While living in the keystone state might make you forget the natural beauty and fascinating history that surrounds us in Pennsylvania, to visitors our rich, multifaceted history, sleek cityscapes, charming small towns, and lush countryside make our state an ideal place to explore. And that is not a biased statement — tourism is one of the top two leading industries in the Commonwealth!
Much of the NRHC’s work supports Pennsylvania’s tourism product. Our organization is fully engaged in the restoration and development of the regional assets that support southwestern PA’s tourism infrastructure. Though the importance of tourism is commonly underappreciated, we all must work together to support the assets that attract visitors in our own communities, not only for economic reasons, but also to support the local cultural, historic, natural, and recreational resources and to build community pride.
Why Tourism Matters
The economic benefits of tourism are tried and true. Tourist expenditures in the National Parks located in western Pennsylvania alone created $68 million in economic benefit in 2014. These visitors not only support business owners, but also help create quality careers for local residents.
When we draw attention to historical and cultural sites, we are all able to engage in historic preservation much more easily. In simple terms, historic preservation means safeguarding the existence and appearance of historic elements of the community.
By investing in valuable cultural and historical amenities, the NRHC has been able to help places like Nemacolin Castle, Ohiopyle State Park, and Fort Necessity National Battlefield thrive and bring tourists into our community. The NRHC’s current projects, including the rebuilding of the Sheepskin Trail, will also serve to connect small “patch towns” and suburbs to the outdoors, uniting the community as a whole and building pride within the region.
How You Can Help
Are you ready to help the NRHC make southwestern Pennsylvania the best that it can be? Here are a few steps that you can take on your own to support local tourism:
- Have a Staycation
Be a tourist at home! When was the last time you took the family to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater? Or the beautiful Laurel Caverns? There are plenty of historical and cultural amenities to choose from along the National Road. Click here to see all of the attractions you can visit.
- Know Your Community’s History
President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “the more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.” That is especially true within your own community. Some great local sites that can aid in your learning are Fort Necessity’s visitor center, the David Bradford House, and all of the spots on the National Road Sculpture Tour!
- Support Tourism Efforts in your Community
At any given time, members of the NRHC are working on many projects in southwestern Pennsylvania. One of our recent efforts was aiding in building the Ohiopyle State Park Office/Laurel Highlands Falls Area Visitor Center! Another project underway is the development of the Sheepskin Trail, a 34-mile recreational amenity in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
The perfect way for you to assist with these and future projects is to become a Friend of the Road. Your tax deductible donation can make a big difference by helping the NRHC continue its efforts, raise matching funds, and continue its work in local communities on projects that advance the education of our youth, the conservation of the natural environment, and the enhancement of parks, trails and other amenities that support this region’s leading industry – tourism.