities can use geocaching as an economic and community development tool to improve foot traffic to local businesses, raise awareness about trail group activities, express conservation and stewardship messages to visitors, and more.

“Geocaching is a growing trend in the Pennsylvania Wilds,” said Matt Quesenberry, chair of the PA Wilds Planning Team. “Already, thousands of people come here to take part in these high tech treasure hunts amid the backdrop of our incredible natural and cultural resources. Several new geocaching events or trails are in the works. The goal behind this trails conference is to give our local businesses, trail groups, chambers and others ideas and information on how they can make this new trend work for them. It will also be a great networking opportunity.

Pilch brings with her 10 years of tourism marketing experience, including promotional work on three successful geocaching trails – two in Wisconsin and another for “Experience the Mississippi River,” a 10-state coalition that promotes travel and tourism along one of America’s most famous waterways.

“Ms. Pilch has worked on geocaching trails in places similarly blessed with the kind of natural beauty and rich history that the Pennsylvania Wilds is known for,” Quesenberry said. “She can speak to the positive impact this new trend has had on rural areas and offer lessons she’s learned along the way. We’re excited to have her.”

The conference will include a short, hands-on demonstration of geocaching; a panel discussion about the economic benefits of this popular activity; information about geocaching on public lands and other rules; and real life insights from groups and businesses that have started their own geocaching trails or events or participated in existing ones to successfully increase awareness about their trails, improve their bottom lines and boost local economies. A detailed agenda is available at www.pawildsresources.org.

Panelists will include expert volunteers from Groundspeak (the organization that oversees most geocaching trails in the United States and abroad); PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Allegheny GeoTrail; PA Wilds Tourism Marketing Corporation; Geowoodstock 2011; and other organizations and private businesses.

A GPS unit and several smaller items will be given away as door prizes during the conference. Every participant will receive a geocaching “ammo box” stocked with useful handouts, a t-shirt and other materials from the conference. The day will conclude with a short geocaching event outside at the golf course, where participants can try their hand at the activity.

The conference will be held Friday, Nov. 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Emporium Country Club in Cameron County. Tourism business owners, event coordinators, community leaders and trail groups are encouraged to attend. Admission is $20, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Seating is limited to the first 100 people to register and pay. For questions or to register, go to www.pawildsresources.org or contact Val Shelley at (814) 486-0213 or vshelley@lumberheritage.org.

BACKGROUND: The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 12 ½ county region that includes Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Forest, Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield and northern Centre counties. The PA Wilds Planning Team is the guiding body for the PA Wilds Initiative, a collaborative effort to grow the region’s nature and heritage tourism industry. The Planning Team is comprised of the region’s county planners and more than two dozen stakeholders. For more information please visit www.pawildsresources.org.


Anonymous said...

I heard that they are creating a new PA wilds trail system between all of the Gas well fracking sites. This should be interesting....seeing deer drinking from the frac ponds and such.

Anonymous said...

To 7:16 poster. You are mistaken as usual.

Anonymous said...

I was being sarcastic.