Outdoor Recreation Economy impacting Columbia PA growth

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Outdoor Recreation Economy impacting Columbia PA growth

On February 21st, WITF aired a segment “Is Pennsylvania outdoor recreation an untapped economic driver?” on the SPARK.

Nathan Reigner is the Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation and was interviewed on the show.

Reigner highlighted the importance of outdoor recreation, the investments made in it, and the positive impact it has beyond just being fun or promoting good health. Outdoor recreation also plays a significant role in conservation, sustainability, and the overall productivity of our community. Particularly in rural areas, outdoor activities can be a pathway to a brighter future. Reigner pointed to Columbia in Lancaster County as a prime example of how outdoor recreation has played a role in revitalizing a town.

The Columbia Crossings museum and visitor center attracts thousands of rail trail bikers, walkers, runners, and river sports enthusiasts every year. Photo credit: Jedidiah Hess, Columbia photographer

Who benefits from outdoor recreation in Columbia, PA?

Some of the best places to visit in Columbia PA are those that use the outdoor recreation interest as a highlight for their visitors.

What is “outdoor recreation” and who does it include?

The first major impact group affected by outdoor recreation growth is a diverse mix of designers, manufacturers, retailers, and repairers. In the greater Susquehanna Valley region and throughout Central PA, there are some top-notch brands making fantastic outdoor gear. Locally, there are the experience providers like bike rental providers, river sports likes Chiques Rock Outfitters and Kayak LanCo, riverside overnight lodging and outdoor-friendly hospitality, tour guides, and trailside coffeeshops, breweries and restaurants that make our outdoor adventures unforgettable. Alongside that is the creative and technical professionals – the journalists, photographers, mapmakers, and designers who bring the outdoors to life.

Looking west towards Wrightsville, PA from Columbia – with the original bridge piers on the north side. Photo credit: Jedidiah Hess, Columbia photographer

The less obvious, but equally important factor: quality of life.

The second impact it has is the positive impact the great outdoors has on community and economic growth. Easily overlooked yet quantifiably valuable and important is the quality of life factor of those living in Pennsylvania both at the present, and how it can also draw in others seeking a better way of life – especially to our revived river town here in Columbia.

Quality of life has risen as a factor taken into consideration when moving to a new area, deciding where to raise a family, start a new job, or downsize after retirement. Having a strong outdoor recreation economy is a large determining factor for both those looking at retirement and wanting easy access to outdoor trails and activities, for those looking to start and grow a healthy family, and for those looking for better working environments.

If you didn’t catch the episode – take a listen here!

Then come visit Columbia and see what it is so easy to fall in love with. Want to stay longer and explore the town, book a weekend at Freedom Home and see all the sights and hike all the trails.

There’s no place like Columbia, PA.

A group of students participates in a river explorers activity with the Susquehanna National Heritage Area