WARREN, Pa. – Two of Warren County’s premier outdoor recreation areas were named best in the state last week, presenting the county with a unique opportunity to take advantage of.
Now home to the 2024 Pennsylvania River of the Year (Allegheny) and the Trail of the Year (Trails at Jakes Rocks), Warren County can market the two outdoor recreation areas.
“I can’t think of any other way to spin it except we all need to come together,” Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry’s Savannah Casey said. “We have two amazing, natural resources and they both have been claimed best of the best. I mean, how do you get any better than Warren County as far as outdoor recreation? And it’s a new concept, I think for the community to rally behind that.”
Though the premier event at the Trails at Jakes Rocks, Trail Fest, is still eight months away, Casey said plans are already underway to incorporate the river into the event.
“It’s huge in the fact that also with the River of the Year and Piper (VanOrd)’s efforts with the Allegheny River locally having her come in, we’re right on the water, I mean they feed right into each other,” Casey said. “And we’re gonna blow it out of the water so to speak in hopes that we can maintain shuttling services and the logistics of it all, but the more people the merrier. And the community here locally is a great supporter.”
Of course, the River of the Year will be on display the month before Trail Fest as the U.S. Canoe and Kayak Championships return to Warren County for an unprecedented 10th time.
“There’s some like Olympic medalists that have come and they draw on people from California, Florida, but I think capitalizing on saying you’re you’re competing on the river of the year, and we get it more than any other place,” Casey said. “Hosting it more than any other place in the entire country. There’s another check in the box. Like here we go. We are Warren County and we’re the best.”
While the River of the Year was chosen based on a public vote, the Trails at Jakes Rocks being named Trail of the Year came as more of a surprise.
“It’s humbling to think that what we do here in Warren County is making a difference throughout the whole state,” Casey said. “I mean, how do you get any better than Warren County as far as outdoor recreation? And it’s a new concept, I think for the community to rally behind that. We yes, we’re heavy on industry, but outdoor rec boomed in COVID. And we still need to capitalize on that and, and run with it. So it’s huge if we can if we can promote the heck out of it.”
That promotion could help local businesses as well, Casey said, if they get on board.
“It’s a huge economic impact and we track usage we monitor you know where they come from, where they stay overnight and they’re pumping in $1 million plus into the local economy,” Casey said. “So if you capitalize on this, especially as a business owner, it just promoted it’s free to stick that little tagline on well, I might be a restaurant, I might be retail, but we are home to the river and trail of the year. So come visit us locally.”